The Central School was established in 1862 at Gough Street, Central. Dr. Frederick Stewart was appointed the first Headmaster of the Central School, as well as Inspector of Schools in the Colony.
The Headmaster of the Central School was responsible for supervising all schools in Hong Kong until March 1879 when the Government established a separate office for the Inspector of Schools, predecessor of the , which was later incorporated into the Education Bureau.
During the school's early years, the student population consisted of a variety of nationalities. Whereas Chinese students enrolled in English, students from other nationalities were expected to study Chinese classics.
Secular schooling sparked much controversies among the and religious leaders. In many occasions, the Governor personally scrutinized and intervened the school operations. The Government later established a grant program to put religious schools at the same funding level as the Central School.
On April 26, 1884, , Governor from 1883 to 1887, administered the stone-laying ceremony for the new school building at Aberdeen Street. As a student, Sun Yat-sen also attended the ceremony. On the recommendation of the Governor, the Central School was to be known as Victoria College when it moved to the new site.
The school moved to Aberdeen Street in 1889. At that time, the school was one of the largest and most expensive buildings in Hong Kong. In 1894, the school was renamed Queen's College. The Government originally planned to expand the College to an imperial university in the late 19th century, but it was abandoned due to the outbreak and Russo-Japanese War in 1904, when the British colonial government worried about the benefits it enjoyed in the Far-East may be jeopardised by the expanding Japanese power. Therefore, it was crucial to establish a university with the purpose to train graduates in war-related subjects, such as engineering and medicine, and this led to the establishment of the University of Hong Kong in 1910, while Queen's College remained as a secondary school in Hong Kong.
The Japanese invasion forced school closure in 1941. During the , the school site was used as the Army Headquarters. The two notable cannons at the current school entrance were found in the rubble at Aberdeen Street.
After World War II, the school re-opened in a temporary site on in 1947, sharing a campus with Clementi Secondary School. It moved to the present site on Causeway Road, opposite , on September 22, 1950.
A tourist tour on the history of Sun Yat-sen usually includes the location of the first site of the school at Gough Street, .
Note: The melody of the school song of Queen's College is very similar to that of Heep Yunn School. This rendition of the school song is arranged by Dr. Lau Kai-chi, Anthony These two schools most probably adapted the melody from the school song of England's Harrow School, namely "Forty Years On", composed by John Farmer, lyrics by E. E. Bowen.
The Motto of the school is "''Labor omnia vincit''". The school motto was later translated as "勤有功" in Chinese, which literally means "hard work brings merit". Many of the QC students and old boys live on these spirits and have contributed to the Hong Kong and the Chinese society. Dr. Sun Yat-sen and Mr. are two of the examples.
The school also put strong emphasis on its five core values: Diligence, Integrity, Brotherhood, Responsibility and Striving for excellence.
Enrollment and medium of instruction
There are 33 classes with approximately 1200 students on roll. Secondary One students are allocated by the Secondary School Place Allocation System. The Medium of Instruction is English .
Activities and achievements
All students are divided into eight School Houses, namely: Stewart, Wright, Dealy, Tanner, Crook, de Rome, Kay, and Williamson . The School Houses compete in Athletic Meets, Swimming Gala and other interhouse competitions. School teams regularly participate and excel in inter-school competitions.
There are also 54 clubs grouped under Sports, Recreational, Religious, Social Services, and Academic areas. Many clubs organize joint events with sister schools. School clubs also co-ordinate many charitable activities.
Queen's College students are known for excelling in . Historically, more students at the school have received 10 A grades on the HKCEE than at any other secondary school in Hong Kong. Out of over 572 secondary schools in Hong Kong, fewer than 30 have ever produced these so-called "10A" students. In particular, between 1990 and 2006, 50 Queen's College students have received 10 A's on the HKCEE. This number represents over 26% of the 10A scores received during this period.
In 2003, Queen's College students altogether received 455 A grades on the HKCEE, second only to La Salle College, which scored a record-high of 501 A grades. However, Queen's College received a record-high number of A grades per student.
The stellar academic performance of Queen's College students has been reflected in its representation at many of the world's best universities. Many excellent Form 6 students continue their education at prestigious overseas institutions in the United States, the People's Republic of China and the United Kingdom, while most Form 7 graduates enroll in prestigious local univerisites such as the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
First published in June 1899, the Queen's College school magazine, ''The Yellow Dragon'' , is now the world's oldest existing Anglo-Chinese school magazine. ''The Yellow Dragon'' is a priceless historical witness of the educational development of Hong Kong, as well as the social changes in Asia Pacific. The 100th volume of ''The Yellow Dragon'' has been published in 2005. In the Chinese section of the centenary volume, a brief conclusion of the past 100 volumes was written by seven students in 2005 to commemorate the special centenary occasion.
Another regular publication of the school is the school newspaper, "The Courier", which has been published since 1968. At the moment, 3 issues are produced per year with coverage on school's major functions and students' contributions.
Gwenneth Stokes, the first woman to become Associate to the Chief Justice of South Australia, and her husband John, the Principal of Queen's College from 1965 to 1970, spent two years researching at Queen's College, as well as in archives and libraries in Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom to compile the 494-page school history. The limited-edition book entitled ''Queen's College Its History 1862-1987'' was published by Queen's College Old Boys' Association in commemoration of the school's 125th anniversary in 1987.
List of notable alumni
Politicians, government officials, and legislators
* Sun Yat-sen , the chief leader of the 1911 Xinhai Revolution, the founding Provisional President of the Republic of China. He has been recognized as the "Father of the Nation" by the Chinese in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and overseas; while being called the "Forerunner of the Revolution" by the People's Republic of China Government.
