Born on June 8th, 1847, Charles Corfe was educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, and at Cambridge University. He came to Toowoomba Grammar following a proven track record of some sixteen years as the Headmaster of Christ's College Grammar School, Christchurch, New Zealand. He had a reputation as an outstanding athlete, a capable scholar and "the quiet demeanour of a fine Christian gentleman".
Mr Corfe created a record by retaining the Headmastership for ten years. He took the School to the first quarter of a century of its existence, albeit a precarious one as the last quarter 1900 enrolment total of 24 would indicate. This dilemma was due, in part, to the trends of the times, although five Headmasters, numerous under-masters, three Chairmen of Trustees and many members of the Board of Trustees had collectively failed to make it a great School in terms of public appeal. The 1880's and 1890's had been tough times for Queensland, with a succession of droughts, floods, and economic depression. The mood of the era was opposed to privilege, favouring equality. Consequently, the Grammar Schools were seen by some as symbols of upper-class privilege, and periodic moves were made in the Colonial Parliament for their abolition. Nevertheless, Charles Corfe was instrumental in achieving much that was good for the School. His educational philosophy, for example, was applauded when he stated that "the School owed a duty to those who wished to follow a University career", but ," he had no wish to see Toowoomba Grammar School become just a good cramming institution".
The School motto, Fidelis in Omnibus, is attributed to him, and in an era engendered by patriotism due to the South African Wars and the longevity of Queen Victoria, Mr Corfe formally established what was to become a great tradition - in the formation of the Cadet Corps. He also introduced the prefect system, referring in 1892 to D. Horn as the 'Head Boy', commenting that "...the lazy indolent bully who has a vocabulary of epithets ready to hurl at the head of any boy who is trying to do his duty, will no longer be tolerated...no really great school can be made without prefects... ".
In hindsight, perhaps Charles Corfe's greatest achievement was his ability to deliver a surviving School to the first decade of the new century. The Grammar Schools had been too far ahead of their time in the 1880's and 1890's, whereas thereafter they were destined to prosper.