History of Grimwade House
Following the gift of Harleston and its seven acres by the Grimwade family in 1917, Melbourne Grammar was able to open a second preparatory school to supplement Wadhurst. Grimwade House in Caulfield welcomed its first students on 28 February 1918 - 120 boys from Years 1 to 8, including the transfer of Wadhurst boarders.
The first Headmaster, Hamilton Fletcher, was followed only a year later by Henry Walker, who guided the school's early development. In his seven years as Headmaster enrolments rose to 250 and new classrooms, changing rooms and a tuckshop were added.
Harleston was extended to the east with an enlarged dining room and a dormitory above. A House system was established with three houses named after distinguished members of the School Council.
Tragically, Mr Walker was killed in a car accident in 1924, (the senior library is named after him). Harold Down took over as Headmaster until 1952, steering Grimwade through the Great Depression and World War II.
Grimwade's relative geographical isolation and spacious grounds gave it a more independent identity than Wadhurst and Down and his family created a caring and friendly environment. Grimwade pupils loved their school. Growth was so strong in the 1920s that for much of that decade it was often one and a half times the size of Wadhurst.
Large sums were spent improving the School with a chapel and hall opening in 1931, major developments in its cultural and religious life. Although enrolments fell sharply during the worst years of the Depression, they fully recovered by 1936.
Despite the war, during which part of the School was evacuated to Healesville, improvements continued. Building expanded eastward with additional day rooms and dormitories upstairs. Lewis Clayfield was appointed Headmaster in 1953, a time of consolidation for the School. During his 11 years, the Netley house was purchased, allowing for the building of the Clayfield and Down wings and, in 1991, the opening of Netley Music School. Boarding flourished but later declined as rural incomes fell.
In 1963 Max Haysom succeeded Mr Clayfield. Two major decisions were taken during his tenure - to close the boarding house at the end of 1978 and to take girls from 1979.
Peter Valder, Principal (later Head) from 1979 to 1997, arrived with two developments under way - the introduction of girls and the refurbishing of Harleston which had fallen into disrepair. The old building was converted into a magnificent sub-primary department.
Later improvements included the upgrading of the central block of classrooms, the development of Netley and the building of the Cordner Physical Education Centre. The other decision, which had a huge bearing on the School, was to bring all primary children to Grimwade and relocate Years 7 and 8 to Wadhurst.
Andrew Boyd became Head in 1998. In 2004 Emeritus Professor Sir Gustav Nossal unveiled the foundation stone for a new heart of Grimwade, the Alfred Felton Hall. The hall, which opened in 2006, is a centre for concerts, plays, presentations, meetings, functions and other activities.
Grimwade House today is a thriving coeducational junior school with more than 600 girls and boys.