About Gilson College

Background Information

Gilson College is a Christian Co-Educational College providing for students both a primary and a secondary education. It is operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Education Department in conjunction with a locally elected Board of Management.

The College is part of a world-wide system of Christian Education which has a tradition of excellence for over 140 years. The Seventh-day Adventist system of schools, colleges and hospitals is presently found in most countries of the world.

Our College traces its beginnings to the mid 1970s when a primary school was established in the suburb of Pascoe Vale. At the end of 1987 the Pascoe Vale school was closed and this heralded the beginning of a new educational institituion on the current Taylors Road site. Originally known as the 'Keilor School' its name was officially changed in 1992 to Gilson College.

How the College got its Name

W J Gilson was born in South Melbourne in 1896. In 1912 he went to study at Avondale College in Cooranbong, New South Wales and at the end of 1915 he married Miss Nell Painter. After his marriage he continued his study at Avondale for what was to become an eminent place in Adventist education.

WJ Gilson graduated from Avondale College in 1918 and the following year was appointed to the Auburn School, Sydney. In 1920 WJ Gilson was appointed Education Secretary for New South Wales and in 1925 he transferred to Victoria in the same position with the added load of Youth leader.

In 1931 WJ Gilson was appointed Education Secretary for Australia and served in this capacity for the next four years. IN 1935 he secured a job with Taylors Coaching College in Melbourne and joined the staff of the Collingwood Technical College in 1938. WJ Gilson recommenced work in Adventist education in 1947 as the Principal of Hawthorn Adventist High School.

Covering the states of Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria, this area was known as the Trans-Commonwealth Union conference and in 1950 WJ Gilson was given the responsibility of administering education in this vast area. His career culminated in the opening of the Lilydale Adventist Academy in 1964 where he served as the inaugural Principal for two years.

WJ Gilson laid down his chalk at the end of 1965 and spent his retirement years actively involved with young people.

As one of the first Adventists to graduate from Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Arts, WJ Gilson went on to later receive his Master of Education. His Master's thesis focused on the work of Adventist Education in Australia and New Zealand.

Acclaimed as one of the most eminent of Australian Educators, WJ Gilson passed to his rest on May 30, 1974. On Monday, August 24 1992 the Executive Committee of the Victorian Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church voted, at; the request of the Board of Management to name this school "Gilson College". This was fitting tribute to a man who spent over fifty years working for young people in Australia - his was a life dedicated to bringing young people to Jesus Christ.