Gippsland Grammar news: May 13, 2022

May 13, 2022 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

As I sat at the Garnsey assembly this week, I was so proud of our leaders and all our students. At the start of the year our School Captains created a motto: Culture, Connect and Courage, and at this assembly I saw this motto put into practice. It is one thing to create a motto but our Year 12 students are to be congratulated on embracing this in all that they are doing.

Today, I am proud to share their reports with you, which were read at assembly:

Lara Hall and Rose Mackie shared:

Over the past week, multiple events have taken place across our Garnsey Campus. Last Thursday, Years 10, 11 and 12 were lucky enough to receive a visit from Ben Crowe, the founder of ‘Mojo Crowe’. As a professional leader and mentor, Ben gave us all some tips on how to improve our mindset and reach our A-game.  

One thing I took away from the session was the suggestion to begin each day with a courage mantra and remember to focus on your goals and not others’ expectations of you. These inclusions in daily life aim to help individuals reach unconditional acceptance of themselves and therefore find confidence in themselves. I’m sure all who attended the presentation are grateful for the opportunity and I encourage you to practice at least one of Ben’s suggestions. 

Last Wednesday afternoon, a group of students walked to a local land reserve and planted trees to help with creating a sustainable future. As well as helping the local community, this excursion correlates with our motto for this year of ‘Culture, Connect and Care’. By caring for our local environment, the group were able to connect with multiple environmental leaders, such as Wellington Shire member, Sharon Ray. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

However, as the group was made up mostly of senior students, the Prefect team would love to see some more participation from the junior year levels. As a Year 12 group, we wish we had become involved in more activities earlier in our high school experience such as house cultural events or the junior SEISA competition and we would love all students to participate. It does take courage to join these events, but it provides you with the chance to connect with others and get a taste for co-curricular events at Gippsland Grammar. 

Last term, the prefect group organised the house Tug of War competition. This event was greatly enjoyed by all and the participation from all year levels was amazing to see. We are excited to bring similar events into the school in the near future. We couldn’t have put the event together without the help from the House Leaders Mr Ray and Mr Henderson and a special thanks goes to the SRC house captains: Emily, Maham, Amy and Holly for running the highly-demanded sausage sizzle on the day.  

The competition was fierce and the results were: 

  • In fourth place: Wellington Binks on 5 points 
  • Third place: Blundell Bogong on 6 points 
  • Second place: Cranswick Dargo on 9 points  
  • And in first place was Tisdall Hotham on 12 points 

Congratulations Tisdall for your efforts.

Last Saturday Gippsland Grammar’s Bairnsdale campus held an Open Day where I along with other students from both Garnsey campus and the Bairnsdale campus were involved in giving tours of the school to prospective students and families. This was a great opportunity to share the proud culture of our School and to connect with future members of our School Community. Keep an eye out for these opportunities.

Along with our theme, we are excited to announce that we will be having a Casual Clothes day on Friday May 13. We see this activity as a chance to provide CARE for those in need.  

As you may know, Gippsland Grammar has had a proud connection to Gahini Secondary school in East Rwanda, for more than 15 years. In the past we raised money to assist them in building a science building, however, due to Covid the school was ultimately forced to closed. Since then, they have had great difficulty encouraging the return of students, largely due to the Boarding House needing some refurbishments. To help with this issue we, along with St Paul’s will be raising money to assist with this project. 

When Mrs Harper spoke with the Principal of Gahini he spoke of the challenges that his students face and expressed his thanks to the Gippsland Grammar Community saying, “you have never pitied us, and you help us make a greater future for us and our country”, “we value your friendship and knowledge very, very much”. 

So, we hope, with your help, that our School can make a positive contribution to these students’ lives and education to continue connecting, understanding, and appreciating different cultures.  

We ask that on Friday, all students wear casual clothes and bring a gold coin or few coins donation to be given to mentor teachers and brought to the office.  

