Henry Arthur Kellow
Henry Arthur Kellow Contributed

Education and a shooting: Rocky school's fascinating history

IT WAS India or Rockhampton.

An established academic, Henry Arthur Kellow chose the sunburnt country after being headhunted by the Rockhampton Grammar School in 1912.

He would steer the school through the First World War and the Great Depression, before succumbing to influenza in 1935.

Mr Kellow's life and lasting influence on the Rockhampton Grammar School and broader Central Queensland community has been celebrated in a newly released, updated version of Lorna McDonald's The Moving Mind.

>>READ: This 100-year-old historian proves age is no barrier

The new edition was launched at the Grammar School yesterday, with Mr Kellow's grandchildren Dr John Kellow and Roslyn (Kellow) McGovern in attendance.

The siblings travelled from Sydney for the event and said they were humbled to see the school and their grandfather's influence for the first time in over three decades.

Although they never met their grandfather, Dr Kellow and Ms McGovern have always felt his story was part of them.

Their father Harry "never stopped" reflecting on his childhood in Rockhampton, relating dozens of tales about growing up at the school.

 

Grandchildren of Henry Arthur Kellow Roslyn (Kellow) McGovern and Dr John Kellow with Rockhampton historian Lorna McDonald.
Grandchildren of Henry Arthur Kellow Roslyn (Kellow) McGovern and Dr John Kellow with Rockhampton historian Lorna McDonald. Michelle Gately

He was just 12 when Mr Kellow died and had also been gravely ill with influenza.

The family moved to Sydney following Mr Kellow's death at just 53-years-old.

Dr Kellow and Ms McGovern said having his life and legacy immortalised in print was something they, and their family, would always treasure.

Seeing the First World War marble honour board which Mr Kellow had built in memory of past students was an emotional experience for Ms McGovern, who said she shed a tear or two as she looked at it yesterday.

The siblings said their grandfather was very close to the students and cared deeply about them and the future of the school, having worked hard to keep it running during the Great Depression.

During this time, they said he also supported the wider community, pushing to keep the Mount Morgan mine open and employing people in various gardening and handyman roles around the school.

They said he would also give meals to people who knocked on the door of the school begging for food.

Among one of the most interesting tales in The Moving Mind is about a random shooting, where Mr Kellow and wife Mary Hope were held up at gun point during a drive to Yeppoon in what came to be known as the "Kellow shooting".

Rockhampton Grammar School principal Henry Arthur Kellow with son Harry pictured centre.
Rockhampton Grammar School principal Henry Arthur Kellow with son Harry pictured centre. Rockhampton Grammar School

They were one of the first couples in the city to own a car and were on their way to Yeppoon in 1919 when two masked men appeared from the bush.

One of the men fired a shot, hitting Mr Kellow in the leg.

Despite never having driven a car before, Mrs Kellow got her husband through North Rockhampton and over the Fitzroy River swing bridge to the ambulance station.

A week after the shooting, as Mr Kellow recovered in Hillcrest Hospital, Eugene Berserker Onions and James Arthur Thompson were arrested.

Buy the book

  • The Moving Mind: A Life of Henry Arthur Kellow (1881-1935) by Lorna McDonald is available at the CQUniversity Bookshop, Rockhampton Art Gallery gift shop and the Rockhampton Heritage Village

Onions, 20, was charged with shooting Mr Kellow, found guilty by jury and sentenced to seven years jail.

During his trial in November 1919, the car was parked outside the Rockhampton Courthouse as evidence of the first shot which had been fired and shattered a wooden wheel spoke.

Mr Kellow remained in hospital for three months and Dr Kellow said his grandfather lived the rest of his life with remains of shrapnel in his leg.

Reflecting on his grandfather's life, Dr Kellow said it would be hard to find a better story.



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