Home' Focus : Focus Magazine Spring 2017 Contents FOCUS | SPRING 2017 | 33
At the 1917 Speech Night, Mr Onslow
Douglas, Chairman, stated that, since
his old school (Horton College,) he had
never seen a place as ideally suited
to the purpose of a school as was
Scotch College was originally located
in a property on York Street, Launceston,
opposite a tannery next to where Earl Street
joins York Street. The site was constrained
by surrounding homes and sloping ground,
and afforded no prospects for expansion
and playing fields. This situation changed
in 1917, when the new young headmaster,
Mr C. Mitchell Tovell, moved the school to
‘Ravenscraig’ on Penquite Road.
Mr Tovell was headmaster from 1914
to 1924 during a period that was most
challenging to the nation and to the school.
When he took over from Headmaster Andrew
Raeburn, Mr Tovell realised that, with the local
competition from the elaborately-equipped
newly-opened state high school, the days of
the school would be numbered unless they
moved to a site allowing for expansion and
In the third year of Mr Tovell’s term as
headmaster, ‘Ravenscraig’ became available
and he grabbed the chance to purchase it.
‘Ravenscraig’ comprised a large home or
lodge and four hectares (10 acres) of ground,
thus offering ample room for playing fields.
During 1917, improvements in buildings and
grounds were made and comprised the:
• alteration of the lodge as an assembly
hall, or cut by moveable partition, into
• addition to the residence of dressing and
• renovation of the asphalt tennis court;
• grading of cricket and football fields;
• provision of a turf wicket for senior and
cement pitches for junior boys;
• laying out of a special playing field and
pitch for the youngest boys;
• draining of fields with agricultural drains,
ensuring dry fields for the winter; and
• enlargement of the swimming pool in the
river, the erection of a spring-board, etc.
Success attended these efforts and over the
next several years further extensions to the
buildings were required. The music room was set
up as an isolation room during the Spanish Flu
Charles Mitchell Tovell (1887-1943). When
Mitchell was three his father died leaving three
sons under the age of five. His mother remarried
and her family immediately grew to six boys.
Mitchell was educated at Brighton Grammar,
Melbourne. In 1904, he was Dux of the school
and subsequently studied Mining Engineering at
Ormond College in the University of Melbourne.
He set aside these studies at the end of 1910
and joined the staff of Kings College, Goulburn,
for two years. In 1913, he returned to studies and
completed the requirements for the BSc (Hons)
degree in the School of Geology. He became
headmaster of Scotch College in April 1914 and
resigned in December 1924. Shortly thereafter, he
moved with his wife and son to Coonabarabran
where he farmed. His health recovered sufficiently
for him to return to teaching in the 1930s.
epidemic of 1918-1919, but fortunately it was
not needed for that purpose. Peak enrolments
reached about 61 boys in 1920 and 1921.
Increased attendances allowed for improved
sporting performances and, in 1920, Scotch
College annexed the northern premierships in
tennis and cricket and held the Blyth Cup for
rifle shooting. Athletics, swimming and rowing
were also popular. The school fielded a senior
football team but with little overall success.
The move to ‘Ravenscraig’ changed the
character of the College from a predominantly
city-based day school to a boarding school,
drawing students from the North West coast
and the Midlands. John Taylor of ‘Winton’
sent his son John McKinnon Taylor to Scotch
College (1917-1922) and the Midlands
connections were further strengthened when,
in 1921, Mitchell Tovell married Margaret Taylor
of ‘St Johnstone’.
After 1921, however, the school entered
a period of decline, and by 1924 it was
obvious to Mr Tovell that unless he sought the
backing of a larger support base the school’s
days were numbered. With the help of the
Presbyterian Church and parents and old
boys, a company was formed to take over
the school towards the end of 1924. Mr Tovell
subsequently resigned as headmaster, and
the following year the school opened with
an outstanding man at the helm, Mr W. W. V.
Mitchell Tovell ran a small but good school
and among its alumni were men who made
Scotch College, c.1918.
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