* Liao Zhongkai , major Chinese revolutionary leader, the executive member of the Kuomintang Central Committee, foreign minister, military minister, financial minister, and labour minister of the Republic of China. He was assassinated by the rightists in Guangzhou, 20 August 1925.
* Tang Shaoyi , diplomat, politician. He was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of China, the first president of Shandong University, and an early overseas student who studied at Yale University. He was assassinated by Kuomintang in 1938.
* Wang Chunghui , Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Justice, First Cabinet of the Republic of China, 1912.
* Chan Kam-tao , Minister of Finance, First Cabinet of the Republic of China, of Dr. Sun's Southern Government in Guangzhou during the 1920s.
* Wen Tsung-yao , Administrative Director, Dr. Sun's Southern Government in Guangzhou during the 1920s.
* Luk King-fo , Head of the Bureau of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Sun's Southern Government in Guangzhou during the 1920s.
* Leung Lan-fan, China's first Consul General to Australia during the 1900s, and Superintendent of Customs in Guangzhou during the 1920s.
* Henry Fok Ying Tung , a businessman who has been active in political field. He was the Vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. He was recognized as one of the national leaders of the People's Republic of China.
* Rafael Hui , Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR Government .
* Wong Yan Lung , Secretary for Justice of the HKSAR Government
* York Chow , Secretary for Health, Welfare, and Food, the HKSAR Government .
* Chan Tak Lam Norman , Ex-vice-president of Hong Kong Monetary Authority ; Vice-chairman of Standard Chartered Asia Pacific ; Founding member of the think-tank Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre .
* Kwok Kwok-chuen , Government Economist, former Chief Regional Economist, East Asia, of the Standard Chartered Bank.
* Tong Ka-wah, Ronny , from the Article 45 Concern Group as of 2004, former Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association.
* Szeto Wah , former , Chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China.
* Leong Che-hung , .
* , First Chinese Secretary for Security before Handover; First Secretary for Security of HKSAR.
* Lam Woon-kwong , Director of the Chief Executive's Office of HKSAR .
* Sir Robert Ho Tung , successful businessman and philanthropist.
* Sir Ho Kai , the founder of the Hong Kong College of Medicine, predecessor of the University of Hong Kong.
* Lee Hysan , the founder of Hysan Development Company Limited, prominent businessman who transformed Jardine's Hill into Lee Gardens.
* Kan Tung-po , prominent banker who established the Bank of East Asia.
* Jehangir Hormusjee Ruttonjee , founded first brewery in Hong Kong, the founder of the Ruttonjee Hospital.
* Tse Chuen-tai , the founder of the South China Morning Post.
* Ho Fook , successful businessman and philanthropist.
* Lau Chu-pak , the founder of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce.
* Stanley Ho , nicknamed "King of Gambling", the wealthiest person in Macau. He is the Chairman of Shun Tak Holdings Limited.
* Wang Wenshan , sociologist, anarchist, student leader at the Peking University during the May-fourth Movement 1919. He contacted the Chinese communists and once met Vladimir Lenin in Moscow.
* Wang Chungyi , Professor of Pathology at University of Hong Kong. He was admired for his devotion to the development of pathological reseacrh in Hong Kong. He died of tuberculosis, a disease that he had spent enormous effort to fight against.
* Wong Kai-chi , writer, translator, literary critic of Chinese literature, former Head of Department, Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
* Cheung Ng-sheung , well-known economist in Hong Kong, formerly Professor of Economics at the University of Hong Kong.
* Cheung Yau-kai , Honorary Professor of Engineering and Special Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong; formerly Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
* Edward K.Y. Chen , Vice-Chancellor of Lingnan University, Hong Kong.
* Kwan Tze-wan , Professor, former Head of Department, Department of Philosophy, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
* Fok Tai-fai , Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
* Wong Kwok-pun, Lawrence , Professor at the Department of Translation of . His famous Chinese poem 'On Listening to Chan's Zither Performance' , written in the 1980s, has been one of the prescribed texts of the Chinese Language syllabus of the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination from 1993 to 2006.
* Sung Jao-yiu, Joseph , one of the most significant figures in Hong Kong's fighting with the SARS in 2003. He is the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
* Yuen Kwok-yung , another significant figure in the SARS crisis in Hong Kong. He is Henry Fok Professor in Infectious Diseases, and is currently working at the University of Hong Kong as the Chair and Head of the Department of Microbiology at the Faculty of Medicine.
* Chiang Mung , Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Princeton University.
* Shen Xuhui, Simon , international politics critic, Table-host of , Research Assistant Professor, Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
* Thoma Professor of Operations, Information, and Technology Stanford Graduate School of Business. Codirector of the Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum
* Pro-Vice-Chancellor / Vice-President, Professor of Orthopaedics and Traumatology Chinese University of Hong Kong.
* Professor of Neurology & Neurological Sciences Stanford University, Department of Neurology.
List of principals
* Dr. Frederick Stewart
* Dr. G.H. Bateson Wright
* Mr. T.K. Dealy, FRGS, FEIS, FCS, DRF
* Mr. Bartram Tanner,
* Mr. A.H. Crook,
* Mr. F.J. de Rome,
* Mr. M.G. O'Connor
* Mr. L.G. Morgan
* Mr. J.J. Ferguson
* Mr. H.N. Williamson,
* Mr. Cheung King-pak
* Mr. Wong Yee-wa
* Mr. F.C. Gamble
* Mr. John Stokes
* Mr. Raymond Huang
* Mr. William Cheung Yuk-ming
* Mr. Timothy Yung
* Mr. Chew Tung-sing
* Mr. Kong Shiu-chung
* Mr. Lee Kar-hung
* Mrs. Cheung Lam Lai-king Kitty
* Mr. Li Lok-yin