A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

Bring a Dream to Life

Last June, I was astounded by the way our community came together to support the Annual Appeal. We had 431 members of the BGS community make donations, large and small, within the 24-hour window set aside for giving. It was an extraordinary Appeal and enabled us to offer two means-tested scholarships. That means a BGS education for two boys who would otherwise have missed out.

This year, we hope to establish an Indigenous Scholarship funded with the support of our community. We have strong links with two remote Indigenous schools – in Milikapiti and Pormpuraaw. And, currently, four boys from the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School are completing their education at BGS. The richness of cultural exchanges and the perspective that our Indigenous students bring to the School is incalculable. Via an Indigenous Scholarship, we seek to continue these relationships and ‘bring a dream to life’.

Click here to follow the countdown to our Annual Appeal and be part of something special. If you haven’t already watched the Appeal video please see below. And get ready for another astounding 24 hours on 22 May.

Have a great week. And a special mention to all BGS mums – have a great Mothers’ Day this Sunday.


From the Deputy Headmaster, Head of Secondary School, Dr Rachel Horton

As is tradition, this week in Chapel the boys recognised and celebrated Mothers’ Day during 2 services. Although it has been customary for a number of years for Year 7 mothers to be invited to a Mothers’ Day Chapel Service, this year we extended the invitation to all mothers to join their sons in the congregation. During the Years 8-12 Chapel, we heard reflections gathered from BGS boys over the years on their mothers which were heartfelt, touching and genuine and I was asked to reflect myself on mothers.

Of course, my mind went straight to my own Mum, the role she played in shaping my life and how sometimes you never quite appreciate the contributions your mum has made until you’re older. Father Tony then spoke about how the purpose and meaning of Mothers’ Day itself has changed over the years.

It does remain one day of the year where we honour and celebrate our mothers and the female role models in our lives. I do hope that we are all able to do that this weekend, but perhaps more importantly, to continue to show them our gratitude, love and respect throughout the year.

Dr Rachel Horton
Deputy Headmaster/Head of Secondary School


Rites of Passage

Rarely does one Year level have a week with so much added variety in some of the key areas of development. Creating, Being, Learning and Playing are our 4 key strategic areas of development for the boys.

This week the Year 10 boys and their families have had three unique opportunities and experiences beyond the classroom that fit with these strategic areas.  All three activities are part of the 9/10 B2M program.

Firstly, in the ‘Being’ quadrant; on Monday evening Dr Arne Rubinstein spoke with the parents of the Year 10s about the Rites of Passage program that all boys and their fathers will undertake later this year in November. It was a wide ranging and informative evening, with Dr Rubinstein drawing on his years of experience to outline both the necessity for a modern, relevant Rite of Passage and some of the key elements within it.

During the evening, 6 of the young men, now in Year 11, who completed their Rite of Passage last year, spoke to the parents. These young men and their fathers had chosen to give up their Monday evening to share their experience with the next group to go. The young men spoke remarkably well, the depth of their experience and their ability to articulate it was very impressive. 

They all took different things from the program and all went into it with very different expectations, but they were unequivocally positive. As a parent myself, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the room hoping my son turns out like those young men! The photo below shows the young men who spoke; Ethan Baines, Jacob Travers, Harrison Reilly, Noah McGrath and David Parlane (absent from the photo was Martin Kulesza)

Some of the key points that Dr Rubinstein raised included

  • The program is a Rite of Passage, not simply a Father/Son trip. The boys leave as boys and return at the very beginning of being considered a ‘man’. ‘Very new young men’ was Arne’s description.
  • All Year 10 boys will be able to participate – some boys do not have fathers, or have fathers for whom attendance is impossible – but these boys will not be excluded, they will be warmly and completely included. Exactly how will be on a case by case basis but a male mentor will be present for every boy.
  • While the fathers attend the program, the mothers are absolute keys to the program succeeding. Much more of this will be developed and elaborated upon at the ‘Mothers/Female Guardians Information session’ in the first week of Term 3 (Thursday 19 July).
  • There will also be a ‘Fathers/Male Guardians Information session’ in the first week of Term 3 (Wednesday 18 July).

If any parents were unable to attend, you are strongly encouraged to have a conversation with someone who did. You may also like to access Dr Rubinstein’s book, which outlines much of the theory behind his work ‘The Making of Men’, copies of which are available for you from Reception at the St Andrew’s End.

