Gippsland Grammar news: May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

Before I move into this week’s news, I would like to pay special tribute to the Music Department for a wonderful Bands Concert, which was held last Friday night. The repertoire and capacity of our students was extraordinary. They have been challenged with the restrictions imposed over the past two years; however, it was clear to see that our students have used this time to continue the development and love of their music. There were a number of fabulous instrumental solos and Andrew Crawford and Amelia Norman entertained the audience with wonderful vocal performances. I would like to acknowledge our student leadership with Emily Thai as Band Captain and Music Captains Rory McLeod and Amelia Norman who hosted the evening. They all did an amazing job. My sincere thanks to our amazing music teachers led by our Director of Performing Arts Dr Kevin Cameron.

It has been a jam-packed amazing week across all three campuses, and I would like to thank all our staff and parents for supporting our students in their endeavours.

National Boarding Week
There have been many great activities throughout the week at Blackwood House as part of our celebrations for National Boarding Week. Boarding has been an important part of Gippsland Grammar since 1937.

Thank you to all our students who make the Blackwood House Community such a special place. Mr Llewellyn and I are planning to jump aboard the Blackwood House Bus for a Boarding Roadshow in the coming weeks and we will look forward to meeting our current boarding families as well as any families who might be interested in boarding at Gippsland Grammar. Keep an eye out for the details.

My sincere thanks to our Boarding staff for all that you do for our students. Your efforts and commitment to ensuring our boarders have the very best experience possible are key to the success of our program. To our Boarding families, thank you for the privilege of being able to look after and support your children.

Enjoy reading about the wonderful week we have had at Gippsland Grammar.

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper

It has been another busy week for the children at the Early Learning Centres. Though the weather is cooling, the children enjoy daily time outdoors. Last week we sent home the visual instructions for teaching them how to put their jackets on using the ‘tag to toe’ method. We observed that many children have been practising this at home. The children were proud of their growing independence and couldn’t wait to show us their new skills.

Cygnets Reception croup by teachers Tammy Lopardi and Elise Edgar
To celebrate Autumn we walked around the St Anne’s grounds. The children were thrilled to be able to visit the ‘big School’ and they took in the wonder of our beautiful old trees that are now changing colour. We also practised the challenging task of walking together in a group. After our visit, the children responded to what they had seen by exploring Autumn coloured paint, using materials for Autumn threading, and making a collage with the leaves they collected.

Bairnsdale Transition by teacher Sommer-Lea Collins
This week in the Transition group we had Tom from the Melbourne Museum bring his travelling van on dinosaurs and fossils to visit the ELC. Tom was able to talk about how palaeontologists have studied the history of dinosaurs and he was able to share some exciting facts. Tom explained that dinosaurs are extinct and why they are no longer on earth. The children then learnt about dinosaur fossils and how they were discovered and are now cared for by the museum. The fossilised dinosaur dung (coprolite) was a particular favourite. The children enjoyed looking at the bones and measuring them to discover just how enormous the dinosaurs were. Rory summed up the day best when he said it was “the best day ever”.

I would also like to ask all our Reception families to ‘save the date’ for the following special event:

‘Need to Read’ – Literacy, Language and Learning Parent Information Session
Bairnsdale Campus – Tuesday, May 31
St Anne’s Campus – Thursday, June 2
6.30-7.30 pm in the Early Learning Centre
A light supper will be provided.

As we emerge from Covid, we are very conscious that our youngest students have had significantly reduced opportunities for regular interactions for over half of their lives.

Many had to keep busy and quiet while older children were home-schooled, or parents worked from home. Some had periods of lockdown. They have also missed out on visits to friends and family and had reduced access to libraries and playgroups. The usual activities that support early childhood growth and development were all impacted.

There is now increasing evidence across the early childhood sector that this might delay social, emotional and language skills. This could translate into concerning difficulties for children as they enter school.

At Gippsland Grammar ELC, we are addressing this through our’ Need to Read’ program. During the short information session, I will be speaking about easy and practical ways to give your child the support they need to achieve success.

