Gippsland Grammar news: April 30, 2021

Apr 30, 2021 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

This week began with a beautiful ceremony that saw many Old Scholars return to our Garnsey Campus for the opening of Ashton Court, which has been named in honor of the late Stephen Aston AM, who attended our School from 1964-1971. Stephen was a Prefect in his final Form 6 year and was also DUX. Following his schooling, Stephen was a founding director of the award-winning architectural firm Ashton Raggatt McDougall (later ARM Architecture) and in 1991 Stephen was a joint winner of the Old Scholar of the Year Award, which was an award that recognised Old Scholars who had made a personal contribution to the enrichment of our society through community service, dedication, perseverance or creative spirit.

The Ashton family has had a long association with the School starting with Stephen’s late father, Stuart being an original Board member and lead architect of some of the buildings at St Anne’s. Stephen’s mother Jean taught at Gippsland Grammar and was a founding member of the JJAGGANs – a special parents and friends’ group which did a considerable amount of fundraising for our School from the 1960s through to 2018. Stephen’s sister Meredith is a Gippsland Grammar Old Scholar also.

The refurbished Ashton Court in the Year 7 and 8 area of our senior campus is beautiful and will be a reminder to us all of a school student who worked hard and achieved highly. Stephen is an excellent role model as he continued his passion for design through to becoming an acclaimed professional in architectural design.

I’d like to share my sincere thanks to the design team at Rush Wright Associates, who knew and worked with Stephen. My thanks also to Mr Jason Bond from Bond Landscaping. It is important to Gippsland Grammar that we utilise local people for projects like these and I was grateful for the professionalism and workmanship Mr Bond provided. 

My sincere thanks also extends to the Ashton family most sincerely for the generous donation that enabled this Courtyard to be completely refurbished.

Finally – yet still on the subject of exciting developments at Garnsey – I would like to acknowledge the ongoing patience and understanding of our families with the building site for our new Visual Arts & Technology Centre. As with any new construction, we need to be patient as the outcome will most definitely be worth some of the small inconveniences along the way. I ask all families to drive safely around all our campuses as the safety of our children is paramount.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Leisa Harper

Bishop of Gippsland the Right Reverend Richard Treloar opened Ashton Court at our Garnsey Campus on Monday April 26 and (right) Gippsland Grammar Principal Leisa Harper with Stephen’s family, daughter Louisa Ashton, mother Jean Ashton, wife Rosemary Nixon, sister Meredith Watson and her husband Hugh Watson after unveiling the plaque of the courtyard on Monday.

Over the next month there are many opportunities for families to get involved with their child’s education at the Early Learning Centre. We are excited to have several special events and parent education opportunities happening to support our families and children. Please check the class VOS page regularly and watch for notices or invitations that may come home in your child’s bag.

MOTHER’S DAY CELEBRATIONS: the children are very busy preparing ‘secrets and surprises’ for Mum’s special day and are trying very hard to keep it all a BIG secret.
Transition Groups (Sale) in the ELC: Mother’s Day Breakfast, Friday May 7 from 8-8.45am.
Transition Group (Bairnsdale) in the Hall: Mother’s Day Breakfast, Friday May 7 from 8.15am.
Reception Groups (Sale) in the ELC: Mother’s Day Afternoon Celebration. Monday May 10/Tuesday May 11 from 2.15-3pm.
Reception Group (Bairnsdale) in the ELC: Mother’s Day Afternoon Celebration, Tuesday May 11 from 2.15-3pm.

‘Need to Read – Language and Literacy’ for Reception Groups (Sale and Bairnsdale) via Zoom: Wednesday May 12 from 7pm
Presented by a qualified Speech Pathologist and Literacy Expert. The ‘Need to Read’ program has been designed by our ELC early childhood team to give our children an essential boost in their language and literacy skills. It will answer common questions, such as:
– Have you ever worried about how to give your child the best start in reading and writing?
– What skills do children need to attain in the pre-school years to give them the best foundation for future learning?
– How do children learn to read?
– What is normal speech and language development for a three/four-year-old and how do you support it?
– How can purposeful reading with your child support all of these skills?
If you have ever asked yourself any of these questions, then this event is a ‘must do’.
– You should receive an invitation and the zoom link shortly. We look forward to seeing all of you on the night.