Again in the ‘Being’ quadrant, the boys in Year 10 had the opportunity, on Tuesday morning, to participate in their third ‘Tomorrow Man’ workshop. Under the guidance of Tom Harkin and his team of facilitators, these workshops are proving incredibly powerful and popular with the boys. The workshops are encouraging the boys to exercise their emotional muscles and to acknowledge that masculinity involves so much more than the traditional stereotype.

‘Removing the mask’ and being true to oneself was a key theme considered in the workshop this week. The workshop provided a ‘space’ where boys could speak openly and honestly about the pressures to conform and think about questions about their own identity, and what kind of man they want to become.

On Thursday, the boys then shifted into the ‘Creating’ quadrant. In the final week of this Term, all Year 10 boys, along with approximately 40 Year 9 boys will be participating with the Human Centered Design Thinking (HCDT) program. On Thursday, an external consultant, from the company NoTosh – a company who are Design Thinking leaders – spoke with the boys about the program.

Under the broad umbrella of ‘Social Entrepreneurship’ the program builds the boys’ capacity to think creatively, to innovate, to problem solve, to utilise their own strengths and respecting their peers’ strengths, to collaborate. While Thursday’s session was only a beginning, it is clear that this program will allow the boys to extend and challenge themselves – and potentially create some amazing outcomes….we’ll have to wait and see!

Peter Shepard
Deputy Head of Secondary School (Years 9-10)


Mother’s Day Breakfast and Chapel Service 

The annual Mother’s Day Chapel Service is one which I certainly look forward to each year. Having first experienced this tradition during my time at the Junior School, it is an event that is certainly high on my priority list. This year’s Year 7 service was no exception.

The opportunity for boys and their Mums to spend quality time together over breakfast is one that I’m sure is cherished by our wonderful mums. However, for me (and many teachers) what we love best is walking into Chapel and seeing mothers and sons sitting next to one another, often with an arm around a shoulder.

Father Tony presented a warm service that highlighted just how lucky we are to have strong, caring and loving mothers in our lives. Monica Campigli presented her memories and 5 tips for being a mother. I couldn’t help but think of my own Mum whilst Monica was speaking and I’m not ashamed to say that I didn’t exactly have dry eyes. Monica’s insights into the sacrifices our mum’s go through to give our boys the best possible opportunities in life really struck a chord with the other mothers, staff and boys. The boys were particularly appreciative of her comments on the computer game ‘Fortnite’!

Monica’s son and year 8 student Jonah responded to this speech with an account of his own. Jonah was grateful, full of pride and clearly blessed to have had the support and guidance of his mum.

To all the mothers, I wish you the happiest of days on Sunday. Even at the tender age of 38 I still need my mum. I still tell her all my worries and still let her know every time I see her (which is not nearly enough) that I love her. I know your boys probably don’t say it enough, but take it from me, they all love you very much!

Scott Davies
Head of House (Year 7)


Friends of Drama Association

On Monday 7 May Brighton Grammar hosted the first annual FODA (Friends of Drama Association) meet and greet. It was a wonderful occasion with parents of both drama and production students from Brighton and Firbank Grammar Schools in attendance. Many laughs were shared over some cheese and wine and parents also found out about how they could get involved behind the scenes. The importance of the arts in the development of our students and preparing them to face the world was a prominent topic of discussion.

We were also joined by the illustrious Marty Fields (OB 1979) who has gone on to have a highly successful career in stand-up comedy, film and television and musical theatre. Marty received the honour of becoming a ‘Drama Patron’, someone who is a champion of the arts since finishing at BGS. He shared some great anecdotes and had some positive messages to communicate to students wishing to get involved in the arts or have a career in them.

Michael Kent and Marty Fields (OB 1979)

All in all, it was a terrific occasion put on by a fantastic association that aims to support our boys in their dramatic endeavours.

Michael Kent
Head of Drama Curriculum and School Productions (7-12)


VCE Drama

On Tuesday 29 May the VCE Drama classes will be presenting their final ensemble performances. This is a free event in the Rosstrevor Hall for all staff, students and their families to attend. The ensemble performance is a non-naturalistic dramatic piece in response to a prescribed set of stimulus and criteria. The pieces are completely devised by the students and reflect roughly a term of work and assessment. The students would love to see as many friendly faces there to support them so come along and join in the fun.