Some of the topics covered will include:

  • How do I know if my child needs support with speech and language? What is normal? How do I help them?
  • What is literacy, and how do I support my child to develop the critical skills they will need before school?
  • How to read purposefully to and with children
  • The importance of oral language and ‘serve and return.’
  • Writing – when what and how?
  • Introduction to the ‘Need to Read’ take home library books
  • Supporting your child if English isn’t their first language
  • Supporting play and building social and emotional wellbeing
  • The importance of what YOU do

At the end of the evening, families will receive a special gift of books to keep as a home library and information about our participation in the Raising Literacy program.

If you plan on attending, I would be grateful if you could RSVP to your child’s teacher or email me at

I hope you can put this date in your planner to make this commitment to your child’s education. I am looking forward to seeing you all then.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Alison examines the dinosaur fossil (top left) & Jack is learning some interesting dinosaur facts from Tom (top right).
Piper enjoys Autumn walks (bottom left) & Reception group explored the St Anne’s Campus (bottom right).

BAIRNSDALE NEWS by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
This week, we have been challenged to cover classes with many staff being away due to both COVID-19 and other flu-type viruses. I am grateful to our staff and our relief teachers, who have been most flexible in working with our students, ensuring their learning continues without impact. With that in mind, I ask that we all continue to be vigilant in our COVID-safe practices.

Our Early Years teachers and Mrs Bree Henderson from St. Anne’s attended a very worthwhile professional learning session in Melbourne on Thursday. The session focused on handwriting, and the feedback was very positive. It was terrific that they could share the day and will enable a collaborative understanding going forward.

Today Grevillea presented Fellowship and the theme was based on ‘Current Affairs’. They had been looking at different areas of news, and each student summarised the area of interest to them. Interestingly, their views all varied as to what spoke to them. When hearing news items on the radio or on the television, we are aware of how it makes us feel and of course, ‘good news stories are always well received.

Therefore, in writing my newsletter, I look to ‘good news stories, and this week I cannot go past the Instrumental Music Soirée last night at St. John’s church. Our students demonstrated a commitment to their music, the parents were proudly watching on and importantly, we were there as a community supporting our students. I sincerely thank Mrs Cara Schaefer for her enthusiasm and organisation of a beautifully presented soirée.

Congratulations to our musicians: 
Omar Aly, James Snow, Alby Finlay, Gemma Dennett, Freida Tadrous, Perri Smith, Casper Saik, Ella Veldhuizen, Alamby Elliot, Felix McKay, Catherine Pauwels, Bella Dooley, Indigo McKay, Shanina Dennis, Evie Coates, Odette Cook, Simon Lynch, Stephanie Johnson-Turner, Rittal Al Timimi, Georgie Witham, James Snow, Morgan Soulsby, Rhys Rodriguez, Benjamin Reynolds, Blake Maxwell, and Alston Xu.

Alamby plays the violin (top left), Odette plays the piano (top right) & James on the drums and with Mr Stagg plays Under the Bridge, by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers
(bottom left and right). 

National Walk Safely to School Day
This morning we met again as a community at the Wy Yung Bakery and walked down the hill as part of the National Walk Safely to School Day. The lively chatter was an indication that the walk was enjoyed by all. It set us up for a fun Friday.

Amber, Sierra, Catherine and Evie with Wilson.

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
I am writing this week’s newsletter from our Year 6 City Camp in Melbourne. These students have not experienced a camp since their Year 3 camp in 2019. Over the past two days we have visited ScienceWorks, The Lume at the Convention Centre, the Immigration Museum, IMAX and the History Museum. This camp allows our students to gain greater insight through relevant and hands-on activities about topics that will be covered throughout this year. Thank you to Mrs Julie Jago for organising the camp and those teachers and parents who attended the camp to support our students.

Mr Van Berkel and Year 6 students at The Lume  (Cruz, Sophie, Ellie, Lucas, Ryan and Melina) &  Rebekah, Fischer, Ryan, Harry, Lucas, Cruz , Max, Sophie and Melina enjoying their time at Scienceworks. 

Fellowship – Year 4 Kingsford-Smith
Our Kingsford-Smith students, guided by Mrs Ellen Condron, presented at this morning’s Fellowship. The focus was on sustainability. The students presented ways in which we can all play a part in creating a sustainable lifestyle. Our guest speaker was Tess Johnson, the sustainability captain at our Garnsey Campus. Tess spoke about the importance of sustainability and the initiatives that are happening at our Garnsey Campus. Thank you to Mrs Condron and Kingsford-Smith for sharing the message of how to play a part in protecting our world, not just for us but for the generations to come.

