Home' Capricornus Quarterly : CQ Oct 2016 Contents 13
He moves our
minds, even today
Echoes of Henry Arthur Kellow can still be heard one hundred years after his
appointment as our School’s third Headmaster, writes Mike Donahue
There were moving tributes at the
launch of The Moving Mind: A Life
of Henry Arthur Kellow by Dr Lorna
McDonald OAM (Coorooman
Press), an updated biography on
the life of Henry Arthur Kellow,
Headmaster of The Rockhampton
Grammar School from 1881-
1935, held on 15 September
in Memorial Assembly Hall.
The event was attended by Mr
Kellow’s two grandchildren,
Associate Professor John Kellow
(University of Sydney) and Roslyn
McGovern, and their partners.
“The flourishing RGS of today is
a wonderful testament to HAK and
his successors,” said John Kellow,
surrounded by School honour
boards, Headmasters’ portraits
and House flags, including the
white flag of Kellow House.
“H AK imparted to his son Harry
[a Sydney doctor] an intense love
of learning. And Harry, my father,
passed that on to me and my
sister, Roslyn. Both of these men
had instilled in me my passion
for teaching and research in the
field of medicine and within my
sister, her skills and talent in the
fields of English, Histor y and Law,”
added John as he thanked and
celebrated Central Queensland
historian, Dr Lorna McDonald.
“The man and his writings
have been master fully brought to life
to us. You, Lorna, have captured the
essence of our grandfather, not only as
a consummate educator, outstanding
author, literar y critic and poet, and a
loving family man but also as a remarkable
visionary in all aspects of his life.”
The Kellow grandchildren received a
tour of the School by Headmaster Dr
Phillip Moulds before the mid-morning
book launch. It was the first time they
had been to RGS and Roslyn McGovern
remarked how “special” it was for the
family to return from Sydney to their
roots in Rockhampton, to be at the
School, to v isit Meikleville Hill in Yeppoon
(which the Kellow family frequented)
and take in the splendour of Ritamada.
“Rockhampton Grammar School has
always been such a strong force in our
lives. HAK and [his wife] Mary Hope
would be thrilled to think that their life’s
work has endured and can be appreciated
by others,” said a heartfelt Roslyn.
“ They were a role model for any
generation and now thanks to Lorna
this stor y is not going to be lost. That
is how much Rockhampton Grammar
School means to me,” she said.
Recalling the strength and determination
of her grandmother, especially follow ing
the death of HAK , Roslyn shared
childhood memories of Mary Hope, a
highly respected Scottish educator.
“ She used to tell me in her rolling
Scottish accent, ‘ You know Roslyn, I
have a LLA, Lady Literate in Arts, from
St Andrews University. Women could
not attend lectures there.’ It was the
equivalent of an MA. That was in 1902.
She was also a ver y accomplished artist.”
Roslyn wore a bespoke r uby-jewelled
School crest broach presented to
Mary Hope by staff and students on
her departure from the School. She
read in part from its inscription: As
a token of esteem after an association of
23 years unhappily terminated by the
death of the Headmaster, the late
Mr Henr y Ar thur Kellow.
Headmaster Dr Phillip Moulds
wanted guests to know that
Kellow was still very much
alive and significant to RGS.
“It’s written in our School history
that ever ything interested him.
He was a scholar, an ex-boxer
and an ex-wrestler. He loved
lang uage, of course, but most
of all – according to the people
around him – he was a devoted
man, devoted to education, to
the School and to the students.
He said the real purpose of
education was to build character.
He inspired among the boys and
his staff great loyalty to RGS.”
The Headmaster – in v iew of
HAK’s gaze from the portrait
which hangs in Memorial
Assembly Hall and opposite
the World War I memorial
installed by HAK – told visitors
that Kellow loved his students
and loved what he did.
“He wept for those who made
the supreme sacrifice in the
great war and was always aware
of the great responsibility he had,”
and he quoted Kellow: “to place
their feet in the right road and
their face in the right direction
and to do this without lessening
unduly that deg ree of happiness
which is the birthright of youth.”
“Being Headmaster is a great
responsibility,” said Dr Moulds.
“Henry Arthur Kellow is an
inspiration to me and he still is very
much in the woodwork, grounds
and fabric of this School,”
Grandson, John Kellow, concluded
the book launch by expressing his
family’s appreciation to the School, to
Coorooman Press and to author and
centenarian, Dr Lorna McDonald.
“The values and philosophies of
this unique couple that we have been
discussing are as timeless and relevant
today as they were in their own lifetimes.
We are confident that anyone who reads
this book could not fail to be inspired
and be uplifted by the extraordinary
lives of not t wo but really three people:
HAK, Mary Hope and of course, Lorna.”
