Fri, 16 Apr 2004 00:00
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We profile Queen's College of Queenstown.

School profile

Queen's College is situated at the foot of the picturesque Stormberg Mountains in the pleasant Eastern Cape town of Queenstown. Established in 1858, it is the oldest school on the Border - a region famous for its fine schools.  Close to its excellent "family" schools, Queen's College Boys' Primary, Queenstown Girls' High and Balmoral Girls' Primary, Queen's College offers boys a unique opportunity to realise their full potential in a healthy, caring, Christian environment in which educational excellence, tradition, loyalty, pride, leadership development, and the highest standards of discipline are emphasized.  The overall educational development of the Queenian is achieved within a milieu of progressive thinking that ensures that the College moves with the times and makes the most of technological advances.

Mr. CE Ham set up a private school for boys, the Prospect House Academy.  In 1858 it was taken over by the state as the Queenstown District School.  That year is taken as the foundation date for Queen’s College. Today, all that remains of Mr. Ham's original school is the lectern on the stage of the Memorial Hall (the present school hall).  It was made out of a yellow wood beam salvaged from the old school building when it was demolished in 1949.

In 1867 Frederick Beswick opened a private school in the town and then the principal of a conglomerate of schools called Queenstown Boys' Public School, whose headmaster he remained for 32 years.  He really set education on a sound footing in Queenstown.  His son, Alan, became the first Old Queenian to play rugby for South Africa. In 1910 the school was officially named Queen's College.

The school continued to grow in size and stature and under Mr. A Parry Davies, who was headmaster from 1930 to 1940, Queen's began to develop a distinctive character and spirit.  The school's prowess in the academic, sporting and cultural spheres became known far and wide and it began to attract pupils from all over South Africa and as far afield as Zimbabwe.

Today Queen's College still draws pupils from all over Southern Africa.  With its extensive modern school, hostel and playing field facilities, its highly motivated professional teaching staff, and its excellent, well-rounded educational program, the College has come along way since its humble beginnings.  Queen's is proud of its heritage and holds onto many cherished traditions.  The core of the old stone school buildings (dating back to 1897) was retained when a new purpose designed modern school complex was built in 1973.  Many valuable reminders of the school's debt to the past are housed in the Queen's College Museum in the "Old School", which was itself declared a historical monument in 1980.

Queen's boasts three comfortable hostels, including one that is reserved exclusively for boys in Grade 8. There are 150 boarders altogether, which is a large portion of the 600 learner contingent.

School information

Name: Queen's College Boys' High School
Motto: Esse quam videri (To be rather than to seem to be)
Foundation date: 1858
Address: 16 Berry Street, Queenstown

Rugby at Queen's

Though Alan Beswick played rugby for South Africa, the school's game was really soccer till the 1920s when there were few schools to play soccer against. The problem of conversion to rugby was the absence of a grassed field.  The principal Herbert Wilkinson promised that the conversion would be made as soon as there was a grassed field. The school acquired one and was a rugby school in 1924. That year Queen's played its first rugby match against another school – Gill College of Somerset East, who were on tour. From then on the school was committed to rugby.

Queen's play without the number 13 jersey (in the 1st  XV only) after the tragic death of Victor Maitland in a motor accident in 1951 who wore the number 13 jersey (1st  XV that year)


Before World War II there was Rosy Rosseinsky (1929 – 1941), and after the War, Dummy Taylor (1947 – 1961). They have been the school's longest serving coaches.

Traditional Rivals

Rugby is tough down on the border and the competition which Queen's has had over the year from Dale, Selborne and, farther afield, St Andrew's and Grey of Port Elizabeth has been great and absorbing.

Famous Rugby Old Boys

Alan Beswick, Jimmy White, Robbie Kempson, Dick Muir and Kaya Malotana have played for South Africa, and more recently Lionel Cronjé represented South Africa for the "baby" Boks in 2009.