St. John's College - History
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History of St. John's College

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 Diocese.

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 to College.

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.