A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

Awareness, understanding and advancing reconciliation

It is a pleasure to write to you from Pormpuraaw, an Indigenous community on the western side of the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. Currently, a small group of BGS Year 6 boys and staff are staying and working with the local community and school. Next week, some Year 9 boys and staff will visit. BGS has been coming here for four years. Together with our 10-year relationship with Milikapiti on the Tiwi Islands and our partnership with the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS), this connection is part of our commitment to extending our awareness and understanding of Indigenous Australia, and advancing reconciliation.

There have been many highlights of this trip (painting near a local creek, visiting the crocodile farm, working in the classrooms, meeting the local councillors, sharing meals together). However, the highlight for me has been the conversations I’ve had with Sid (a local artist) about raising awareness and understanding of Indigenous customs, culture and practices. Sid is passionate about sharing this information so that we can all enhance awareness and understanding. In particular, his descriptions of how boys are chaperoned into manhood by the community resonated strongly for me. There is much we can learn from our friends in Pormpuraaw.

Changing tack, an update on the academic uniform review. As we are currently awaiting completion of the final uniform samples, the unveiling of the refreshed uniform will now take place in early Term 3 (not late Term 2 as previously advertised). Please refer to the FAQs on our website if you have questions; the FAQs will be updated once the refreshed uniform has been revealed.

Have a great week.


From the Deputy Headmaster, Head of Junior School – Peter Tellefson

I have missed my ‘good mornings’ on the home front this week as I spent the last three days with the Year 6 boys and staff in Pormpuraaw on the west coast of Cape York. We have also had Year 6 boys and girls from Firbank visiting Milikapiti on Melville Island, 120km north of Darwin.

Our Indigenous Exchange programs in the Junior School are now in their tenth year. It is obvious that deep learning is occurring among our boys and their friends. During my visit, I was very proud to see the quality and genuineness of the interactions between young Australians of such diverse backgrounds and life experiences. All Prep to Year 6 boys will have the opportunity to hear from the boys when they return. We look forward to hosting our friends from Milikapiti and Pormpuraaw in August.


From 30° days to a potential high of 10°… Today I travel to Rutherford Park in Daylesford to join 105 musicians who are members of Borwick House Choir, Wilson House Strings or Wilson House Concert Band. The boys will perform in the Junior School Semester 1 Music Concert next Tuesday 12 June at 7.30pm in St Andrew’s Church.

Our relationship and connections with Firbank are highly valued here at BGS. We have 72 boys in the Junior School who have a sister at Firbank. Last Monday morning, the Prep to Year 2 boys and girls enjoying a musical performance together and the Year 6 boys and girls have had a couple of rehearsals for the Junior School Musical, ‘Once on This Island Jr’. All boys from ELC to Year 6 enjoy a variety of opportunities to interact with our friends from Firbank throughout the year.


Junior School Happenings and Reminders

  • Last week, we welcomed Charlie Henderson to the Junior School. Charlie will work full-time as our School Nurse. She will be based in the Junior School. We also farewelled Dani Lord, who has accepted an alumni role at Loreto Mandeville Hall. We thank Dani for her wonderful contribution to BGS over the last 13 years – especially, most recently, in the Junior School.
  • Congratulations to the Years 3–6 boys who represented BGS in the APS Divisional Cross Country this week. The standard of competition was very high and our boys’ performances were excellent. Thank you to Ben Ryan for his organisation and coaching, and to those parents who were able to support the BGS team. Best wishes to Henry Abbott, Eli Botha, Harrison Gibbins, Hugo Richey, Ayden Roos and Kyle Roos, who have been selected to compete in the Regional Cross Country Championships.
  • The Prep–Year 2 boys look forward to hosting their Grandparents and Special Friends on the following dates from 9.45am to 11.00am;
    • Year 1 – Friday 15 June
    • Year 2 – Thursday 14 June
    • Prep – Thursday 21 June


It’s cosy in the ELC

What a lovely way to end our wintery week in the ELC – with Pyjama Day celebrations. The boys all looked cuddly and cosy as they excitedly arrived this morning. The variety of PJ themes and designs across the four rooms was amazing! Each class enjoyed special indoor activities and experiences that highlighted the change in seasons and weather patterns. Rest time was extra special as the boys were already ready for bed in their PJs, and had brought their favourite teddies.

As next week is action-packed with events, please check Schoolstream for notifications/reminders. Our Parent Teacher interviews are being held over the next fortnight and we ask that you book a time with your son’s classroom teacher via synportal.

The ELC3 boys are looking forward to a visit from the Wild Action Company next Thursday morning for a hands-on experience with Australian animals. The boys will have the opportunity to get up close to a python, joey, owl and lots more!

The ELC4 boys are excitedly counting down the sleeps until their Twilight Torchlight session next Thursday. The boys are invited to explore the ELC for a night session (5–6.30pm), have dinner together and experience a variety of activities in the dark (with torches). The session is a highlight on the ELC calendar and we can’t wait for the boys’ reaction when they step back into the Centre at night.

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact your son’s classroom teacher. We wish all of our ELC families a wonderful long weekend and look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

Amelia Barrow
Director of the Early Learning Centre


Parenting Tip

Click here to view this week’s Parenting Tip: Developing your child’s emotional intelligence

Teaching and Learning

Gold Fever

As part of our Humanities Goldfields unit, the Year 5 boys travelled to Ballarat to experience the wonders of Sovereign Hill. The aim of this overnight camp was to immerse the boys in the culture of the 1800s and give them a first-hand understanding of what life would have been like as a miner, family member or shopkeeper in the goldfields. In small groups, boys wandered through the main street, panned for gold, travelled into the underground mines and took part in a Gold Fever education session and game. The boys also experienced 3°C weather during the Eureka Stockade Sound and Light show!

The boys came to appreciate the hardships and tough times that many people faced during this period, and involved themselves in hands-on activities to broaden their knowledge and understanding of life in the goldfields. The Chinese Camp, the Secret Chamber and the gold pour demonstration fascinated many boys, especially when they were told that the gold ingot in front of their eyes was worth $160,000!

It was wonderful to see the boys grab this opportunity with both hands and learn as much as they could in the two-day trip. The Year 5s should be proud of how they conducted themselves during the camp.

Jacqui Stenniken
Year 5 Teacher

MSO vs Tripod

Last Thursday, the Year 3 and 4 boys travelled to Hamer Hall to see ‘MSO vs Tripod’, a wonderful concert combining classical music and comedy. Tripod, a comedy trio, cleverly used legendary composer Leonard Bernstein’s cues to introduce the orchestral instruments and explain musical concepts such as harmony, timbre and emotion. The boys were in fits of laughter, as well as being in awe of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s sound and the magnificence of Hamer Hall.

It was a great opportunity for the boys to connect their school-based string instrument learning to a real-world experience. As part of their preparation for the concert, boys composed incongruous lyrics for the piece ‘Swan Lake’. Many schools attended the concert but Lachlan Ballantine was lucky enough to have his lyrics chosen by Tripod to be sung and played by the MSO! Many thanks to the parents and teachers who supported the boys on the day. It was a very inspiring excursion for our young musicians.

Hayley Blakiston
Coordinator, Junior School Music


For more on Teaching & Learning at BGS, visit Crowther Thinking.

JPG News

Save the Date – Junior School Ball – Friday 7 September 2018