A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

A new term awaits

Welcome back to a new term.

On a number of occasions over the break, I was reminded of the importance of balance and wellbeing in our lives. I reflected on how important it is that our boys are healthy physically, spiritually and mentally. I am optimistic that the holidays gave all boys the opportunity to take time out to gain some space and energy, and a sense of renewal.

During the break, I read Tim Winton’s new book, The Shepherd’s Hut. If you are a Winton fan, you’re unlikely to be disappointed by this tale; it is a challenging, thought-provoking and at times troubling read. The story is a comment on masculinity, mateship and persistence. It is also about how things can go wrong – but, as in almost all of Winton’s stories, there is hope and redemption to be found amidst the grimness.

The new term brings much energy and promise, with some amazing opportunities and challenges in store for our boys. I look forward to seeing you at a musical concert, drama production, parent session, sporting contest or at drop-off very soon.

Have a great week (and term).

From the Head of Secondary School – Dr Rachel Horton

Welcome back to Term 2. I hope you all found some time to spend with your family over Easter.

The term has started, much as last term finished, with a great deal going on. After an Easter Chapel service led by Father Tony Poole on Tuesday morning, BGS Vice-Captain Ethan O’Brien spoke to the boys. He spoke about the successes of Term 1 around developing the positive culture of the school, and encouraged boys to get involved with as much as they can, finding new ways for personal improvement each and every day. 

Last term the Prefect group, together with BGS Graphic Designer Ross Donnan, commissioned a mural to be painted in the atrium at the St Andrew’s end of the School. The mural was completed during the holidays and officially unveiled to the Secondary School students and staff on Wednesday morning – accompanied by some chantology, of course. The idea was to use a bare space in a well-used area (largely due to its location near food in the Tuckshop!) to reinforce the overarching theme for the year, ‘As One’. The mural looks fantastic and has a great deal of meaning to the boys. Hopefully it will continue to inspire them throughout the year.

Our ‘As One’ Wall

Welcome back to Term 2!

I hope that over the holidays you had an opportunity to relax to prepare for what I am sure will be another exciting and challenging term. On Wednesday morning, the entire Secondary School gathered in the Atrium to initiate our new ‘Wall’. Thanks to the hard work of Ross Donnan, the Secondary School has been presented with a mural that has not only brought life to the Atrium, but more importantly serves as a reminder of our goal to ‘come to school better men today than the men we were yesterday’.  This mural visually represents what we are trying to achieve this year – a whole Secondary School successfully brought together ‘As One’.

There is perhaps no better example of this than when our Year 7–12 students competed in House Athletics on Wednesday afternoon, battling together in relays and tunnel ball in an attempt to win the House Athletics cup. Never before in a House Athletics competition have we had Year 7 and 8 boys join in with the Year 9–12 boys, and I think it goes to show how far we have come as a Secondary School this year. Already this term we have made history within our School – something that both students and teachers should be commended for. I hope that all of you get a chance to see our new ‘Wall’ in person, and that Term 2 is filled with many successes.

Brad Marais
School Captain

Year 12 Formal

On the last day of Term 1, there was mass excitement among the Year 12 group, not only for the end of term but also around the Formal that night.

This year’s theme was ‘Streets of London’ and a lot of work behind the scenes meant the boys and their partners were greeted by London landmarks when they entered the International, complete with British flags, umbrellas and a London postbox. Thanks to the parents for all the organisation, especially Sarah and Graeme Phillips and Danielle and Matt O’Brien as well as many others. Special thanks also to Sue and Rob Marais for their coordination of the whole event.

A London cab stationed at the entrance welcomed the couples on arrival. Lots of photos were taken out the front before everyone entered the London Street scene. A fantastic night ensued with dancing, entertainment from Ned Bellmaine, a welcome by School Captain Brad Marais and the ever-popular photo booth!

I am sure that all those who attended will remember the evening for years to come as a fitting celebration as part of their final year.

David Liddle
Deputy Head (Years 11–12)


The Easter break arrived at a good time for Years 9 and 10. It gave the boys a chance to stop and reset for the next part of the year. This is particularly relevant when you consider their involvement in the 9/10 B2M program.