‘Get Ready for School!’ – School Readiness Evenings for Transition Groups (Sale and Bairnsdale): Thursday May 27 at each ELC from 6.30-7.30pm
Join us to learn more about how to support your child’s transition to school in 2022. Sharing the collaborative expertise of our ELC and Foundation teachers, parents will receive helpful and practical suggestions to help make this big transition a happy and successful one.

Sale ELC students make Anzac poppies with their St Anne’s Year 5 buddies. Pictured is Year 5 student Milla Lazzaro with Arabella Noble and Will Brewer with his Year 5 buddy Dillon Meredith.

BAIRNSDALE NEWS, by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
It was great to see the East Gippsland Community came out in force to support the Field Days last weekend. Spending time in the Gippsland Grammar marquee was an enjoyable experience as Old Scholars, current students and future families wandered through to say hello and to chat to us about what our School offers our students. We look forward to welcoming a number of those families to our Open Day tomorrow. I ask all families to encourage anyone in your network that may be interested in a Gippsland Grammar education to join us at our campus tomorrow from 9-11am.

Mr Todd Cook and I stood proudly at the dawn service on Sunday morning listening to our Campus Captains Parker and Avin deliver the key message. They spoke of the privilege to represent the students across East Gippsland at such a significant service and the understanding they gained in researching the Anzac story. 

State Swimming:
Tessa Newstead and Piper Jankowiak (pictured below) represented Gippsland Grammar at the State Swimming Championships. When asked how it was, they replied, ‘it was great fun’. Which I thought was perfect as sport should be fun and should always be enjoyed. Tessa and Piper were both happy with their swims and as a result of the experience achieved new personal best times. Well done girls!

Cross Country: On Monday, 24 students represented Gippsland Grammar at the Division Cross Country held at Nagle College. Congratulations to all students that competed on the day and put in a tremendous effort. Special mention must go to Kael Frith who came first in the 12/13-year-old boys. Liora Rozite, Chelsea Rawlings, Kael Frith and Henry Knight have made it through to the Regional Cross Country on Thursday June 3.

SEISA Athletics: On Thursday, six students from our campus represented Gippsland Grammar at the SEISA Athletics Carnival. It was a very early start, but all students performed extremely well, and Gippsland Grammar placed first overall. Congratulations to the following students:

Henry Knight               –           Relay 2nd place, 800m 4th place
Kael Frith                    –           1500 2nd place, 800m 2nd place
Heidi McInnes             –           Relay 3rd place
Taylor Dennett            –           Discus 5th place
Raf Rodriguez             –           Shot Put 1st place, High Jump 2nd place
Chelsea Rawlings       –           200m 3rd place, 800m 7th place

Mrs Joy Hay-Smith and our Banksia students shared their learning with us today at Fellowship. Making Anzac biscuits at school involved learning about ‘physical change’ when combining materials. A terrific way to introduce their integrated unit, ‘Chemical Science’. I acknowledge Simon Lynch and Georgie Witham for playing our processional and recessional so beautifully. Enjoy another lovely Autumn weekend together.

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
This morning our Year 6 Mackellar students celebrated diversity during their Fellowship. Students spoke about people’s culture and how that is demonstrated in their language, writing, religion, music, clothing and food, to name a few. The key message throughout was that everyone has the right to be different. We should and need to celebrate these differences. Having Dean Susanna Pain reflecting on our bible reading about acceptance enhanced the key message. Thank you to Mrs Julie Jago and our Mackellar students for today’s Fellowship.

We have a small but strong group of students who represent Gippsland Grammar at a range of equestrian events. During the recent Easter holidays, Harry Gault (below left) and Xanthe Wade (below right) competed at the Equestrian Victoria State Interschool Championships. This event was held at Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre. Xanthe competed very well and was awarded Champion Handy Mount for Years 5 & 6, Champion Novelties for Years 5 & 6 and Reserve Champion Show jumping overall (on a countback as she tied for equal 1st). After this, she was announced as the winner of the Equestrian Victoria Interschool Championships Nan MacArthur Award for Primary School Leve. This award is given to the highest performing primary school rider from across the State. Harry Gault also performed exceptionally well at the championship. He received placings in the Handy Mount and Novelties events for his age group. Congratulations to both riders for their recent achievements.