When: Tuesday 29th May – 6:30pm
Where: Rosstrevor Hall – BGS
Duration: Approximately 60-80 minutes
Cost: Free


Melbourne University Mathematics Competition

On Wednesday 2 April 70 boys across the secondary school competed in the annual Melbourne University Mathematics competition. The competition consists of six or seven difficult problems that students are to solve over a two or three hour period, depending on the division they are in. We eagerly await to hear of any prize winners, which will be announced during Term 3.

Bryn Humberstone
Head of Mathematics and ICT Faculty


It’s Game Time Round 2

Today we had another competitive and thrilling round of ‘It’s Game Time’ in the Senior Years Library. The House teams were focused and determined, motivated by their desire to beat this week’s staff team (Dr Rachel Horton, Matt McLellan and Luke Stewart) and of course to replace Armstrong as the League’s current leaders!

This week’s Minute to Win It style challenges tested skills of precision, speed, agility, concentration and teamwork. Our staff team this week fought bravely and worked hard for victory but unfortunately they were no match for the student teams! Hancock were the winners of Stack Attack, Armstrong the winners of On the Edge and Rofe were the winners of Hanky Panky so all of the Houses demonstrated different skills and abilities.

However, these three House teams proved to be the most proficient in this week’s challenges and so we had a three-way tie for 1st place! Well done to Hancock, Armstrong and Rofe who were joint winners this week!

The leader board as it now stands:                       

1st Armstrong           22
2nd  Rofe                       20
3rd  Hancock                16
4th    Crowther               14
Joint 5th School                   6
Joint 5th Dixon                     6

Congratulations to Armstrong House who have maintained their position at the top of the leader board! We look forward to seeing which House can challenge Armstrong for the coveted position at the top of the ladder!

Paula Fletcher
Teacher Librarian / Head of Debating and Public Speaking


Generations in Jazz Festival

On Friday 4 May 31 boys and five staff representing Intermediate Stage Band and Senior Big Band arrived at school with bags packed and a sense of excitement in the air. After a quick rehearsal to touch up little sections in the pieces, we were off.

Following a quick rehearsal and six hour bus ride we arrived at the outskirts of the small town of Mount Gambier, SA, and along with 5,300 other high school music students from around the country piled into a big-top called the James Morrison pavilion for an incredible concert including performances by Patti Austin and James Morrison himself.

On Saturday, both the Senior Big Band and Intermediate Stage band performed in eisteddfod-like conditions representing the school extremely well and performing to a very high standard. After all the formalities of the competition were completed, the students were treated to an amazing concert from The Cat Empire with guest appearances from many artists who had come to perform for the weekend.

Sunday was the final concert and while our BGS boys didn’t place this year, they certainly did their best in a national forum and, in turn, did the school proud.

A huge thank you to all of the music staff, especially Kurt Abell for organising the logistics for BGS students, Friends of Music for donating the tour hoodies and, most importantly, instrumental teachers and ensemble directors who have worked with the boys to develop their skills on their respective instruments to make opportunities like this possible.

Bradley Todd
Classroom Music Teacher (3-4, 7-8)


Student Achievements

2018 Georgina Hope Foundation Swimming Championships, Sydney Olympic Park

Four BGS boys, Harrison Preston (Year 11), Ewan Smith (Year 10), Billy Pearson (Year 10), Lachie Jackett-Simpson (Year 10), along with coach Jason Cooper, travelled to Sydney Aquatic Centre and competed in six days of tough competition. Amongst the very best age group swimmers in the country, the boys all had a successful meet, swimming personal best times and gaining valuable experience. Some notable achievements were:

  • Harrison 9th: 100m breaststroke. 
  • Lachie 11th: 100m freestyle, 12th: 50m freestyle and 12th: 100m backstroke.
  • Ewan 14th: 200m backstroke, 15th: 400m individual medley.
  • The boys 15/16 age group 4x100m medley relay with Harrison, Ewan and Lachie finished 8th overall in Australia and broke the Firbank Aquastars Club Record!

2018 Victorian School Associations Competition (VSAC) 7 May, MSAC

Harrison, Ewan and Lachie were selected to represent the 73 strong APS Swimming team who competed on May 7th at MSAC.  All of our BGS representatives won gold:

  • Harrison Preston: Boys 15/16 Breaststroke Relay
  • Ewan Smith & Lachie Jackett-Simpson: Boys 15/16 Butterfly Relay
  • Lachie Jackett-Simpson: Boys 15/16 Freestyle Relay

Natalka Kostraby
Teacher in Charge – Swimming


1st Basketball

Last year the 1st Basketball team made the step up into the APS 1st Division. As a developing sport at BGS, the first few seasons were expected to be tough. Though knowing it’s going to be tough, and having the resilience to bounce back each week after convincing losses, are two completely different things.

