Arthur Stephenson’s term as headmaster of Wesley College was apparently not a happy one.
With Wesley’s enrolments continuing to fall and its debts accumulating, Stephenson was given three months’ notice and returned to New College in 1897 – effectively forcing Ulbrich’s departure.
His brother Stuart Stephenson decided – in the short term at least – to head in a different direction and went potato digging in Tasmania before travelling to New Zealand where he resumed his teaching career.
Perhaps because of the Wesley appointment, Arthur Stephenson had lost some of his early enthusiasm for teaching and school management.
Increasingly, he turned to community affairs, Sunday School teaching and local government lobbying. Deciding on a career change, he set his sights on becoming a Congregational minister.
In July 1899, the Box Hill Reporter announced that Donald Murray Coghill had been appointed the new role of co-principal of New College.
A few months later, Coghill took the title of headmaster and Stephenson, with his ministry training completed, took the title of reverend.