District Cross Country
Forty St Anne’s students competed at the Sale and District Cross Country Carnival on Friday last week. All students raced exceptionally well in a very quick field, producing incredible times. Overall, Gippsland Grammar placed 1st across the carnival and 12 of our runners have progressed to the next round in a week’s time. A great day of running. Best of luck to runners in the next round.

Place getters in the top three were:
Cruz Duck U/12 boys                   1st
Henri Duggan U/10 boys            1st
Sophie Moy U/12 girls                 2nd
Jessica Brewer U/10 girls            3rd
Charlie Strachan U/10 boys        3rd

Sophie, Jessica, Henri, Cruz and Charlie with their place ribbons.

St Anne’s Swimming Program
All students from Foundation to Year 6 at St Anne’s are allocated a half-hour swimming lesson per week for two terms of the year. These lessons are a compulsory part of our school program and are undertaken at the Aqua Energy Complex in Sale. Both stroke technique and water safety are covered throughout the year by qualified AUSTSWIM instructors. Swimming is an essential life skill that supports both childhood and adult development. It contributes to self-esteem, confidence, and concentration. If you have any questions about our swimming program, please contact Mrs Simone Langshaw, our swimming coordinator.

Japanese Fun Fact
Thank you again to Mrs Jan Chalmer for this week’s Japanese Fun Fact. ‘May the 4th’ is sometimes called Star Wars Day! Did you know that Japanese culture heavily influenced Star Wars? George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, was inspired by the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, who directed many period and historical dramas, including The Seven Samurai and The Hidden Fortress. In Japanese, the word for ‘period drama’ is JIDAI GEKI. The term ‘JEDI’ came from this. The helmet worn by Darth Vader was designed based on a samurai helmet. In Star Wars, the light sabres used in battles are long and narrow like samurai swords. The style of fighting with the light sabres looks like the Japanese martial art of Kendo (Japanese fencing). The character, Yoda, speaks using word order similar to Japanese. (English: He is playing in the park. Japanese: He in the park is playing.)

School Photos – update on dates
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to change our previously advertised School photo dates. Our School photos, taken by John Ansell Photography, will now be held over the following two days.

Thursday May 26: Foundation to Year 4 individual, class and family photos

Wednesday June 15: Year 5 and 6 individual, class and family, Instrumental groups and School Captain photos 

Can students please come to school dressed in their full Winter uniform, with their blazers and shoes polished.

Kingsford Smith students Archie, Jessica, Heri and Cleo at Fellowship this morning.

GARNSEY NEWS by Acting Head of Campus Justin Henderson 
As the Campus builds toward next week’s performance of Chicago – the High School Edition, it was wonderful to have Andrew Crawford and some of the cast perform at assembly on Monday. While the finishing touches are being out to the performance over the next few days, I encourage you to join the fun and get along to a performance beginning with opening night on Thursday. All the best to the staff and students in the cast, orchestra, and crew. 

The prefects this week lead the recognition of IDAHOBIT Day at both our assembly on Monday and by hosting a cupcake stall on Tuesday.  Our 2020 School Captains Ellen O’Brien returned to speak at the assembly to talk about acceptance of all people and Bishop Richard was able to assure our School Community that everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender or other factors are welcome in Anglican schools across Gippsland.

Year 9 students Aralai, Kiri and Lily celebrate May 17.
Year 12 students Naomi, Peggy, Olivia and Danyka showcase some of the rainbow cupcakes baked for the bake sale. 
School Captain Mia Mackintosh, 2020 School Captain Ellen O’Brien, the Bishop of Gippsland, the Right Reverend Richard Treloar and School Captain Rory McLeod at Assembly on Monday.
A total of $611 was raised from the Bake Sale for IDAHOBIT Day.

Bands Concert
Last Friday night our Music Department held the annual Bands Concert which further showcased the amazing talent that we have at Gippsland Grammar. The concert, along with the many other opportunities across the year, are a credit to not only the students, but also to the continued work of our Head of Performing Arts Dr Kevin Cameron, and his team. Many in-school and out-of-school hours are put in by students and staff to make the most of opportunities to practice performance skills and showcase our school. 