“A ll of this,” he said, “was played
out on the stage of this great
and renow ned school.”
Rockhampton Grammar School has always
been such a strong force in our lives.
Headmaster Kellow’s Granddaughter, Roslyn McGovern
[A]nyone who reads this book could not
fail to be inspired and be uplifted...
Headmaster Kellow’s Grandson, Dr John Kellow
The Gentleman Scholar
Henry Arthur Kellow
RGS Headmaster, 1912-1935
From The History of The Rockhampton Grammar School, Centenary 1881-1980
Henry Arthur Kellow was born in St. Andrews,
Scotland five months after The Rockhampton
Grammar School first opened its doors in
1881. He attended Airdrie Academy, and later
graduated as a Master of Arts with first-class
honours in English and Moral Philosophy
from Glasgow University. He was a brilliant
student, receiving University Prizes and
other distinctions. He gained a Diploma of
Education, with Distinction, and also held a
French Diplome D’etudes Francaises. His formal
education ended with his appointment as
Master of Method for the training of teachers,
and Lecturer in Commercial Geography
at the University. He spent several years
gaining valuable and varied experiences as
Master of Classics and English in Scottish
schools before becoming Head of the English
Department at Allen Glen’s School in Glasgow.
During this period, Mr Kellow had
become a well-known lecturer and
writer on educational subjects....
Mr. Kellow was firm in his belief that the
purpose of education was to build character,
not merely cramming knowledge into a boy.
And he believed this could best be done by the
Grammar Schools. As a Morning Bulletin article
stated, “It was the intangible rather than the
tangible which Mr. Kellow always pursued in
his educational efforts ... Too much rigidity, he
held, was as bad as too much elasticity in any
educational system, and the statesmen who
had inaugurated the Grammar Schools were
far-seeing men; for that system had a certain
amount of elasticity and was not yet out of date.”
“Mr Kellow believed in fostering the growth
of character by providing an appropriate
environment; but he did not believe in forcing
a hot-house growth in this regard any more
than he did in the sphere of knowledge.
He was a man of vision as an educator, he
strove always, for the best. His discipline was
based upon sympathy and understanding
rather than upon mechanical drill method.
Moreover, he did not believe in preaching ...
His educational practice made it clear that he
believed in example rather than precept.”
Students, and masters alike, were inspired
by Mr. Kellow to take pride in themselves, their
school, and whatever they did. Throughout
Mr. Kellow’s twenty-three years, students,
masters and the Headmaster himself exhibited
a spirit of service seldom seen in a school.
Willing hands raised funds, cleared brush,
moved tons of stones, constructed concrete
steps, repaired the gymnasium, enlarged
the sports grounds, worked on the tennis
courts, planted vegetable gardens, trees
and other plants to beautify the grounds.
Mr Kellow laboured for his generation
for as long as could be asked of any man.
In September, 1935, a severe influenza
epidemic struck the boarders at the School.
Mr Kellow’s unselfish devotion kept him
ministering to the sick, which included
his own son, Harry. Neglecting his own
symptoms, he developed pneumonia.
The 1935 School magazine
opened with this editorial:
It is with a sense of irreparable loss and
with grievous sorrow that we record the
death of the Headmaster, the late Mr H A
Kellow, who, with unexpected suddenness,
succumbed to pneumonia on the evening
of September 6th. As long as there exists
respect for culture, homage for merit, and
reverence for tradition, his name will ever hold
an honoured place in the annals of time.
On sale now!
Historian Dr Lorna
McDonald uncovers the life
and nature of Headmaster
Henry Arthur Kellow, his
fairness of thought and
action and determination
that his students attain
their goals in any area
of human endeavour.
$25.00 RRP available
now at The RGS Red
& Black Shop.
Call 4936 0653
Henry Arthur Kelllow’s
and Roslyn, attended
the book launch. Their
father, Harry (Dr. Henry
Edward Kellow), pictured
here in an RGS archived
photograph at his
father’s feet, was born
at the School in 1923
and lived at RGS until he
was 12, leaving after his
father’s untimely death
in 1935 from influenza
Harry died in January
this year, just months
before the book about
his father was published.
A Life of Henry
by Dr Lorna
Pictured are Roslyn McGovern, Lorna McDonald and Dr John Kellow. Photo: Rachael McDonald
Read The Morning Bulletin’s stories about the book launch and Kellow at www.themorningbulletin.com.au/news/education-and-a-shooting-rocky-schools-
fascinating/3090194/ and www.themorningbulletin.com.au/news/the-woman-who-knows-plenty-of-rockhamptons-secrets/3090129/
Listen to a recent ABC interviewing with The Moving Mind author Dr Lorna McDonald and Jacquie Mackay on Lorna’s 100th birthday at blogs.abc.net.au/
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