Tess Johnson, Sustainability Captain shared more detail about the Tree Planting and Paper Recycling project:
Last Wednesday afternoon many students from the Sustainability Group walked to Linear Park near Flooding Creek to plant trees. The afternoon was a complete success as we planted the trees very quickly as many hands made light work. It was so exciting to do something practical and be out in the local community. Shire member Sharon Ray (who is the Sustainability Education officer) and her team helped us out and had the area ready to go. We’d like to thank Mr Ries for all his effort to make this happen as well as Mrs McNaughton and Mrs Harper for not only supervising us but also getting involved. Finally, we thank the students who gave up their class time to help our local environment. Mia and I were extremely happy with the turn out and the enthusiasm shown from everyone. With such a positive response from the group, we’ll be sure to organise another tree planting day for later in the year. As a side note, it is never too late to join the Sustainability Group.

The students then watched a video made by Amelia Norman that was a great message to our Garnsey students to pick up their rubbish and use the paper recycling bins. It was light-hearted but very clear in its message that everyone has a role to play.

We then heard form Sam Brown who told us of the great results of the SEISA Surfing Competition. This was followed by Pippa Treasure and Nathaniel Shelton who outlined the very successful Shooting competition.

And the Assembly was treated to a wonderful performance from School Captain Rory McLeod who performed the song ‘You are the Reason’ accompanied by Ms Richards. Rory had performed this song the previous week at the SEISA Music Festival.  Not only was it a wonderful performance but a perfect example of Rory’s leadership and courage as it is never easy to present in front of your peers, let alone sing. A wonderful role model for all our students.


The motto of ‘Culture, Connect and Courage’ is certainly alive and being played out each day.

World Championships in Italy

Today I am excited to share with you that two Gippsland Grammar rowers have been selected by Rowing Australia in the team that will represent Australia at the World Championships in Italy in July.

Year 12 students Lindsay Hamilton and Billy Osborne have been selected in the under-19 Men’s Quad Scull alongside two students from St Joseph’s Nudgee College in Queensland. They join more than 40 rowers from across Australia in the team that will compete in the World Championships in Varese, Italy from July 25-31. This will be the first time since 2019 that Australia has been represented at an underage level internationally. 

And in an extra coup for our School, Head of Rowing Nick Bartlett has also been selected as the coach for the under-19 Men’s Quad Scull team while Old Scholar from the Class of 2019 Paige Barr was also selected in the under-23 Women’s Coxless Four.

The entire Gippsland Grammar Community wishes them all the best for this exciting endeavour.

Henley Royal Regatta in the UK
In a day of big Rowing news, I am also thrilled to share that our Open Men’s Quad crew of Cameron Rule, Billy Osborne, Lindsay Hamilton and Anthony Smith will also be heading overseas in late June to represent our School in the Henley Royal Regatta in the UK. We will be the only Australian representative at this prestigious event.

Our School Community already knows our boys are the best in the world but I am asking our Community to support them in taking out this international title so being ‘best in the world’ can be official.  

The team of six – including the Rowers, our Head of Rowing Nick Bartlet and Assistant Rowing Coach Harry Roach – will leave Australia in mid-June with the event running from June 28 – July 3. From Henley, Lindsay, Billy and Mr Bartlett will head to Italy for a three-week training camp before the World Championships, as outlined above.

Naturally, there are costs associated for the boys to attend the Henley Royal Regatta as well as accommodation for the nearly three weeks they will be in the UK. With that in mind, if anyone in our School Community would like to donate to the team’s trip, both the team and I would be most grateful for your support.

Donations can be made via this fundraising site, which has been organised through the McColl Club:

More information about the Henley Royal Regatta can be found here:

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper

Early Learning Centre news by ELC Director Lisa Burgess
When I write this newsletter every week, it is usually a time for me to report to you about the activities and learning that the children have been experiencing at the Early Learning Centres. While the children are always front and foremost in our minds, I would like to share with you another part of the learning that happens within a School of excellence such as Gippsland Grammar, which is the participation in professional education by teachers and educators. In our ELCs we are incredibly fortunate to have a passionate staff team who view their role as not being ‘deliverers’ of information but as facilitators and co-partners in learning alongside the children. Just as the children develop, explore, and learn more about their world, we encourage our educators to grow alongside them, asking self-reflective questions about how they can grow their own professional expertise to best meet your children’s needs. As part of our professional practice, the question that we ask ourselves every day is – ‘where to next?’

