The Illawarra Grammar School (TIGS) was founded in 1959 through the concerted efforts, vision and energy of the late Bishop Gordon Begbie and a dedicated band of 'founding parents' who firmly believed in the need for a regional Anglican School to be based in the Illawarra.
The vision and philosophy of those families to fully develop young people spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically in order that they might enter society with strong Christian Foundations to lead and serve are still followed today. The School has come a long way in its short history thanks to the leadership of successive administrations and the dedicated support of its many families.
On its opening day on 3 February 1959, the first Headmaster, Rev R F Bosanquet and two staff, welcomed 28 boys into a close and caring community. In 1975, the School became co-educational when it amalgamated with SCEGGS `Gleniffer Brae'.
TIGS now has an enrolment of over 1000 students, Preparatory to Year 12, housed in a modern educational setting with a well-established and acknowledged reputation for delivering programs of excellence.
Watch current Headmaster Stephen Kinsella talk to Founding Headmaster Rev R F Bosanquet about the history of the School:
The School Crest has the shape of a shield and is divided into four sections by a wide blue azure (cross) on silver or white background. This represents our state of NSW and is based on the NSW Ensign which was popularly used in the 1800’s and was seriously proposed as a flag for Australia at Federation.
The four white, eight pointed stars on the azure cross are the stars found on the emblem of the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church. The Illawarra Grammar School Ordinance 1958 established the School on 15 December 1958 and it opened on 3 February 1959 with 28 boys. The foundation stone was laid on 10 December 1959.
In the top left hand quadrant is a golden book representing the Word of God, the Bible. Our current Mission and Values Statement states that “the School is committed to developing and implementing curriculum that reflects a Christian world view” and that “our ultimate authority is God’s Word, the Bible”.
A cedar tree is found in the top right corner and is representative of three things. First, it is used symbolically in the Bible to indicate strength and uprightness. Secondly, it connects to the School Motto “De Virtute in Virtutem” which means “From Strength to Strength”, taken from Psalm 84, Verse 7 and which can also be found in the last verse of the School Hymn – Soldiers of Christ. Finally, cedar has historic significance for the Illawarra region with the logging of cedar trees found in the area being an important industry in the early days of European settlement.
In the centre of the azure cross is a golden ox head which is a symbol of service. An entry in the School archive records that “this is to remind us that we are educated to serve God and our fellow-men” (it was an all boys school then). “Sometimes in the old days oxen were sacrificed. Let us keep in mind the fact that we should sacrifice ourselves, our time and our possessions for other people”. In the Golden Jubilee year the Foundation Headmaster, Richard Bosanquet told of the ox symbol also representing the Illawarra Shorthorn, an important breed of cattle for the region.