Gippsland Grammar news: May 27, 2021

May 27, 2022 | Bairnsdale News, Community News, Garnsey News, Principal's News, St Anne's News

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful, a readiness to show appreciation for and to return their kindness.

Last week was National Boarding Week and it was another huge success for our students and staff at Blackwood House. I am grateful for the care and support that our Head of Boarding Mr Llewellyn and all Blackwood House staff provide our students.  When I visit the Boarding House I enjoy listening when the students are encouraged to share what they are grateful for. It is a wonderful initiative and their sharing further reinforces our values.

On Wednesday afternoon I joined Mr Ries and a group of more than 20 students to plant trees in conjunction with the Wellington Shire. The number of students who took part in this activity has grown from previous occasions and the trees were planted and watered with great efficiency and care. I am grateful that Garnsey’s Sustainability group continues to make an active contribution not just for today but for the future.

I am very grateful for the Gippsland Grammar Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1985, and is the key fundraising arm of our School. In recent times the Foundation has contributed significant funds to the building of the Laurie Payne Sports Centre, Kukan Kulak and our latest Art & Design building. Through the generosity of the Foundation, this week I was able to provide a donation for each of our rowers who are heading off to the UK, including students Billy, Lindsay, Anthony and Cameron as well as coaches Mr Bartlett and Mr Roach. My sincere thanks to the Foundation for their ongoing support of Gippsland Grammar.

This morning, I attended our first Reconciliation Assembly at Bairnsdale. The fellowship was run by our Foundation students and it was great to see so many of our School’s youngest students be so confident and clear in their messages about reconciliation and their future. I gave them a new book, ‘Finding our Heart’, which is a beautiful book by Torres Strait Islander author Thomas Major, who is passionate about our young people creating a future where we all walk together, hand in hand.

Like many others tomorrow night I will be in the audience for the performance of ‘Chicago: High School Edition’. I am excited, proud and even a little bit nervous to see this production however I am more excited than anything as I know I will be so proud of our students’ amazing talent, their commitment, their passion and their caring approach to one another. I am so grateful that, unlike last year where we were put back into lockdown mid-production, this year the show will go on! So, let’s all be grateful that we can come together and be part of this fantastic show.

If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, it is not too late. Please see below in the Performing Arts section for the link to book.

Have a wonderful weekend.
Warm regards,

Leisa Harper

Early Learning Centre news by ELC Director Lisa Burgess
On Wednesday, the ELC participated in National Simultaneous Storytime. This event is held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and each year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country. Now in its 22nd successful year, it is a colourful, vibrant, fun event that aims to promote the value of reading and literacy to over a million participants. This year the chosen story was ‘Family Tree’ by Josh Pyke.

The simple act of snuggling up with your child to enjoy a story is one the most important things that families can do to boost a child’s sense of wellbeing and connection and is an essential part of the journey of becoming literate. I will be speaking to families about this in more depth next week at both campuses at our Reception group parent information evenings. I hope that families of children currently enrolled in our three-year-old groups can make the time to join us then, as per the details below:

‘Need to Read’: Reception group parent information session on Literacy, Language and Learning
– Bairnsdale Campus: Tuesday May 31, from 6.30-7.30pm in the ELC
– St Anne’s Campus: Thursday June 2, from 6.30-7.30pm in the ELC
A light supper will be provided.
RSVP to: your child’s teacher or via email to

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.

Our Reception students at the Bairnsdale Campus have been extending their knowledge of healthy eating using the ‘Smiles for Miles’ program with the topic ‘Eat Well’. They have been reading about healthy eating and have been discussing how to make healthy food choices that will strengthen and support our bodies. This week the children enjoyed cutting and pasting a variety of food choices onto a lunchbox template. This allowed them to think about what healthy choices and what their individual food preferences are. We encourage parents to include children in the packing of ELC lunches to prompt discussion about healthy eating and build independence.

This week the St Anne’s White Swans Transition group had a special visitor to support our focus on STEM learning. Dr Natalie is a geophysicist specialising in studying earthquake waves in New Zealand. Using slinkies, the children learned more about the release of energy that occurs underground. She was able to tell the children more about earthquakes and the active volcano that she is studying. The children practised the ‘curl up like a turtle’ drill that New Zealand students learn and were reassured that we live in a stable part of the world. Dr Natalie was an excellent role model for the children and urged them to be curious and to enjoy maths and science at school.