Sharing our successes
There are a number of Garnsey students achieving great personal success in their chosen field of interest at present and I do love to hear about their achievements and acknowledge them both personally and publicly. Our staff gather several times each week for briefings, and it is nice to hear about our student achievements. Please encourage your children to share their success outside of School with their mentor teacher, so they in turn can share with our staff team and we can celebrate the success as well.

Year 10 students Tess and Katelyn, along with Year 7 student Chelsea represented Victoria at the Australian Gymnastics Championships on the Gold Coast earlier this week.

Year 10 and 11 Exams (Week 7)
Our Year 10 and 11 students will undertake exams in week 7 (June 6 – 10). Please lookout for more information on VOS in the coming week.

Year 8 Camp
Year 8 Mitchell River Camps are now finished and our Year 8’s had a wonderful time hiking and rafting. I would like to thank the Outdoor Education team for the planning, resilience and flexibility

It is still Imperative that anyone displaying cold and flu-like symptoms remain at home and we all continue to be vigilant in our COVID-safe practices.

PERFORMING ARTS news by Director of Performing Arts Kevin Cameron 
Term 2 has been a busy time for the Music Centre in terms of concerts, special events and rehearsals.  As usual, we have seen a strong sense of collaboration and commitment across our classes and rehearsals.  Our bands have completed a series of productive rehearsal days, our choristers and orchestral musicians represented us well at the SEISA Music Festival, and there have been some opportunities for sharing our music and the profile of Music and Performing Arts with our wider School Community at recent assemblies – thank you the Concert Band, the cast and orchestra from Chicago, and our Music Captain Rory McLeod, who all delivered polished performances at Garnsey, and to our musicians at St Anne’s and Bairnsdale for sharing your music in this way.

Some recent highlights:
MSO visit to St Anne’s: A delegation of musicians from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra spent a day at St Anne’s where they inspired our younger students with their amazing artistry on their instruments.  Students in Years 2, 4, and 6 enjoyed a concert where they were shown ways that music can tell stories and create moods through notes, instrumental colours, and speed.  The MSO musicians spent the remainder of the day working with our Year 4 students and the Chamber Strings and the St Anne’s Concert Band.  It was a wonderful day of music, collaboration and connection between our musicians and some of Australia’s finest professional orchestral artists.

Band Intensive Rehearsal Days, and Bands’ Concert
This involved students in the concert bands and jazz bands from Garnsey and St Anne’s. These extended rehearsals presented important opportunities to learn new music, refine familiar work, and build the capacity of our ensembles – but there was also an opportunity to consolidate our teams, to better know our peers, and to build relationships. The result of this work from our students, tutors and band directors was clearly apparent at the excellent Band’s Concert last Friday evening.  Thank you to all the bands, our vocal soloists Amelia Norman and Andrew Crawford, and ensemble directors Miss Katrina Chilcott, Mr Bradley Cruickshank for an excellent evening’s entertainment.  A special acknowledgement to our Music Captains Rory McLeod and Amelia Norman for their engaging commentary through the proceedings.

Bairnsdale Soiree
The Bairnsdale Soiree was presented as a twilight concert last night and is the first in a series of campus soiree events in the coming weeks.  It has certainly been a long period of time since we have had events that featured our solo musicians, so last night’s concert is a very welcome return.  Congratulations to all performers on your presentation and thank you to Music Coordinator Mrs Cara Schaeffer and the music team at the Bairnsdale campus for your work with our students.

Garnsey Musical: Chicago
Excitement is building in our community for the upcoming season of Chicago.  Our cast, orchestra, technical and backstage crews have been working very hard to bring this story to life to create a memorable theatrical and artistic experience for all.  Our Year 6, 7, and 8 students will see the show at our preview next Thursday, and limited tickets are available for purchase to performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings next week, as well as our Saturday matinee.  Tickets are not available at the door and must be purchased in advance via Trybooking at this link:

Gippsland Grammar musicians in the community
Many of our musicians have been active in the wider community as performers, singers, dancers and participants.  These diverse activities include the recent production of Grease at Bairnsdale, the Sale Theatre Company’s Heathers – the Musical at the Wedge, and concerts with the Maffra Municipal Band and the Latrobe Orchestra.

We recently welcomed Mr Danny Stain to our Music team, teaching guitar, voice, and piano.

Did you miss out on last week’s newsletter? Catch up here:

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