With Stuart Stephenson’s relocation to Brisbane, Arthur Stephenson – who still owned the school – was called on again to rescue it from closure.

Rumours were circulating that, generally, the days of small, independent schools were numbered. However Stephenson, who was unable to find a suitable applicant, seemed to be buoyed by the prospect of a new challenge.

He had been an ordained minister of a Congregational church in East St Kilda for over a decade but managed to combine the two occupations by travelling several times a week between Box Hill and his parish.

Stephenson’s decision to return to New College was one of both faith and courage. He held a unique commitment to the students of the school and the community of Box Hill. He balanced the responsibilities of both church and school for another eight years.

However by 1918 Stephenson, who was then in his mid-50s and affected by health problems, found it increasingly difficult to fulfil both roles.

For the final time, he left New College Box Hill, sold the property and moved back to the parish manse in East St Kilda. His remarkable service at the school was done.

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