St John's College, University of Queensland

St John's College, University of Queensland

name = St John's College
university = University of Queensland
shield = puic|

colours =
full_name = St John's College
motto_Latin = Esolutus iterum vinctus
motto_English = Freed and Rebound
named_for = Saint John
established = 1911
head_name = Warden
head = The Rev. Canon Prof. John Morgan
location = ['5.38%22S+153%C2%B0+0'48.65%22E&ie=UTF8&ll=-27.501494,153.013514&spn=0.012467,0.019913&z=16&om=1 St Lucia Campus]
residents = 263 plus graduate flats
admissions = Co-educational since 1990, formerly male only
homepage = [ Homepage] | alumni_homepage = [ Alumni Homepage]

St John's College is a co-educational college of residence situated within the St Lucia Campus of the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. The college is affiliated with the University of Queensland, with whom the college co-sponsors The Australian Institute of Ethics and the Professions (see external links). The college was founded in 1911, the same year the University of Queensland accepted its first students.

The college has traditionally seen an academic emphasis, while maintaining consistently strong showings in cultural, sporting, as well as social events. The college has produced 18 Rhodes Scholars.

The college models itself on an adapted oxbridge model, whereby all students are encouraged to regularly attend tutorials offered by the college and academic achievement is emphasized (students must maintain a certain GPA to be eligible for re-entry into the college).

College spirit is strong, and residents (referred to as Johnians) generally spend 3 years (at which point collegians acquire full privileges) at the College before moving out. However, a number of post-graduate flats and buildings are maintained for visiting academics and various post-graduate students.


St John's College is situated on the riverfront, and lies opposite the Hawken Engineering Building on College Road. The College has extensive gardens, though these have recently suffered under the effects of the ongoing drought in Queensland. Restorative work has, however, retained much of the beauty of the grounds.

All meals are provided for students in the Dining Hall, while snack food can be purchased at 'the shop' (a student run canteen which often opens upon mid-night request). Undergraduate students are housed in six blocks, of which the Donaldson-Edale block has been recently rebuilt after a fire. 'Senior Residents' are students appointed by the senior management to oversee the welfare of the students in their respective blocks.

Academic facilities include a number of tutorial rooms, the Stanley Law Library, the Gibson Biomedical Sciences room, a computer lab, and a general library.

There are a number of music rooms (each with upright pianos), and two regularly tuned full-size grand pianos in the larger music rooms as well as a pipe organ in the chapel. The college also boasts a recently refurbished sport and recreation centre - which houses the gymnasium, a squash court and the 'party room'.

Many meetings and public lectures are held in the Junior Common Room (referred to as the JCR), including AGMs and the weekly informal Johnain meetings called 'Slush'.

The College also has its own Chapel - with regular services twice a week. The Warden's Lodge and the Dean's residence (Oakes House) are also on college grounds.


As with many colleges, St John's College has a rich and extensive set of traditions - with the responsibility of upholding these traditions lying mainly with the College Executive (a Johnian-elected body of students) and the O-week committee. Freshers are gradually introducted to the college's distinctive terminology and customs. For instance, the weekly informal meetings are called 'slush', while every so often a 'royal slush' is pronounced - where students dress in academic robes and meet at a local pub. Other terms (sometimes borrowed from the lay-person's vocabulary) such as 'drag', 'stezza', 'shommit', 'GFS' and man-bear-pig having differing meanings between initiated and uninitiated students.

A set of rules apply to the various locations of the college - such as the Dining Hall and JCR - to ensure standards of dress and manners are upheld. Students who forget such customs may be chastised according to college traditions. For instance, students who fail to seat themselves at a new table at lunch while partially filled tables are available are 'tapped out' of the dining hall.

A number of social events also have various traditions associated with them. For example, it is college custom to dress-up according to table themes at the annual 'Trivia Night' (where very little trivia takes place). Previous themes for tables (decided by the seniors allocated to the table) include 'spartan', 'bogan', 'fluoro', 'jungle' and 'superheros'. Other annual parties such as 'Jazz Night', 'Boatcruise', 'At-home', 'Banquet', 'Fresherome' and various party room functions (following sporting and cultural successes) are widely anticipated by Johnians and other UQ collegians alike.

Various prize-giving ceremonies, such as Cultural Awards Night, Sports Luncheon and Academic Dinner, take place annually to recognise talent and achievement in various fields.

While most traditions are upheld by the student body, some are called for by the Warden and senior management of the college. For example, it is customary to wear academic gowns to 'formal dinners'.

Though college-life is not for all, the vast majority of students enjoy the comradeship afforded by the college lifestyle. It is often lamented by collegians that 'day-students' are missing out on half the university experience. This is helped somewhat by the ability of the college Warden to select students who are genuinely friendly and accepting, which results in a comfortable atmosphere between peers that is commonly noted by incoming freshers.


The college models itself on an adapted oxbridge model, whereby all students are encouraged to regularly attend tutorials offered by the college and academic achievement is emphasized (students must maintain a certain GPA to be eligible for re-entry into the college).