This year, our Transition team has successfully obtained a grant to enhance their understanding of how to more purposefully embed STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) into our educational programs. The very nature of the open-ended, experiential, play-based best practice programs we offer ensures that children have many rich opportunities to explore, experiment and manipulate materials. We hope that this enhanced professional learning will enrich and extend this further. Over the next few months, the Transition teachers from both campuses will attend training days run at Science Works and the Melbourne Museum. Last week, the St Anne’s campus teachers attended their first session at Science Works. A tour of the ‘Ground Up’ display and a visit to the Planetarium was included. If you haven’t ever visited this fantastic place, it is a must-do when you are next in Melbourne. It would make a perfect Winter school holiday experience.

One important focus in the presentation last week was the concerning drop in girls engaging with STEM based subjects and careers. Shockingly studies have shown that even by age four some girls are already showing signs of being disengaged with maths, science and engineering-based activities. As a team will now be thinking deeply about how the language we use, the books we read and the attitudes we display support non gender bias.

Why is it important that we engage girls from an early age in STEM?

In Year 12, in Australia only 10 per cent of students in engineering are female, less than 20 per cent in computing, 25 per cent in physics. You can see there is this real, long-lasting difference between what girls and boys choose to take at Year 12 when they’re deciding what their future career path might look like.

With a future that is rapidly changing and is being shaped more and more by the technologies we use; it is all the more important that women should be involved in those STEM fields.  STEM industries are all about developing technologies, systems and social structures that will impact everyone and hopefully solve problems which will benefit us all in the future, and of course we need women to be an equal part of that. 

And we’re not just thinking of what our country and the future needs, either. We are thinking about our young girls themselves. We don’t want them left behind. I know it seems a long way off, but we do want girls to identify as problem solvers and innovators from a young age, so that this mindset could possibly be a steppingstone to one day perhaps getting a job in the fastest growing and highest paying job areas there will be, most of which will require STEM skills. This will be so important for their financial independence, for their economic security, their workforce participation, their safety and empowerment. 


St Anne’s STEM learning report, by Transition teachers Kristy How and Danielle Carpenter
The White and Black Swans are excited to be engaging with current research into STEM learning for the early years. Armed with the astronomy resource kit provided by Museums Victoria at Science Works, we have launched an action research project to create and improve rich STEM learning opportunities for our children. The space focus was selected to support our children’s growing interest in building rockets and vehicles out of manipulatives. This week we embarked on an ‘orbit’ into space to look back on Earth and noticed that planets have many features to explore. Children created a collage that helped them reflect on the heat provided by the sun and how this creates warmer or cooler seasons. We used YouTube to view the sun, earth and planets and extended our knowledge of how the position of the Earth in relation to the sun creates day and night. In the coming weeks, we will discover how humans look back at Earth from space using spacecraft and satellites and travel the surface of moons and planets through surface rovers. We will teach the children the beginning concepts of coding, algorithm and direction with programmable Rugged Robots and Bee-Bots. Later this term, we will gradually come back to Earth to explore the environments that we live in, exploring sustainability, nature, and indigenous perspectives. Throughout this project, we will encourage the children to use a growth mindset and specific thinking routines to support their learning. The children are already highly-engaged and constructing their knowledge with curiosity and wonder. We are sure that you will hear a lot about this at home. We would encourage you to extend these discussions by looking at the night sky with your child or even doing your own ‘research project’ together. Families can also help their child’s learning by embracing the following ideas at home.

  • Develop a growth mindset
  • Praise the effort, not the intelligence or appearance
  • Resilience and adaptability are important STEM skills
  • Prepare to fail, fail fast and fail often
  • Model behaviour: not knowing answers, making mistakes
  • Emphasize- mistakes are how we learn.

I am looking forward to finding out ‘where to next’

Billy enjoys learning more by looking at a book about the moon & Evie, Cleo and Lucy constructing a satellite together.
Betty and Wilfred designing and constructing a space craft & Mrs Burgess and Mrs Carpenter at Scienceworks. 

Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans

After three marvellous events last week, we have enjoyed the slower pace and quiet calm across the Campus this week. On Saturday morning our campus shone! Open Day provided the opportunity for us all to reflect on the many exciting learning opportunities we offer to our students on a weekly basis. I am grateful for the willingness of staff, students, and parents that joined me in showcasing our campus. It was a lovely atmosphere.