Finally on Friday the Transition students at the Bairnsdale campus performed at Fellowship for the first time. It was timely for Reconciliation Week that they performed ‘Inanay’ which is an Indigenous lullaby. I know there were many proud families in the audience and we enjoyed officially welcoming you into the Gippsland Grammar Bairnsdale  Campus Community.

A reminder that next Friday (June 3) is a student-free day and the ELCs will be closed to allow staff members to attend professional learning.

Mrs Jeffrey reads the story ‘Family Tree’ to the St Anne’s Black Swans Transition group as a part of National Simultaneous Story Time.

Bairnsdale Campus news by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
National Reconciliation Week: May 27-June 3
This morning’s Fellowship presented by Acacia was an introduction to National Reconciliation Week, the theme this year being, ‘Be Brave, Make Change’ (pictured below). As Foundation student Floss Law stated so beautifully, “Reconciliation means knowing that something wasn’t right and then making changes so things will be better”. Our ELC students joined with our Foundation students to sing an indigenous lullaby, ‘Inanay’, which was a highlight of the presentation. No matter what age we are, we can make a difference in our Community by understanding our past and contributing to a better future. Thank you to Mrs Libby Crowe and Acacia for their hard work in presenting Fellowship.
This week in the Tuckshop, Mrs O’Connor has made a change to the cookies (in addition to the usual chocolate cookie) by incorporating indigenous bush foods. Students might like to try the ‘wattle seed and choc chip cookies’ or ‘iced finger lime and wattle seed biscuits’.
Be Brave. Make Change. #NRW2022

Winter Sports
We had two soccer teams and two netball teams represent Gippsland Grammar at the Winter Sports on Tuesday. In speaking to our Year 5s prior to leaving, they spoke of the day being about teamwork, determination, encouragement, and sportsmanship. My understanding is that these characteristics were all on display regardless of the outcomes. I thank all our students for participating on the day and congratulate our soccer team that will continue to the next level of competition.

Persuasive writing
Kurrajong and Melaleuca had a most interesting day at school on Thursday. As part of the Years 3 and 4 persuasive writing program, the students had to choose whether they wanted to fly to Africa or South America. Kurrajong was set up as a plane trip to Africa and Melaleuca a plane trip to South America. The students went through the airport, where they had to provide their passport and relevant boarding pass. The students were given stamps as they departed ‘Melbourne’ and as they completed their writing, they received their arrival stamps for Cape Town or Buenos Aires. While on the flight, students enjoyed the air hostesses delivering a bag of popcorn and pop-top juice. This was a fun way of integrating their geography and writing unit, while immersed on an imaginary holiday. I thank Mrs Penny Rankin and Mrs Fiona Carr for how they planned and prepared a terrific experience for their students; our students are fortunate to have teachers that are committed to providing such engaging learning tasks.
Importantly, this week we acknowledged and farewelled Mrs Margaret Cotter, who has been our After School Care Co-Ordinator for the past six years. This program is essential in supporting our parents and students and Margaret has been committed to providing this service. In thanking Margaret, our students wrote notes to her, each sharing their experiences and moments they remembered. They included the afternoon teas, the craft activities, making pikelets, playing outside and being kept safe. Miss Carly Dent will take on the role as After School Co-Ordinator and, along with Miss Courtney Robinson, will continue to provide this service for our families. We wish Margaret all the very best in her retirement.

Regional Cross Country
Congratulations and good luck to Theodore Ding, Lenny Dullard, Maddie Evans, Liora Rozite and Iylah Taylor who have qualified to participate at the Gippsland Region Cross Country be held at Lardner Park, Warragul on Thursday June 2.

School Photos: Wednesday June 1
John Ansell and his team will be at the Bairnsdale Campus on Wednesday next week. Photo envelopes have been sent home and should please be returned on or before Wednesday.
For families with more than one child at the Bairnsdale Campus (including the ELC), please feel to collect a sibling photo envelope from the office. Sibling photos will be taken from 8.30-9.10am, so parents are asked to remind students who are to have sibling photos taken, to please go straight to the Hall. Families with an ELC sibling can have the photo taken before dropping off at the ELC.

Student-free day next Friday
Next Friday our students will enjoy a long weekend as our teachers join together for a professional development day focusing on Teaches as Architects of Learning (TAAL).

