Amongst the few objects retained from the original school building during the move from Bay Terrace to Wondall Road, the set of stained glass windows is an extremely valuable and unique part of the College’s collection, historically and aesthetically.
The stained glass panels depict William Cowper, Charles Dickens, George Frideric Handel, Thomas Babington Macaulay, John Milton, Alexander Pope, William Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Edmund Spenser and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The panels currently reside in the Alice J. Alison Greene Secondary Library.
The panels were restored and moved to their current location in 2003, in a project driven by Ms Kate Lawrie, history teacher and then College Archivist, which culminated in the official unveiling of the panels on 4 April 2003. The restoration and relocation of the panels has ensured that they will continue to be enjoyed by many generations of Moreton Bay College students.
The exact history of the stained glass portraits is unknown, as the College does not hold records of their purchase or origin. However, it is likely that our College founders either imported the roundels from Britain or purchased them from an Australian importer or manufacturer. Perhaps the portraits had been in the Greene’s possession prior to the family’s departure from Britain. Research associated with the restoration of the windows places them in the Victorian era and the style of the portraits, along with the subject matter, is in keeping with the artistic genre of that time. It is probable that the Greene sisters acquired the panels, not only for their own private enjoyment, but also to provide an aesthetic element in the environment of their College. Given the sisters’ particular ethos and educational vision, it is possible that they selected each of the windows for the specific cultural value that they deemed the personalities depicted. In general, the portraits depict notable individuals in the world of literature and the arts. As educated Victorian women, the Greene sisters would have been well aware of the significance of the various personalities represented in these portraits.
When the College relocated to its current site in the mid 1980s, the stained glass panels that were a feature of the original school were removed to the new location and incorporated into the administration building.
The growth of the College in the late 1990s necessitated the refurbishment of the office space within the administration block. As a result of a decision to utilise a more contemporary design within the main foyer, the stained glass panels were removed during renovations in early 2000 and placed in storage. At this point, the story of the restoration of the twelve roundels, each a figural window begins. The removal of the panels brought a renewed awareness of their significance and a determination to see the portraits restored and placed in a prominent location within the school, for all to enjoy.