On Monday of this week, we had eight students from Gippsland Grammar represent the School at the Victorian School Sports Victoria State Swimming Championships. Obi Vardy, Adelaide Ripper, Max Williamson, Kody Said, Zayden Burton and Will Doube from St Anne’s. While Pipper Jankowiak and Tessa Newstead from our Bairnsdale campus joined the team. It was great hearing from our Physical Education and swimming teacher Simone Langshaw that all students displayed such kind, supportive and respectful behaviour towards each other and their competitors and were a pleasure to take. The boy’s relay finished 2nd in the Medley relay and 3rd in the freestyle relay. An interesting story is that Max Williamson’s cousin ended up swimming in the lane next to Max in the 50-metre breaststroke final. He comes from Carisbrook Primary School near Ballarat. An extra thank you must go to the large contingent of very enthusiastic and passionate parents and family members who came along to support.

Kody Said, Max Williamson, William Doube, Adelaide Ripper, Zayden Burton, Obi Vardy, Piper Jancowiak and Tessa Newstead and (right) Zayden Burton, William Doube, Obi Vardy and Kody Said.

This coming Monday, we have our House Cross Country at the Catholic College Ovals from 9am-1pm. The day is expected to run as follows:


Years 3 – 6 depart school for College Ovals


Parent Officials move onto course


Events commence:

11/12-Year-olds – 3km course

9/10-Year-olds – 2km course




Year 1 and 2 depart school for College Ovals


Events continue:

Year 2 – 1km course

Year 1 – 1km course




Foundation depart school for College Ovals


Events continue:

Foundation – 1km course with Year 6 buddies.

12.45pm – 1.00pm

Return to School after presentations. 

All students must wear their winter sports uniform with shorts for running, a hat, and bring a change of socks and shoes as the course may be muddy. A packed lunch and plenty to drink will also be required. Students are reminded that when they are competing, they must wear their House coloured polo shirt. Parents are most welcome to attend the Cross Country event.  Please ensure that you sign in with the QR code upon arrival. We ask that if you take your child home early, you inform their class teacher before doing so. The Quick Cuppa coffee van will be onsite during the event for parents and spectators to use.

On Friday, May 7, at 2pm, we would like to invite all our St Anne’s mothers and grandmothers to a delicious afternoon tea for Mother’s Day in the Lorna Sparrow Hall. Please join us from 2.30 pm and be entertained by our Year 4 Freeman students for their Fellowship. Our Year 4 and Foundation students will be in the audience.
If you would like to attend, could you please complete the RSVP (click here) as soon as possible. Please scan the COVID QR code as you enter the hall.

On Wednesday 9 June and Thursday 10 June, we will have our school photos at St Anne’s. On Wednesday, our ensembles, choirs and other groups will have their photos. On the Thursday, we will have our individual, class and family photos. Students are asked to wear full winter uniform on both days. We will keep families updated on our School photos via VOS.  Have a great weekend.

GARNSEY NEWS by Acting Head of Campus Kate Ray
Yesterday afternoon as I was preparing to leave work, I looked out my office window and spotted our School Shooting team returning from their Inter-school competition in Lilydale. There was a team of students and three staff who were all waiting on McGhee Street to be collected by their parents. While they were waiting there, our School minibus pulled up and our team of SEISA surfers and two staff hopped off the bus after returning from Phillip Island where they had been competing against other SEISA schools.

Both teams came second in their competitions however the thing that was most noticeable were the smiles on their faces of not only the students but the staff. Despite getting home later than expected, it was clear that the staff were thrilled to have been able to spend time with our students and see them participating in a sport they love that many other students at other schools don’t have the opportunity to be involved in.

A team of 20 students competed in the Yarra Valley Clay Target championships at the Melbourne Gun Club on Thursday and (right) our team of SEISA surfers also competed in an event at Phillip Island.

Further down this newsletter, our Director of Performing Arts Dr Kevin Cameron has shared an update from our Music Department, which I encourage you to read. This week in particular our music students will enjoy a wealth of opportunities, including instrumental lessons, choirs, and Music camps.

That is what being a student at Gippsland Grammar is all about: opportunities to do the thing you love with your peers in a supportive environment.