Our focus this term is to be active listeners for improved learning, for understanding friends and for respect to others. There is an awareness across the Campus, however, it is important that we continue to reinforce this, teaching our students the benefits of good listening. Listening to the instructions during Naplan was a necessity for our students in Year 3 and 5 as they worked through areas of the curriculum each day this week. Thank you to Mrs Fiona Carr, Mrs Penny Rankin and Mrs Joy Hay-Smith who supported our students during this process.

After working through Naplan, Grevillea completed the week spending time at The Abbey with Reverend Edie. Together they continued their caring for our environment and checking the trees planted over the previous years.

Our Soirees are back! Next Thursday evening at 6pm at St. John’s Church in Bairnsdale many of our Instrumental Music students will share their talents. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to perform in front of an audience, encouraging their practice and enjoyment of music. Families who have received a letter about this are reminded to please advise if their child will be available to perform. Everyone is welcome to join the audience for this event.

Today Blackwood presented Fellowship, sharing their learnings through an episode of Blackwood news, prepared, filmed and edited by the students. A very clever way to revisit their understandings of the classroom work. Beau, Owen, Tessa, and Liam re-enacted their experience at the Halogen Leadership conference by presenting themselves as guest speakers and Ari being the perfect DJ. Thank you, Year 6 leaders, terrific work!

The top 10 runners from last week’s Division Cross Country will progress to the Regional competition to be held at Lardner Park on Thursday June 2. Congratulations to the following students: Theodore Ding 9/10 year (9th place), Lenny Dullard 11 year (9th place), Madison Evans 11 year (9th place), Liora Rozite 11 year (5th place), Iylah Taylor 12 year (7th place).

The Primary Interschool Gymkhana today was an opportunity for Year 1 student Kloe Dick, to join St Anne’s students to represent our School in this sport.

I have an exciting weekend ahead attending my son’s wedding. I wish you all well.

Fiona Carr at the Open Day (above left)  & Year 3 student Jesse prepares the sand pit for the Open Day visitors (above right).
Foundation student Mitch and Year 1 students Lachie, Jack and Kloe this morning at The Primary Interschool Gymkhana (photo below).

St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
The last two weeks have demonstrated to me that even though we live in regional Victoria, we are still able to access amazing opportunities.

On Wednesday last week, all staff at Gippsland Grammar were able to Zoom into Hugh van Cuylenburg, Co-Founder of The Resilience Project. The Resilience Project provides practical and evidence-based mental health strategies to build resilience within schools and community groups. The following evening, Ben Crowe presented at our Bairnsdale Campus as part of a community event. Ben Crowe’s ‘Mojo Crowe’ helps people in their search of happiness and confidence. Ben asks us to accept and celebrate our imperfections.

And to top it off, this week, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra visited our Campus. Our students were able to listen to, collaborate with and learn from these professional musicians. The visiting musicians were seen as rock stars, with students watching them warm up, applauding loudly after each song and listening eagerly during the workshops. For me, watching Jobe and Frankie from Year 4, conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, who are professional musicians, was an absolute highlight! Our ensemble groups, such as the Year 2 Strings and Year 4 Training Band, were able to learn from the MSO musicians in small groups. What a fantastic experience! I would like to thank Kevin Cameron (Director of Performing Arts) and Katie Germaine (Music Co-ordinator – St Anne’s Campus) for organising such a fantastic experience for our St Anne’s campus. Many of the MSO musicians spoke to me about how engaged and respectful our students were throughout their visit.

District Cross Country
Students from Years 3 to 6 have enjoyed attending the District Cross Country today. This follows the success of our House Cross Country earlier in the Term. We are grateful for the ongoing support from our amazing Sports Team, consisting of Mrs O’Toole and Mrs Langshaw. More information in next weeks newsletter

Mother’s Day Fellowship
Due to COVID-19 implications, we had to postpone our Mother’s Day Fellowship and special morning tea to today. As I explained to one family, it means we get to stretch out the celebration of our extraordinary mothers! Our Mackellar students, and Julie Jago, pieced together a wonderful celebration for all mothers. Reverend Brenda provided an insightful reflection on the significance of mothers. I was able to share a special photo of my mother when she was much younger. I shared with our students that our mothers are not only amazing, but they are also much more incredible than we think; our mothers take on so much of the cognitive load for their families. Mothers sacrifice so much for their families, such as their professional careers and sleep, to name a few.

