Fremantle Stuff > Churches > Mormon

Fremantle Grammar School

200 High St; aka Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS), and also Girton College


In 1883 a proprietary grammar school was established in Fremantle and a school house, now Girton College, was built at the top of High Street, a trained master (Henry Briggs) being brought from England. In 1886 the master resigned and established a school of his own, which resulted in the closing of the first school and the ultimate occupation of the building by the new school, which had a course of great prosperity until the retirement of Briggs in 1897. Briggs afterwards achieved distinction in the political arena and was president of the Legislative Council when he was knighted. Hitchcock: 65.

The building at 200 High Street was originally intended to be the Fremantle Grammar School 1885-1905. The Rose and Crown Hotel building, on the Hoyt's/Oriana Cinema site on the corner of High and Queen Sts, was associated with the Grammar School, apparently as a boarding house for scholars.

The FGS was later Girton College for girls, and then apparently The Church of England School for Girls (FHC).

fgs fineIt was used 1945-1988 by The Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (now known as Community of Christ). The pastor was Oscar Stack, an American barber who was also on the City Council (1967) and after whom Stack St was presumably named. The building was originally intended to house a school run by the C of E from 1885. It is now a private dwelling. The housing for the school bell has recently been removed from the roof of the heritage building.

The building stands at 200 High Street, opposite Monument Hill. It was built by Melbourne architect Charles Inksep in the Gothic Revival style, from limestone and corrugated asbestos. The school was established as a public school by the Anglican Church in 1885. Henry Briggs was sent from England in 1882 to help establish it, and was its headmaster until 1897. The grammar school closed in 1905 and that was put down to the headmaster's (later Sir Henry Briggs) interest in politics.
In the 1920s the building became a short-lived girls school named Girton College, and in 1945 was bought by The Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (now known as Community of Christ) for use as a place of worship until 1988. Wikipedia.

Henry Briggs's house is adjacent to the School to the East.

My sisters went to school at Girton College on High Street, opposite the Monument. In the 1880s it had been a boys boarding school, but when the English headmaster left it became a girls school with a co-ed kindergarten. It later was used as a church and is still standing. I went there with my sisters until I was seven. We would catch the tram from the West End. I remember playing the mornings and then sleeping in the afternoons at the house around the back. Miss Scott and Miss Lightly ran the school. Alec Smith 2004, 'The boy from the West End', in Karen Lang & Jan Newman, Wharf Rats and Other Stories: 100 Years of Growing up in Fremantle, FPS: 114.


This photo from 1972 shows the church, as it was at that time, with bell-housing and bell still in place. This is from the Fremantle Library image #795A, the photo attributed to F.A. Sharr. The Library provides the following valuable note.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was originally built 1855 as Fremantle Grammar School. The Headmaster was Henry Briggs. He and his staff taught 27 boarders and 93 day scholars. The school closed in 1905 due to Mr Briggs's involvement in politics. In 1909 Miss Haines opened a girls' school known as Girton College until 1918. In 1919 it was reopened as The Church of England School for Girls with Miss Bessie Scott and Miss Barbara Lightly as teachers.

References and Links

Girton College, Prospectus, Battye Library Private Archives MN 614.

Garry Gillard | New: 13 October, 2014 | Now: 7 November, 2019