School community celebrates 50 Years of Ritamada

On 19 June, 2021, 200 members of the RGS community celebrated 50 years of the school's much-loved beachfront outdoor education facility, Ritamada.

Guests were treated to a sensational long lunch, catered by Whisk Creative Catering, delightful tunes by talented RGS music students, impeccable service and styling by Lilly and Lotus and some of the most spectacular weather the Capricorn Coast has ever seen. Below is an excerpt from Headmaster, Dr Phillip Moulds', address he delivered on the day to mark the occasion:

"Thank you for joining us today at Celebration by the Sea – celebrating 140 years of The Rockhampton Grammar School, and 50 years since this special place, Ritamada, was gifted to us. 

Since 1881, RGS students from all walks of life have studied, lived, played, worked and grown on the iconic Archer St campus, known by many as ‘the School on the Hill’. Much has changed since our establishment by local families determined to have a first-rate school of their own, but their founding spirit has never wavered.

140 years ago, on February 1, 1881 at 11:00am, The Rockhampton Grammar School opened. Through the gates that day walked 64 students – 33 boys and 31 girls. One of the young men was Robert Gambling Brown. 

90 years later, his son, Robert Mackay Brown would make history and donate the Ritamada property to The Rockhampton Grammar School in honour of his father. At the time, he wrote that he ‘hoped the property would be an asset to the School, and the unique nature of the property be appreciated and preserved’. I think we can all agree sitting here today that Robert’s wishes have been fulfilled. Ritamada has been more than an asset to our school. It has become an integral part of an RGS education and the Grammar experience. The story of this magnificent property is a fascinating one.

We are here today to not only celebrate important milestones, but also to raise awareness and funds for our Bursary programme – The 1881 Endowment. We are indebted to the generous supporters of RGS who have championed this programme over the years and enabled hundreds of students to study and grow here, who otherwise would not have been able to. The generosity of RGS families and community members has always humbled me. People like Robert Mackay Brown. Or the McDonald’s, who built the School’s first pool in 1928. They, and others, planted a philanthropic seed at RGS that we cultivate today. 

The Rockhampton Grammar School has been privileged to educate thousands of boys and girls for 140 years. It is impossible to imagine what RGS will look like in another 140 years. However, I have full confidence in this school community – the trustees, the staff, the current families, the students – both past and present – that they will advance the School’s mission so that we are a place to grow in character and scholarship for decades to come."