To celebrate History Week, the Arthur Holt library teamed up with the Trinity Archive to present a collection of books and artefacts from the last 100 years. The theme of this year’s History Week is ‘Memory and Landscape’, so we thought it would be a great idea to look at what was happening in the school in the context of world events.
As many of you will know, the school first opened its gates in 1913, one year before the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand sparked a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the first World War. Twenty-nine boys were enrolled at the start of the academic year, although that number had risen to 57 by the year’s close.
By 1915, the school had chosen a motto and its school colours. One student’s science notebook, on display in the library, shows how to make barometers in class using (highly toxic) beakers of mercury.
The school continued through the 1927 opening of the Commonwealth parliament in the newly completed capital in Canberra and survived the Great Depression. However, the decade-long economic downturn and the uncertainty of the war years meant that Trinity almost closed in 1942.
World War II was the deadliest conflict in history, resulting in an estimated 75 to 80 million fatalities and Trinity did not escape its reach. The chapel was opened on 12 November 1957 to commemorate those boys and teachers who lost their lives in the war and the library display contains the WWII service medals of former pupil John Miles.
A prolonged period of growth saw the school purchase its first computer in 1972 and culminated in the establishment of the Junior school in 2000. So, as the world witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, the enactment of the Native Title Act and 9/11, Trinity Grammar School evolved into the place we all know (and love) today.
The library display shows us how much has changed and how world events can impact us all. But it also shows us what a wonderful resource the archive is and how it can function as the school’s memory in an ever-changing landscape.
Teaching and Learning Librarian