The History of Ellesmere College


The first public meeting to consider the formation of a new school was held on April 1 1974 and over 400 residents unanimously supported the proposal. A Promotion Committee was appointed to make this a reality and it was decided after considerable negotiations to locate the school in Leeston.
A Timaru building firm was given the contract for ensuring the school was ready for occupancy by February 1981, and the building units were constructed in Timaru and transported to the site: only one building was lost on its way to Leeston when it fell over the side of the Rakaia Bridge.

The first Principal, Mr Brian Devonshire, was appointed in July 1980 and his first staff appointment was the Principal’s Secretary Mrs Helen Crowhen.

Ellesmere College had a roll of 380 students when it opened in February 1981 with just a few classrooms and a lot of dust flying around. 
The hall was opened on May 27,1986 and was dedicated to the memory of Riki Te Maraki Ellison Taiaroa a paramount chief of the Ngata Tahu and Ngati Mamoe people who died in July 1984.

Ellesmere College Principals1981Staff400png edited 2

1980 to 1993 Mr Brian Devonshire
1994 to 2009 Mr Ken Dawson
2010 to present Mr Gavin Kidd

Significant Milestones in the History of Ellesmere College

1980   Ellesmere College was built in Timaru and transported to the present site. 
          One classroom was lost during transportation in the Rakaia River.
1981   Ellesmere College opened in February with 380 students and 23 staff.
1983   The gymnasium was completed.
1984   The official opening of Ellesmere College was declared by Hon Merv Wellington.
1985   More classrooms were built.
1986   The gymnasium was enlarged and dedicated to Rikki Ellison.
1987   The library was extended.
1988   The playground was opened.
1994   Ken Dawson was declared the new principal.
1997   The library was split to form a new classroom, L2.
2000   The Health Education Centre opened.
2008   Gym extended and Wilson Room opened.
2009   The new stage and seating areas were completed.
2009   Ken Dawson announced his resignation.
2010   Gavin Kidd was welcomed into the role of Principal.
2014   Last founding staff member resigned.
2014   Library was refurbished 
2016   Rebuild of the College is due to commence