Buckley Era

The Reverend Sydney Buckley, Founder and Headmaster 1915 - 1947


The Reverend Sydney Buckley was the parish priest at St James Church of England in 1914 when, in conversation with his choir boys, the possibility of a parish school was raised. Buckley pursued the idea and despite some opposition within the church he did gain the support of the Archbishop.

St James Church of England Grammar School for Boys opened its doors for the first time in 1915 and fourteen boys made up the initial enrolment. In time, it became evident that Buckley needed support in order to carry out his duties as vicar and head and so a part time assistant was appointed.

By the end of 1916 the school council was already discussing the need for the school to relocate however Buckley applied for leave of absence in order to enlist. The school was barely two years old and its Headmaster felt compelled, like so many others, to add to the large numbers going off to war. The Reverend Hamilton from Goulburn was appointed enabling Buckley to depart for Europe.

Upon his return in 1918 Buckley outlined his view that the school and the parish would now each benefit from independent leadership and the School a new site. Soon after he entered into discussions with Mr Horace Wilcox, a member of the School Council, for the purchase of Ivanhoe House.

In 1920 the move to the current site occurred and the school was renamed. Also in 1920, the school badge was introduced and our colours, brown and white, were fully integrated into our school uniform.

The latter part of Sydney Buckley’s headmastership was marked by Australia’s involvement in World War Two. Offering the school for the Army’s use in 1942 he relocated the school to Yea, in central Victoria, although a smaller number of students remained and attended classes at St James’, Ivanhoe. The Yea years are recalled with great affection by those who were there but overall the war years took a great toll on Buckley. While he was a person of inestimable courage and determination, upon returning to Ivanhoe towards the end of the war Mr Buckley felt it was time to retire.