9/10 B2M is a series of experiences and programs in which the boys participate over the course of their Years 9 and 10 at BGS. While the boys will participate in various activities, from Service Journeys through creativity programs, workshops around masculinity and a variety of Outdoor Educational journeys to a Rite of Passage program, all are designed with an overall goal in mind. The overarching aim of 9/10 B2M is to help BGS produce young men who understand what it is to be a good, successful man. A man who will make a positive contribution to his community and to broader society.

B2M kicked-off during Term 1 with the Year 9s in weekly planning meetings before completing and then reflecting on the Great South West Journey, and the Year 10s doing the first two of six Tomorrow Man (positive masculinity) workshops.

The program will build during Term 2. Year 9s will complete Service Journeys, begin their own Tomorrow Man workshop series and prepare for Connor’s Run while the Year 10s will continue with Tomorrow Man workshops, complete the first BGS Human Centred Design Thinking program and prepare for their World Class Journeys later in the year.

The Service Journeys at Year 9 aim to help our boys, realise, empathise and actualise. Or, as it was explained to the boys, “think, feel, do”. While the boys have chosen from a range of trip options and will be completing very different trips, all are designed to enable them to learn about other people or aspects of the environment, feel something for these people or places and then do something to help.

The major activity this term for the Year 10s, and a number of Year 9s who have opted in as their Service Journey, will be the Human Centred Design Thinking (HCDT) program, which occurs in the final week of term. This will be a different week of school for the boys as they learn the design thinking process by living it. Working in teams within a broad theme of Social Entrepreneurship, they’ll learn about creativity, resilience (mentally, not physically) and collaboration beyond friendship groups. Work begins soon for the boys and further details of this exciting program will be released over the coming weeks. Advance notice – the program will conclude with an ‘Expo’ on the last Friday of Term 2 (Friday 22 June); parents will be invited and encouraged to attend to witness some of the incredible thinking our boys are capable of!

While we are utilising external companies and experts to support us in some aspects of the B2M program, such as NoTosh for the HCDT program, Tomorrow’s Architects for the Tomorrow Man workshops and the Rites of Passage Institute for the finale in Year 10, the Rites of Passage program, our staff are also heavily invested in the development and delivery of these programs. It is an exciting time to be a staff member at BGS, or a student in the B2M program – and we hope that this excitement extends to our parents and community as you become increasingly aware of the amazing component parts of the program.

If you have any questions about 9/10 B2M, please direct them to Peter  Shepard:

DNA Decoded

Last term, eight Visual Communication Design students were fortunate to hear Dr Lior Rauchberger at a BGS  Breakfast Bios event, held at the Brighton International.

Although officially a medical doctor, Lior is equally passionate about technology and innovation.

Today, he works in applying new technologies for health, education and business. This includes his consumer genetics business myDNA, and technology businesses Vivi and Urban Intelligence.

Rauchberger spoke about his new product, myDNA, which uses gene decoding to help individuals make informed decisions about what to eat, which medications may work best, and the most appropriate forms of exercise.

Dr Lior Rauchberger (back) with Matthew Wardell (Head of VCD, Years 9–VCE) and VCD students at BGS Breakfast Bios.


Teaching & Learning

BGS Bods

As you know, we have amazing teachers at BGS. In ‘BGS Bods’, we’ll share some of their motivations and aims with you. If there is any teacher in particular from whom you’d like to hear, please let us know at hello@brightongrammar.vic.edu.au. This week, our new Head of Drama Curriculum and School Productions (Years 7–12), Michael Kent.

  1. Why do you teach?
    Teaching for me is all about the reward of helping a student achieve their best, whether that be academically or in the fantastic co-curricular programs offered in school.
  2. Why do you teach at BGS?
    The Brighton Grammar School, students and community are beyond comparison. The students have so much opportunity to succeed in life and I want to be there with them, helping them on their journey to achieve their best.
  3. What do you want a student to get from having known you?
    A positive outlook and approach to expressing themselves and performing.
  4. What is the most important life lesson you want a student to take away from your class/subject?
    “Drama changes lives.” –Mr G (2007) I wholeheartedly believe in this statement. Drama is one of the most practical ‘real-world’ subjects a student can pick. It prepares them to be able to express themselves with confidence, work in teams and develop critical thinking. I always say that the subject of drama does not necessarily exist to train students to become actors but rather prepare them to go out and achieve whatever their desired careers are.
  5. How do you ensure that each student will learn how to learn?
    I am very transparent with students in class when it comes to their learning and ask them to think about themselves as life-long learners and how they can learn best. By making students aware of their influence in their own learning, I try to empower them to not only learn in the classroom but also beyond when their teachers are not around.
  6. Anything else you’d like to say?
    I hope students continue to pick drama as a subject and get involved in the school production either on stage or behind the scenes. We have a lot of fun, learn a great deal along the way and create magic together. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first term at Brighton Grammar and look forward to the future, working with the fantastic students at the school.