Despite this, the boys have always shown true Tonner spirit – sticking together and making a commitment to themselves to improve whenever they step out on the court.

Heading into Saturday’s game against Scotch College we were again the obvious underdog, however, the team was determined to improve on previous games, and put everything we had been working toward into practice.

Co-Captains of Basketball Hayden Mitchell (Year 11) and Brad Hickey (Year 12) led from the front, and after an equal battle through the first half, BGS was able to put together an outstanding third quarter to be up by 7 points going into the final break. 

The final quarter was an inspired effort from BGS, but 8 minutes of basketball never felt so long.  Everything the boys had learned from previous games was put into action and the team was determined not to let this game slip. Max Benier (Year 10) made a huge play to put us up by 3 with less than a minute to play which forced Scotch to play the foul game. The team worked the clock to our advantage, and despite a last second shot from Scotch, we were able to hold on for a massive 2 point win – our first ever win in the APS 1st Division.

Although it was only one game, the emotion from the boys demonstrated how much this win meant to the team.  It will be a game we’ll remember for a long time!

Cam Taylor
1st Basketball Team Coach


Co-curricular sport is an important part of each boy’s education at BGS.

We hope that all BGS boys who play co-curricular sport enjoy their experience and learn about teamwork, competitive spirit, resilience, health and fitness and sportsmanship. Given co-curricular sport’s importance to BGS, we have commenced an external holistic review of our co-curricular sports program. This review will be led by an external consultant who has experience in both school settings and as a part of a high-performance national sporting body.

Phase 1 of this review has been completed, with a sample of staff, boys and parents from all BGS co-curricular sports being interviewed by our external consultant. We invite you to participate in Phase 2 of the review via a survey to seek your views based on your, and your son’s, experiences of BGS co-curricular sport (boys will be invited to participate in Phase 2 via a student survey).

Please click here to complete the survey, noting that instructions are contained on the opening page. Many thanks for your participation in this important process. 


Win a Semester of Private Music Tuition

Buy a ticket in the BGS Friends of Music Raffle and current and prospective Music students can win a semester of tuition (value $595).

Click here for flyer and buy tickets here.


Career News

Items in the Career News include: 

  • Dates to Diarise in Term 2
  • Law Week 2018
  • TSFX Year 11 & 12 Winter School Programs
  • News from Swinburne University
    • Sport Development/Leadership and Management
    • Architecture at Swinburne
  • Career in Health Information Management
  • DeakInspire 2018
  • UNSW CO-OP Program
  • Career as an Architect
  • Architecture, Construction & Surveying Degrees in Victoria  
  • Graphic, Interior & Visual Design Degrees in Victoria
  • Snapshot of The University of Otago (NZ) n 2018

If you would like any further information on any of these items, click here or see Dr Sophie Keele in the Careers Centre.


BGS Cooking Corner

Quick and nutritious breakfast and lunchbox ideas for busy parents and growing boys from BGS Psychologist and nutrition expert, Danielle Wolff.

French Toast 


– 1 large egg

– ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

– ¼ cup milk of your choice

– 2 slices wholemeal bread

– maple syrup and fruit for serving


  1. In a bowl whisk together the egg, cinnamon and milk.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and spray lightly with oil.
  3. Place the bread in the egg mixture and coat both sides evenly.
  4. Cook the bread slices on the pan for 2 minutes on each side until slightly brown.
  5. Drizzle the toast with maple syrup and serve with any fruit of your choice.


Secondary School Dates for the Diary

11 May
– #GoGreyInMayDay for RCD’s Brain Week
– Year 9 and 10 House Chess Competition
– UK Cricket Tour Trivia Night
– Year 9 and 10 House Chess Competition

14 May
– Intermediate Public Speaking Competition
– Year 11 & 12 House Chess Competition

15 May
– Intermediate Public Speaking Competition
– Year 11 & 12 House Chess Competition

16 May
– Intermediate Public Speaking Competition
– Year 11 & 12 House Chess Competition

17 May
– Intermediate Public Speaking Competition
– Year 10 Youth in Philanthropy Charity visits
– Year 11 & 12 House Chess Competition

18 May
– Intermediate Public Speaking Competition
– Ute Full of Food
– Year 11 & 12 House Chess Competition

22 May
– BGS Annual Appeal