I also shared this sentiment with the Year 6 students I met yesterday morning as part of our Year 7 Welcome Interviews for 2022. Over the coming weeks I will begin to learn a little about these future Garnsey students and the things they love; what they are looking forward to and what they may be a little concerned about when they commence at our senior campus. Once we have conducted these Welcome Interviews with our current Year 6 students who are continuing onto Garnsey, we will then move on to all the external students who are going to be joining our Year 7 cohort in 2022. We have strong numbers for Year 7 next year however there are still some places available so if you know of anyone in our Community who is considering Year 7 at Gippsland Grammar in 2022, please have them contact us at our Garnsey Campus to arrange a tour.

On Thursday night 27 debaters made the trip to Melbourne to compete in the second round of debates for the year. The team won three of the nine debates, including our A grade team, and one team from both B and C grades. 2021 has already seen more in-person debates than 2020, so most of our debating team are competing in Berwick for the first time this year. In this round, over half of our debaters were debating for the first or second time; every one of our Year 8 debaters were called upon for this round to fill not only their own teams, but all the Year 9 teams as well; and although their teams were defeated, 3 D Grade debaters were awarded best speaker (Logan Mills, Krista Walpole, and Kate Allen).  Leah Brutovic and Melina Turnbull both spoke in higher divisions, upholding a long tradition of having younger debaters.

MUSIC NEWS by Director of Performing Arts Dr Kevin Cameron
The Music Crew at Garnsey Campus have enjoyed a very busy start to Term 2, with special rehearsals, performances, and opportunities for outreach and collaboration.

Gippsland Grammar brass musicians provided appropriate music for the School’s ANZAC Day assembly and service last Monday morning. The Brass Ensemble performed marches and Music Captain Emily Jackson played the Last Post and the Reveille with impressive poise and accuracy.

A selected team of Gippsland Grammar musicians travelled to Warragul to join with musicians from other SEISA schools for the annual SEISA Music Festival. It was wonderful to see a large orchestra and choir rehearsing and sharing music that was assembled throughout the day in a COVID-safe way. The special guest artist was the famous choral conductor and composer Paul Jarman who inspired everyone with his enthusiasm and skill across interesting and varied repertoire. Ashton Hicks represented our school as a featured soloist and sang beautifully and at a very high standard of performance.

WY YUNG QUARTET: Gippsland Grammar students Enola Jefferis and Tess Venables were selected to be part of the iTet Quartet program as members of the Bairnsdale based Wy Yung Quartet. The quartet is mentored by John Noble, a senior member of Orchestra Victoria, other professional string players and most significantly, by the prestigious Flinders Quartet. On 8 May the Flinders Quartet will be visiting Bairnsdale to work with the Wy Yung Quartet and two other Gippsland ensembles involved in the iTet program, culminating in a concert at St Mary’s Catholic Church at 3.30pm.  Even more exciting is the invitation extended by iTet and the Melbourne Recital Centre for the Wy Yung Quartet to be guests of the Recital Centre for 3 days, where they will have individual lessons, quartet rehearsals and attend concerts. This is an enormous honour and testament to the hard work the Wy Yung Quartet have put in over the past year.

GIPPSLAND GRAMMAR MUSIC CAMPS: Students involved in our co-curricular ensembles have been looking forward to the annual music camps that will take place at Waratah Bay over the coming days. The first camp (Friday-Sunday) will involve the concert bands and choirs and the second camp (Sunday-Tuesday) is for the Chamber Orchestra and Jazz bands. The camps provide an opportunity for sustained and focused rehearsal of repertoire that will be presented later in the year, but also provides the opportunity for positive connection and collaboration.

JAZZ AT THE CLOCKTOWER: The combined Jazz bands visited the Sale CBD last Wednesday afternoon to perform a cool set of jazz standards at the Clocktower. There were many people sitting to listen and passing by, enjoying the music.  This community outreach performance follows the bands contribution of music to the Ashton Court opening last Monday.

Gippsland Grammar provides Music Scholarships for students who can demonstrate established excellence, or significant potential, in Music.  Please see the Gippsland Grammar website for further information.  The closing date for 2022 applications is Friday 14 May.  Auditions will be conducted on Thursday 27 May.

The combined Jazz bands entertained shoppers at the Clocktower on Wednesday afternoon; and (right) the Jazz band also performed at Monday’s opening of Ashton Court.

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