Australia is undoubtedly a fantastic place to live and learn. It’s a culturally and geographically diverse country, rich with colour and ethnicity and a unanimous positive attitude! It has one of the highest standards of living in the world, and boasts a strong, international reputation for educational excellence.
Geelong Grammar School is Australia’s largest co-educational boarding school. The school opened in 1855 as a private Anglican venture in temporary premises. That very first term, the school was home to just twenty-two pupils. Now, the school caters to 1,500 girls and boys from pre-school through to year 12. As you can probably imagine; a lot has happened in the 160 years since the school first opened, and Geelong Grammar has seen many a student come and go…and now, it boasts a number of extremely famous alumni!
1. Rupert Murdoch, Media Proprietor
I best be careful what I say, I wouldn’t want him to hack my phone…
Ranked number 17 in the list of the Most Influential Contemporary Americans, and number 21 on the list of the Most Irreplacable CEOs in the World, there is no doubt that Rupert Murdoch is the ultimate media juggernaut.
Murdoch was born in Melbourne in 1931. His father, Keith Murdoch, was a famous war correspondent and newspaper publisher. He remembers being thrust into the world of publishing from a very young age, saying: “I was brought up in a publishing home, a newspaper man’s home, and was excited by that, I suppose. I saw that life at close range, and after the age of ten or twelve never really considered any other.”
Murdoch graduated from Geelong Grammar in 1949 before attending Worcester College at Oxford University in England. When his father passed away in 1952, Rupert inherited his Adelaide newspapers, the News and the Sunday Mail. Over the course of his life, Murdoch continued to purchase various media outlets, and in the 70s, he crossed the big blue to extend his media legacy to America. In 1985, he delved deeper into news and entertainment when he bought 20th Century Fox Film Corp, and he later launched the totally not-biased cable news channel, FOX News.
So, that’s good old liver-spotted Murdoch in a nutshell. Whatever your feelings towards him, you can’t deny the unprecedented success of his media empire- and it all began at Geelong!
2. Charles, Prince of Wales
Yep, the heir to the British throne was the proud beneficiary of a Geelong education!
Prince Charles was born Charles Philip Arthur George in 1948, the son of Queen Elizabeth the II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His mother became Queen when Charles was the tender age of three, thrusting him into the royal hierarchy from a very early age. As the eldest of all the royal children, Charles became heir to the throne and was granted the title of the Duke of Cornwall.
In 1956, Charles went to school in West London before boarding at Cheam School the following year. On top of all that school work, Charles was lumbered with even more responsibility when he was given the title of Prince of Wales when he was just nine years old.
In 1962, Charles transferred to Gordonstoun, Scotland, and not long after that, he ventured to Australia to continue his studies at Geelong Grammar School. He later went on to study Archaeology, Anthropology and History at Trinity College, and is said to have been a very model student. He received his degree in 1970, and went on to join the military.
Over the years, the Prince of Wales has been the subject of many a scandal, but there’s no denying his intelligence and academic prowess. His legacy lives on at Geelong, as it will for years to come.
3. Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, Sultan of Terrenganu
It’s true! Prince Charles is not the only Royal figure to seek the Geelong wisdom…
Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin (we’ll just stick with ‘Abidin’ from now on…) was born in Kuala Terrenganu in 1962, the eldest son of Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah. He is the 17th and current Sultan of the Terrenganu. From 2006 to 2011, he served as the 13th King of Malaysia, so I think it’s fair to say that he’s a rather important fella!
In 1979, he went overseas to study at Geelong, and in 1988, completed his undergraduate studies at U.S International University-Europe(now called Alliant International University) in London; he was awarded a BA in International Relations- a handy qualification for when you casually become King!
The fact that TWO members of international royalty opted for a Geelong tuition is certainly not coincidence; it really is an education good enough for Sovereignty!
4. Portia de Rossi, Activist/Actress
Mmmm-Hmm! One half of the world’s favourite funny power-couple (the other half being Ellen DeGeneres) also went to Geelong!
Portia de Rossi was born Amanda Lee Rogers in Victoria, Australia, in 1973. Her father, Barry Rogers, tragically passed away when she was nine years old. Her mother, Margeret Rogers, struggled to provide for de Rossi and her brother, so as an eleven year old erupting with ambition, de Rossi embarked on a career in the entertainment industry, starting with work in TV commercials and also as a model.
At the age of 15, she legally changed her name to Portia de Rossi; taking the name ‘Portia’ from the heroine in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and de Rossi simply because it sounded more exotic. In her later life, she declared that her desire to change her name may have derived from her struggle with her sexuality.
After graduating from high school, de Rossi attended Geelong Grammar School and Melbourne Girls Grammar School. She then went on to study Law at the University of Melbourne, but never completed her degree due to landing a role in the 1993 comedy Sirens.
And so began Portia de Rossi’s glowing film and television career! She has achieved great things, as both an actress and an activist, and it is no doubt due to that Geelong ingenuity flowing through her veins!
5. John Gorton, Politician
So, not only have you got international monarchs and TV royalty on the list of Geelong’s infamous graduates; you’ve also got one of Australia’s most notorious Prime Ministers.
John Grey Gorton was born in 1911. His early years were spent with his mother’s parents in Port Melbourne, as his parents were constantly on business trips to Sydney, New Zealand and England. They settled down in Sydney in 1916, and five year old John was enrolled at Edgecliff Preparatory School. He later attended Headford College, before boarding at Shore, the Sydney Church of England Grammar School.
When Gorton was 16, he finished life as a boarder at Geelong Grammar School, remembering his two years there as the happiest of his school life. He was elected as a prefect, and represented the school in rowing, football and athletics. With the encouragement of the then headmaster, James Darling, Gorton visited the homes of Geelong’s unemployed. It was here that he learnt the most important lesson of his entire political career, before it had really even begun; that society has a duty to care for those who have no power over their unfortunate circumstances.
So, there you have it! The walls of Geelong Grammar are literally oozing the powerful odour of fame and success. As Geelong’s reputation continues to go, so too will its list of famous alumni– and who knows, maybe you could be next…