Today’s Fellowship was also the first time in two years that we have been able to invite the whole Campus Community to a Fellowship. The excitement for all is the fact that parents, students, and teachers can come together again, face to face. It is going to take everyone some time to get back into a routine. We need to relearn our St Anne’s hymn and how we need to behave. However, we are all excited about celebrating our Fellowships together

Upcoming Events

  • May 13:  District Cross Country
  • May 19 and 20: Year 6 City Camp
  • May 25-26: Year 5 Sovereign Hill Camp
  • June 3: Staff Professional Learning Day (student-free)

Henri and Charlie with Mr Cruickshank & Year 4 Students Jobe, Oliver and Yash learn from the MSO musicians in small groups. 
Cruz enjoyed having his Mum and Nan back on campus today to celebrate our Mothers Day Fellowship & Students from Years 3 to 6 enjoyed a fun day today at the District Cross Country. 

Garnsey Campus news by Acting Head of Campus Justin Henderson
Rat dissections, tree planting, an Outdoor Education Camp, the Bands Concert, NAPLAN, a soloist at assembly, Thursday sport and much more has made its way into this week alongside exciting teaching and learning.

Well done to our Year 7 and Year 9 students, and their teachers, who worked their way through the online NAPLAN assessments this week. I visited for a short time of Tuesday and the students were organised and set about the tasks quickly and calmly.

Mrs Lambert opened the invitation for staff to visit her classroom during the week as her Year 11 Biology class completed dissections as part of their learning about body systems. This is a key part of learning for students and allowed for staff to be part of the action and see teaching and learning in a classroom setting other than their own. Thank you Mrs Lambert for opening your classroom.

Our student Sustainability Team joined volunteer students from Year 7 to Year 12 as well as Mr Ries and Miss McNaughton, to partner with Landcare and the Wellington Shire to participate in a tree-planting activity at the parkland adjacent to the Gippsland Stock Exchange. The team planted the trees half of the anticipated time due to their teamwork, communication, and effort. There are two further opportunities for students to become involved in this activity. Students should watch VOS and listen out at assembly for information.

The Chicago production cast and crew are all action as they bring together what will be another brilliant Gippsland Grammar performance. This is another example of bringing together students from Years 7 to Year 12 along with their teachers and other staff to work together on a major production. Mrs Kyriakou, Dr Cameron, and the other staff involved have been and continue to rehearse with students, build stage and sets, prepare tickets sales and all the other associated things in every spare moment. We look forward to seeing the outcome of their work during production week beginning with the preview performance for our Year 7 and Year 8 students on Thursday May 26. There are four available shows for parents and the community running from May 26 to May 28

Students undertaking Year 12 subjects this year and heading into a very solid three weeks of final assessments for their Unit 3 subjects. With a number of SAC and SAT tasks scheduled, I encourage all our students to commit to the next three weeks and choose to focus their effort and attention on their class work, study, and assessments. Likewise, we are not far from the Year 10 and Year 11 midyear exams beginning on 6 June. It is important that effort is made in preparation for this time. Following exams there will be a two-week rollover to Semester 2 programs before the mid-year 3-week break.

I am looking forward to the Bands Concert this evening and wish everyone a wonderful weekend. 


Catch up on last week’s newsletter here:


Gippsland Grammar background:
Gippsland Grammar is one of Australia’s leading co-educational Anglican schools, with a tradition of excellence in education extending almost 100 years. Located in the heart of Gippsland, the School has more than 1100 students across three campuses including St Anne’s junior campus and the Garnsey senior campus, both at Sale, and the Bairnsdale junior campus in East Gippsland. Enrolments at both junior campuses begin with a 3s and 4s kindergarten program at their respective Early Learning Centres (ELC) and Garnsey caters for students from Years 7-12. Gippsland Grammar is also the only boarding school east of Melbourne’s suburban fringe and is a home-away-from-home for students from far East Gippsland, South Gippsland, Victoria’s High Country and the Latrobe Valley as well as for a cohort of international students.

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