Will Morris

Will Morris

Name: Will Morris

Epoch: Early 20th Century (the \'Long Early Twentieth Century\')

Grouping Field: Humanities (Ideas Formatted as Ideas) and Social Science (Models)

Location Grouping: Individual\'s Work Location

Map Coordinates: 27°28\'52.5\"S 153°03\'04.8\"E

Years At Location: 1918-1946

One Historical Setting: Rev. William Perry French (Will) Morris, Church of England Grammar School, Oakland Parade, East Brisbane, 1918

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Will Morris was the Founding Headmaster of the Church of England Grammar School, arising from an earlier venture (1912) of a small private school, St Magnus Hall, in a house called Ardencraig at Toowong, Brisbane. The Church of England Grammar School opened at its new location, Oaklands Parade, East Brisbane, on 10 June 1918.

Impact On Brisbane Society

John Cole describes the early life of Will Morris in Melbourne and Cambridge, along with Ethel Morris later, as culturally and spiritually rich. Morris, educated at Trinity College, University of Melbourne, and Ridley Hall, Cambridge, read theology, and church and medieval history. He believed “to do social work on a religious basis, instead of doing religious work on a social basis”, and this would lead to a disregard for institutional expressions of faith. Keith Rayner believed that Morris was focused on the ‘crises of humanity’. Ethel Morris was a modernist and a feminist, who eventually turned to painting, finding her future in artistic circles in London. Will Morris was an ardent classicist, and viewed life from uncompromisingly romantic, heroic and idealistic perspectives. Those perspectives were distorted by the notion of ‘muscular Christianity’ and the nineteenth century British classical education with its reinterpretation of Spartan valuing; praising the rugged individual but rejecting sentimental collectivism.

Cole claims that Morris decried the creeping exclusiveness of some ‘Great Public Schools’, but the pedagogy betrayed his confused idealism, as it became the stoic model of a man of formidable courage, self-sacrifice and service. The worldview was popular in the interwar period, producing stoic fodder for global violence. By the time Morris retired at the end of 1946, more than 3000 boys had passed through ‘Churchie’.


John Cole, ‘Morris, William Perry (Will) (1878–1960)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/morris-william-perry-will-11174/text19909, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 4 July 2019.

Crawford, Alex. The Faith of Canon William Perry French Morris & the Implications for his Ministry, Brisbane Qld, Mathew Hale Public Library, 2017.

Image Citation

Canon Morris. State Library of Queensland