External tutors are invited to teach at the college to aid in the learning and achievement of collegians. Tutorials are usually available for all subjects upon request to the college Dean. Although tutorials are not generally compulsory, students (especially first-years students) are strongly encouraged to attend - the majority of which indeed do.

A number of facilities have been built to aid students in their studies. For example, the Gibson Biomedical Sciences room houses a full physiotherapy massage table, various biological specimens and skeletons as well as whiteboards and other standard equipment (i.e. available in other tutorial rooms).

Academic achievement is rewarded through various prizes and scholarships available to Johnians, presented at the academic dinner. The title of 'major scholar' is awarded to students who attain GPAs of ~ above 6.5 (from a scale of 0-7), while 'minor scholar' is awarded to GPAs of ~ above 6.2. These scholars are usually entitled to varying levels of college fee discounts (as are the choral scholars and Senior Residents). All-rounder and subject prizes are also available.


Cultural pursuits at St John's College are strongly encouraged, and have flourished under the encouragement and organisation of the current Warden (The Rev Canon Prof John Morgan). Indeed, the Warden played a major role in the establishment of the ICC cultural cup. The college regularly places in the top two colleges for this competition.

Vocal performance is particularly strong at the college. The Niggles is an auditioned all-male Collegiate a capella group which focuses on stage performance, while maintaining stringent technical standards. The college maintains an auditioned chamber choir consisting of approximately 12 choral scholars. The chamber choir regularly performs during chapel services and various cultural events, as well as occasionally at St John's Cathedral, Brisbane.

The congregation is also occasionally accompanied by the organ scholars of the college during chapel services.

A number of 'fresher bands' feed into the auditioned college Jazz Band (a misnomer, as this band has traditionally played rock covers) which has frequently placed in the top 3 bands in the ICC Bandfest, while performing at various social and cultural functions.

A high proportion of students in the college also participate and support the various groups competing in the ICC cultural events; including choralfest, dancefest, one-act play and debating.

The college has recently established an orchestra, which complements the pre-existing auditioned string quartet.

Students who excel in cultural pursuits are awarded Cultural Blues at the cultural awards evening held towards the end of the second semester.


St John's College has consistently performed well in both the male and female ICC sporting fixtures, despite the disadvantage in having fewer students of each sex due to its co-educational status. Indeed, the college regularly tops the gender-adjusted rankings. The college has traditionally excelled in racquet sports and rowing (thus far in 2008, the female rowing team has won every regatta), while giving strong showings in team sports such as cricket, hockey, soccer and volleyball.

Squash is a popular game amongst the Johnians (given that the college maintains a squash court), while an extensive range of sports are offered at the intercollege level. For instance, the ICC swimming carnival is usually attended by all Johnians wearing their colours and marching to various college chants and war-cries.

Students who excel in sporting pursuits are awarded Sporting Blues at the annual Sports Luncheon.


St. John's College was founded in 1911 by Archbishop St. Clair Donaldson in the same year that the University of Queensland accepted its first students. The College was named after the Apostle St. John, who is traditionally identified as a close disciple of Jesus and writer of the Fourth Gospel. The two ancient English universities of Oxford and Cambridge were represented in the foundation of the College; Archbishop Donaldson was a Cambridge graduate and the first Warden, the Revd. Edward Morgan Baker, was an Oxford graduate.

The College accepted its first five students in March 1912. Situated on Kangaroo Point, directly across the river from the University, the College was located in a number of houses at Kangaroo Point. Over the years a number of "temporary" buildings - various annexes - were added.

From the very beginning the College experienced financial hardship. Despite donations from the Archbishop and the Warden and money given from England, the private company administering the College, St. John's College Ltd., was wound up. The Anglican Diocese of Brisbane assumed responsibility for the College, and St. John's College has continued to be part of the Diocese.

During the first twenty or so years of the University's existence, the Colleges were a strong influence in its life. St. John's College has provided some eighteen Rhodes Scholars, eleven of them during the first thirty years of the life of the College. Presidents and other officers of the Student Union were drawn from St. John's and other Colleges.

In 1937, the foundation stone of the new University buildings was laid at St. Lucia; a site for St. John's College was chosen in 1939. During the Second World War little development took place at St. Lucia. The foundation stone of the new College was laid in 1954, and the move to St. Lucia began in 1956. The Warden at the time of the move, the Revd A.C.C. Stevenson, who had chaired the Joint Colleges Rebuilding Appeal, died prior to the opening on the new site.

The College expanded with the addition of new buildings, notably the Chapel (1981), Cripps Court (1987), Sharwood Court (1990), the Morgan Centre (1991) and Foundation Court (1994). The first scholarships for academic achievement, The Sir Charles Spry and The St. John's College Council Scholarships, were awarded in 1983. In 1988 the St. John's College Foundation was launched, and in 1990 the first women residents were admitted to College.

In 1987, the 75th anniversary of the College was celebrated. The eminent English historian Lord Dacre (Hugh Trevor Roper), Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge University, was the special visitor, and the first Honorary Fellows of the College were installed.

External links

* [ St John's College (UQ) website] - note: information may not be current
* [ The Australian Institute of Ethics and the Professions]

See also

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