Garnsey Campus newsletter: July 31, 2020

Jul 31, 2020 | Garnsey News

It has been a wonderful week at Garnsey Campus this week as we have enjoyed much-needed rain and beautiful sunny winter days. A return to a few activities also gave students much needed excitement as they had the opportunity to participate in activities that they love such as rowing, music, house sports and activities. Our return to Thursday afternoon sport for senior students was most successful and we will continue this in coming weeks even with the extra – but necessary – challenge of face masks.

On Wednesday, I spent some time at The Abbey at Raymond Island and enjoyed the tranquillity of this site and the enthusiasm and passion of the friends of The Abbey for this place. It seems more important than ever to spend time in reflection at the moment and to look for gratitude in everyday life. I am truly grateful for the beauty of our environment and the chance to have been surrounded by this at the Abbey this week.

I am also grateful for the life of Billy Adams (Class of 2017) who taught us all the true meaning of resilience and courage. Billy began at Gippsland Grammar in 2007 as a student in Year 3 at our Bairnsdale Campus and continued through our School as a dedicated and determined student who loved representing Gippsland Grammar in swimming and he was also a much-loved member of the Blackwood House Community.
Billy was first diagnosed with brain cancer in January 2016, just as he was due to begin Year 12. Experts expected he may only have 12 months to live however Billy defied these odds and in 2017, while still undergoing chemotherapy treatment, he insisted on returning to School to complete Year 12 and graduate from Gippsland Grammar with his peers. After going into remission, Billy accepted a university place in Arts and by the second semester was offered a place to study Law.
During the 2018 mid-term university break Billy enjoyed a trip to Italy but returned from overseas with headaches which unfortunately meant his cancer was on the move again. Dr Charlie Teo removed a large section of cancer from Billy’s brain but could not remove it 100 per cent. In January last year Billy went to China for immunotherapy and photo-sono dynamic treatment. Brave Billy gave his best effort in every treatment option made available to him but, tragically, he could not beat this hideous disease and he died in June last year, aged 20.
Today in Billy’s memory students at our Garnsey Campus hosted a beanie day in Billy’s memory and raised awareness and much-needed funds for Carrie Bickmore’s Beanies for Brain Cancer charity.
Local news outlets Channel 9 and WIN News both visited our Garnsey Campus today to film our students in their Beanies for Billy so please keep an eye out on Channel 9 and WIN News tonight for the news segments. If you would like to donate money to Beanies for Brain Cancer in Billy’s memory, it can be done so here:

Finally, Billy’s parents Tanya and Peter have shared this statement that I would like to share with you now:
“We are so very grateful to Gippsland Grammar and the entire school community for hosting this very special day in honour of Billy.
Our boys loved every minute they spent at the school and to know they will always be treasured and remembered, fills our hearts with joy.
Let’s hope simple days like these help others recognise the symptoms of this hideous disease and stops the suffering.”

VALE Billy, we will never forget you.

This week we have made the difficult decision to officially cancel this Twilight Fair, which as you know had already been postponed from the original date of March 21 to October 9, 2020.
In some ways this was a difficult decision but it was also the only responsible decision. After initially postponing the Fair in what were the very early days of the Australian outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has since become clear that large-scale community events such as our Fair will not be viable for a very long time. And in a time when there is so much uncertainty, we remain certain that the safety of our students, staff and School community must always come first in our decision making and, right now, we don’t feel like we can ensure everyone’s safety at an event that is now less than three months away. We are hopeful this event will be rescheduled at some time in the future, however this isn’t a decision we can make at this time and, in the interests of giving our Community certainty, we feel that cancellation is the most responsible option for us all.
For now, we’d like to once again thank all of our major event sponsors – Anytime Fitness, Accounting Solutions, Sale SignTorque, Venables Precast and Sale Dental Group – and all those in our School Community who had spent many hours preparing for the event. Of course, there are many to whom this applies but today we’d like to make specific mention of the ELC families who had planted fruit and vegetables for the Green Produce stall, the Bairnsdale community which had spent an entire day making cordial to serve at our refreshment stall, the St Anne’s families for donating goodies for the Lucky Cups and the Garnsey music students who had been preparing for their performances on the day.
Thank you once again for firstly your support and now for your understanding in what has been a rollercoaster of a time for us all.

As if they knew what was coming, our Blackwood House Community launched a sewing-frenzy last weekend as Miffy Llewellyn and some of the weekend boarders started making masks for boarders and the Blackwood House kitchen and supervising staff. They initially made 110 masks and following this week’s announcement that we will all be wearing masks from Monday, Miffy and her tribe of sewers have amped up production and – assuming they can get a restock of elastic! – will continue to make masks for others who may need them (see below). I am most grateful to Mrs Llewellyn for all her efforts, which have ensured our Boarding House Community is well and truly prepared for the coming week. Miffy will also manage the washing of the masks for the boarding students.

But Miffy is not the only one sitting behind a sewing machine and we have been made aware of the following members of our School Community who are making fabric reusable face masks:
– Boarding House supervisor Miffy Llewellyn is making two-layer masks for $10/each. To order, text 0405205849 or email
– Year 10 student Elouise Godfrey’s mum Annnika is making adult-size wire-free masks for $10/each. To order, text message 0417565504 or email
– Year 11 student Hannah Fairweather is making masks for $8/each or three for $20. Order via Instagram at @handmadebyhannah_hbyh
If others in our Community are also making masks for sale, please email Marketing Manager Zoe Curtis at for inclusion in next week’s newsletter.


Showing leadership during a year dominated by COVID-19 restrictions has been tough for our Year 12 prefects, but rather than stop them in their tracks it’s just forced them to find a different path. This week, this ‘different path’, saw the prefects set up our first ever student-to-student subject expo with the Year 12 students talking to our Year 10 students about their VCE and VCAL subject selections and about what’s involved from a student’s perspective. There was a lot of positive feedback and gratitude for this event.

Gippsland Grammar’s GAP Rowing coach Eleanor Brinkhoff has written the following article about her experience at Gippsland Grammar, which is a lovely reflection on her time with us.

In the article Eleanor says: “It was fantastic to be immersed in the sport I love whilst learning and developing more than I ever could have imagined as a coach and a person. I have met so many incredible people from Australia and developed life-long friendships in the process. To live in a foreign country and discover new places has been an amazing experience, despite the deadly snakes, and something I would recommend to everyone.”
Read the full article here:

On Friday our St Anne’s students are being invited to participate in Jeans for Genes day to support local three-year-old Jerry, whose siblings are former ELC students. If you would also like to contribute to this cause donations can be made to:

Kind regards,

Jan Henry
Head of Garnsey Campus

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