From the Archives
In this, a Commonwealth Games year, it is fitting to look back and reflect on how the Games of 1962 had a major part to play in the history of Trinity College.
Perth was awarded the right to host the 1962 Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games). Planning for this huge event began in the late 1950s, and one of the needs identified by the Perth City Council was for a large, International hotel in Perth to help accommodate the expected overseas visitors. The site they decided would be ideal for this hotel was next to the St George’s Terrace site occupied by Christian Brothers’ College, Perth (CBC Terrace). Shortly after, the Perth City Council expressed interest in purchasing the CBC site to allow for the widening of St George’s Terrace and Victoria Avenue.
At this time, the College was facing the fact that site was small, and the 66 year old buildings were becoming rundown, difficult to maintain and were educationally inadequate in many respects. To this end, in early 1960, an agreement was reached between the Christian Brothers and the Perth City Council. The State Government was also involved as the East Perth site proposed was Crown Land, and the final deal required an act of Parliament. The Council bought the CBC site for £267,000 and provided the Brothers with a new 14 acre site on the riverbank near the Western Australian Cricket Association grounds (WACA). Here, a brand new school, costing £270,000 was to be built.
Reclamation and filling work on the riverside were completed by September 1960. Much of the landfill came from a large block in Floreat that was being levelled to build the Floreat Forum. Building began in November 1960 and was to take approximately one year. This would allow time for both the new hotel and the new College to be fully landscaped and beautified by the time of the Games in November 1962.
In the meantime, the deal with the Chevron-Hilton Hotel Group to build a hotel (on) or next to the old CBC Terrace site struck difficulties and the company was unable to meet its commitments. This meant there was minimal disruption to the students at CBC Terrace as they were able to continue to use all the school buildings until the new College was completed. The old buildings were then demolished and the site remained vacant until built on by the Taxation Department (now the Duxton Hotel).
Trinity College opened on schedule for the beginning of the new School Year in 1962, with the official opening on Sunday, 25 March 1962. The new College offered an attractive setting, state of the art facilities and spacious playing fields for 830 day boys. If not for the Empire Games of 1962, Trinity College may not now be enjoying its privileged position, on the riverfront, in East Perth.
Lisa Mony de Kerloy, Trinity Archivist