St. John's College was founded in
1911 by Archbishop St. Clair Donaldson in the same year that the
University of Queensland accepted its first students. The College
was named after the Apostle St. John, who is traditionally identified
as a close disciple of Jesus and writer of the Fourth Gospel.
The two ancient English universities of Oxford and Cambridge
were represented in the foundation of the College; Archbishop
Donaldson was a Cambridge graduate and the first Warden, the Revd.
Edward Morgan Baker, was an Oxford graduate.
The College accepted its first five
students in March 1912. Situated on Kangaroo Point, directly
across the river from the University, the College was located
in a number of houses at Kangaroo Point. Over the years a number
of "temporary" buildings - various annexes - were added.
From the very beginning the College
experienced financial hardship. Despite donations from the Archbishop
and the Warden and money given from England, the private company
administering the College, St. John's College Ltd., was wound up.
The Anglican Diocese of Brisbane assumed responsibility for the
College, and St. John's College has continued to be part of the
During the first twenty or so years
of the University's existence, the Colleges were a strong influence
in its life. St. John's College has provided some eighteen Rhodes
Scholars, eleven of them during the first thirty years of the
life of the College. Presidents and other officers of the Student
Union were drawn from St. John's and other Colleges.
In 1937, the foundation stone of
the new University buildings was laid at St. Lucia; a site for
St. John's College was chosen in 1939. During the Second World
War little development took place at St. Lucia. The foundation
stone of the new College was laid in 1954, and the move to St.
Lucia began in 1956. The Warden at the time of the move, the
Revd A.C.C. Stevenson, who had chaired the Joint Colleges Rebuilding
Appeal, died prior to the opening on the new site.
The College expanded with the addition
of new buildings, notably the Chapel (1981), Cripps Court (1987),
Sharwood Court (1990), the Morgan Centre (1991) and Foundation
Court (1994). The first scholarships for academic achievement,
The Sir Charles Spry and The St. John's College Council Scholarships,
were awarded in 1983. In 1988 the St. John's College Foundation
was launched, and in 1990 the first women residents were admitted
In 1987, the 75th anniversary of the College was celebrated. The eminent English historian Lord Dacre (Hugh Trevor Roper), Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge University, was the special visitor, and the first Honorary Fellows of the College were installed.