Click here to view this week’s Crowther Thinking.

Victorian State Touch Football Championships (Eastern Region) Update

Late last term, BGS sent two teams to compete at the U15 Victorian Touch Football State Championships (Eastern Region) at Greaves Reserve, Dandenong. 

Our first team (BGS Blue) won five of their six games, narrowly losing (though with a higher touchdown percentage!) to eventual champions Lavalla College. They ultimately finished in 2nd place.

BGS Red (2nd team) also performed commendably and came away with a 3rd place result.

This was the culmination of the Touch Football season and the players impressed their coaches with some great team performances and individual brilliance. At BGS, we would like to recognise the efforts of the players and coaches, and thank the parents who showed their support by attending the games.

BGS Blue



China Music Tour

In the final week of Term 1, an excited group of 42 students and 5 staff from Firbank and Brighton Grammar embarked on a combined music tour to Hong Kong and China. Having started rehearsals in October last year, the students were more than ready to put their hard work on show, and keen to meet their first audiences in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong leg of the tour began with a day of sightseeing and sampling the local cuisine at the famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant, as well as a chance for some early souvenir purchases at the Temple Street Night Markets. With no rest for the weary, we launched into our first performance on the second day, visiting the Chiu Lut Sat Memorial School for a concert and student exchange. The students also visited Lantau Island, where they took a cable car ride to see the world’s tallest sitting bronze Buddha before putting on an outdoor concert at the Citygate Shopping Outlet. There, they attracted a large crowd, including several holidaying Australians.

From there, the tour moved to Nanjing, one of the Ancient Capitals of China, situated on the Yangtze River. During this portion of the trip, the group performed at another three schools, including the Jinling High School, where a number of local students are enrolled in VCE subjects. After some additional sightseeing days, the group made its way to our final destination – Beijing!

Our first day in Beijing started with a bucket-list item for many – a walk on the Great Wall of China. The weather was superb, and the students relished the chance to stretch their legs on an historical marvel. The next three days saw the team really hit their stride with three consecutive performances, mixed in with more sightseeing at Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City, Kung-Fu and acrobatics shows, more shopping, and a local cooking class for some of the students.

Across a busy two and a half weeks, the students from both schools performed spectacularly, both on and off the stage. They launched themselves headfirst into all aspects of the tour, including performances, sightseeing, cultural exchanges with local students, as well as the significant logistical challenge of transporting over 100 pieces of luggage and instruments through four international airports. The tour was a great opportunity for the students to come together to share their love of music across different countries and cultures, and the friendships and experiences gained will enrich the lives of these young musicians for years to come.

Kurt Abell
Acting Head of Instrumental Music (Years 3-12)

Debating Round 2

This week we had our 2nd round of competitive debates at BGS. Unfortunately, the tiredness and business of the term caught up with our boys and we only claimed two victories! Well done to B Grade Team 1 (Tom Banfield, Connor McConville and William Hughes) and C Grade Team 1 (Liam Konidaris, Sam Banfield and James Sherborne). Congratulations also go to Liam, who was awarded best speaker in his debate, and Tom and Connor, who scored joint highest marks in their debate.

Despite only achieving two wins, the boys spoke well in all debates and created convincing arguments for difficult topics. We had some particularly impressive performances from Felix Gong and Maxim Christodoulou, who were awarded best speakers in their debates despite their teams losing overall. We also witnessed great team efforts, with boys stepping in to debate at short notice and team members again coming along to support their speakers.

I hope all the boys enjoyed a well-deserved break and look forward to our 3rd round of debates on Wednesday 9 May, when I’m sure we’ll be back in fighting form!