Wishing you well for the weekend ahead.

St Anne’s Campus news by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
Sustainability at St Anne’s
We have recently welcomed six new members to our Campus Community who will have a major impact on making St Anne’s more environmentally friendly. ‘Parmy’, ‘Chip’, ‘Cookie’, ‘Millicent’, ‘Mottle’ and ‘Cinnamon’ are chickens who will spend most of their time eating our food scraps and providing us with fresh eggs. They came from a farm at Johnsonville and should begin to lay eggs in early spring. At Year 4 Kingsford-Smith’s Fellowship on Friday, Bella Hams and Charlotte Greenwell presented Mr Mark with a special gift to thank him for creating the beautiful new chook enclosure at St. Anne’s. The enclosure has been made mostly from recycled items, and the chooks are very happy. On behalf of the students and staff at St. Anne’s, a big ‘thank you’ to Mr Mark.

Tree planting
The Year 3 & 4 students thoroughly enjoyed planting trees on Wednesday as part of the Wellington Shires tree planting initiative. They assisted in planting about 300 trees in the area near the Sale City football ground, in the new native vegetation area at the back of Lake Gyatt.

Environmental care
We have just launched a new initiative to acknowledge and celebrate the students in our Community who are consciously caring for our environment. Teachers will be nominating students they observe looking after our environment. For example, students who put rubbish in the right bins, stay off garden beds, pick up rubbish, have a rubbish-free lunch box, etc. Those nominated will go into a raffle draw, with the name selected receiving a morning tea from the canteen and keeping the coveted ‘Golden Bin’ in their classroom for the week. The raffle would be drawn on a Thursday, and the bin with the voucher would be presented on a Friday at the Fellowship.

A big thank you to Mrs Ellen Condron for leading and guiding our students’ sustainability efforts at St Anne’s.

National Simultaneous Storytime
Every year an Australian picture storybook is read simultaneously across Australia in schools, libraries and homes. On Wednesday at 11 am, I had the privilege of reading to all of our Foundation to Year 2 students. ‘Family Tree’ is a picture storybook written by a well-known musician, Josh Pike. It is a wonderful book about family and nature.

Sporting Success
On Monday we had stunning conditions at Yarram Golf Course for the Wellington Division Cross Country. Our School was well represented, with 13 students attending. Runners who placed in the top 12 for their age group will be continuing on to the Regional Cross Country at Lardner Park on Thursday June 2. Congratulations to all students who participated and to Mrs Kate O’Toole and Mrs Simone Langshaw for supporting our students at this event.
Cruz Duck: 1st
Sophie Moy: 4th
Adelaide Ripper: 2nd
Henri Duggan: 1st
Charlie Stachan: 2nd
Jack Alcock: 4th
Marley Spoljaric: 5th
Jessica Brewer: 13th
Charlotte Greenwell: 2nd
Indie Drew: 14th
Tallulah Wynne: 12th
Jay Davies: 13th
Tony Turnbull: 15th

Sale Netball Association held a tournament over the weekend with clubs travelling to compete. Gippsland Grammar entered a team in the Under 11s section. Though this was their first attempt at a tournament,  the students had smiles on their faces all day, giving it their best and learning new skills along the way, and were lucky to be playing in some beautiful autumn sunshine. Thanks to all parents involved.

Reconciliation Fellowship: Wednesday June 1
On Wednesday we have our Reconciliation Fellowship, which is during Reconciliation Week. We will be exploring what reconciliation means, which is knowing something was not right and making changes so things will be better. Our choir will be singing ans there will also be a guest speaker. All parents and friends are invited to attend this Fellowship at 9am in the Lorna Sparrow Hall.

School photos: new dates
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to change our previously advertised School photo dates. We had our first photo session yesterday for Foundation to Year 4 individual, class and family photos. Our second session is on Wednesday June 15, where our Year 5 and 6 individual, class and family, Instrumental groups and School Captain photos will also be taken.

(clockwise from top left) Mr Mark receiving thanks for his work with the chook house; the under-11 netball team and Mr Van Berkel reading to the Foundation to Year 2 students for National Simultaneous Storytime.

Garnsey Campus news by Acting Head of Campus Justin Henderson
Garnsey has been full of razzle dazzle this week with the opening night and subsequent performances of our senior production ‘Chicago: High School Edition’. Our Year 7 and 8 students attended the preview performance yesterday ahead of last night’s opening night, which was a fabulous occasion. The showcase of talent in our Performing Arts department is always impressive and the opportunity for our students, and the wider community, to see our students perform is brilliant.

Careers news
As Gippsland Grammar’s Career Advisor, I am often in contact with universities to find out about new course offerings, entry programs and accommodation opts for our students pursuing tertiary studies. Over the past few days I have had the privilege of being a guest of the University of Tasmania (UTAS) and seeing first-hand the university’s course offerings, facilities and hospitality of the both the university and the state of Tasmania. UTAS has campuses in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie and offers world-class facilities in almost all academic disciplines. The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) provides opportunities to study Marine Sciences, Aquaculture, Fisheries, Oceanography and Ocean Governance. These studies are all completed in the natural resource that Tasmania has to offer including the oceans and wilderness areas of the island. 

The College of Arts and Music was a showcase building in the city of Hobart and has an offer a huge variety of courses incorporating everything from Communications, Media, Theatre, Music and more with majors in all aspects of these fields.

At Launceston, I met with staff and students from the Australian Maritime College where Ocean focussed engineering, seafaring and marine architecture among other courses are delivered. The AMC has facilities that allow students to learn and conduct research into labs and pools simulating the ocean. 

A highlight for me was catching up with past students who have moved to Study at UTAS. The students spoke about their experience so positively, highlighting the connection between their course learning and the natural environment that Tasmania allows them to explore. Access to world-class ocean environments and within 30 minutes from the university having the ability to experience heritage-protected inland national parks and forests are all features that the students said attracted them to Tasmania. 

I am available to all students to talk about tertiary study opportunities and engage students to make the most of careers presentation and discussions when available to them.

World record attempt
Garnsey Teacher Eva Clark is attempting her 17th Guinness World Record on June 4 to raise money for Beyond Blue. To break the record, Mrs Clarke will attempt to do 6666.6 shuttle runs in 24 hours while carrying a nine-kilogram backpack. Mrs Clarke has previously broken world records for feats such as 24-hour burpees, push-ups and pull-ups. Donate to Mrs Clark’s Beyond Blue page via this link:

On Thursday we had a team of Year 7 and 8 compete in SEISA hockey against Newhaven College and our teams won, 8-0. Teacher Kylie Lambert was able to watch the team play and said the team, which his made up of a mix of seasoned hockey players as well beginners, played incredibly well.

This week our School hosted a state heat of the Plain English Speaking Award, which is a public-speaking competition, open to students aged 15-18 years. Congratulations to Mia and Georgia (pictured below) who represented Gippsland Grammar well. Georgia was named runner-up.

Performing Arts news by Director of Performing Arts Kevin Cameron
The Music Centre has been a hive of activity this week as we approached the first performances of ‘Chicago: High School Edition’.  The results of many hours of hard work – on stage and off – is now ready to enjoy!  This is a wonderful show and features a most impressive principal and ensemble cast of singers, dancers and actors.  The orchestra is also in fine form!  The School musical is often a rite of passage for students as it embodies so many important aspects essential for personal growth such as risk-taking, acceptance of vulnerability, collaboration, hearing direction and feedback, sharing, contributing and, of course, determination, satisfaction and pride in delivering the best outcome. 

We welcome our Year 8 students to their first production, at the same time saying farewell and thank you to our Year 12 students in their last. 

There are good seats still available for Saturday’s matinee, and very limited seats for this evening and the final performance on Saturday night.  Tickets are not available at the door and must be purchased in advance via Trybooking at this link:

Looking into next week, our first Garnsey Soiree evening in many months will take place next Monday evening.  Due to the large number of soloists presenting, there will be two twilight sessions; one at 5pm and a second at 6.15pm.  We are looking forward to a fine evening of diverse repertoire across a range of instruments and voices.  Parents, friends, and supporters are most welcome to this free event in the Chapel of St Anne’s.

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.

Join our Community:
If you’d like to join our Gippsland Grammar Community please phone us on 56143 6388 or email to request a Prospecus, book a campus tour or simply inquire about a future enrolment. Or click here to read our Gippsland Grammar Information Book.

Connect with us:

Looking for a School?

Request a Gippsland Grammar Information Pack