Paula Fletcher
Debating and Public Speaking Coordinator

New Zealand Rugby Tour

On 3 April, 34 boys (Year 10 to Year 12) set off Christchurch, New Zealand, for the 2018 Rugby Tour. The intention of the trip was to immerse boys in a rugby environment for 8 days, expose them to high-level opposition, receive coaching from some of the world’s most elite, and be involved with the culture, customs, and tradition of New Zealand. The boys were involved in a variety of activities, including go-carting, paintballing, and visits to Hanmer Hot Springs and the home of Canterbury Crusaders (the champions of Super Rugby). Of all of the activities, one of the highlights was the ‘Ko Tane’ cultural experience, where our boys were welcomed by a Maori tribe, who performed various songs, dances, and rituals. Dinner for the evening was provided in the form of a ‘hangi’ (slowed cooked meat and vegetables, cooked in the ground with coals over several hours), and throughout the night, the boys tried their hand at performing the world famous ‘Ka Mate’ haka, tongues and all!

Both teams—Under 16s (Year 10s) and Opens (Year 11s and 12s)—played 3 games against exceptionally strong opposition: Burnside High School, Lincoln High School, and Christchurch Boys’ High School. Scores and results weren’t considered important on this tour, as development for the coming season was a priority; however, the Opens victory against Christchurch Boys’ High School was a highlight of the tour and will live long in the memories of the boys and staff. We were offered a challenge at the start of the game, in the form of the CBHS haka, ‘Ngā Tamatane o Otautahi’ – in a physically bruising nail-biter, our boys prevailed, winning 27 – 24. 

Thank you to all the parents who travelled to lend their support, and to the staff that were involved in running the tour – Ms Bridget Duckham, Mr Jack Hollingsworth, Mr Eric Tom and Mr Billy Gray. 

Our first game of the season is on Saturday 28 April, at 11.15 on the Wilson Recreation Reserve against Haileybury. Get down and support the boys!

Joshua Moore
Head of Rugby


It’s Game Time

During Term 2, we are running a Games League in the Senior Library on Tuesday lunchtimes. The aim is to get the boys involved in some good old-fashioned team games that do not use technology, that are fun and that challenge a range of skills. We also want to give the boys an interactive and enjoyable activity in which to participate and to watch during the colder months.

Each week there will be a new game or challenge, in which a team of four students from each House will compete. To add to the excitement, we will have at least one guest staff team competing each week.

Round 1 begins next week on Tuesday 24 April. The week’s challenges will be inspired by the TV game show Minute to Win It. We’re looking forward to lots of entertainment, laughter, teamwork, enthusiastic victories and gracious defeats. Watch out for the highlights!

Come to Chicago!

Set in the legendary city during the roaring jazz hot’ ’20s, Chicago tells the story of two rival vaudevillian murderesses locked up in Cook County Jail. The musical is renowned for its constant show-stoppers, witty humour and incredible ‘Fosse’ choreography.

This is the first time Brighton and Firbank have done a show like this and it is sure to razzle dazzle and all that jazz!

The show is running 24–26 May – book here.

Michael Kent
Head of School Productions (7–12)

Grammarian 2017

Is your copy taking pride of place on your coffee table?


It’s almost here – our new Strength and Conditioning Centre

And we’re sharing it with you, the BGS community!

Exercise body AND mind in BGS’s cutting-edge facility due for completion mid-2018 

  • Exciting mix of small-group classes
  • Personalised training and wellbeing programs
  • Biometric and mindfulness technology
  • Expert, friendly staff
  • Affordable community rates
  • Easy bookings via our app

Click here to find out more and register your interest.

Career News

Items in the Career News include – 

  • Dates to diarise in Term 2
  • ACN Nursing and Health Expo
  • VCE and Careers Expo 2018
  • Inside Monash Series 2018
  • University of Melbourne; My Future Series
  • Swinburne University – Industry Partners
  • Snapshot of the University of Queensland
  • Engineering Degrees in Victoria

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

Bayside Women’s Soirée at BGS

This event, presented by the Office of Tim Wilson MP and Engaging Women, will be held in the BGS Wellbeing Centre on 17 May. A panel of women who are at the top of their game will share key insights into how we can all ‘Press for Progress’. Bubbly on arrival and canapés. Any surplus from ticket sales will be donated to Our Watch to support ending violence against women and their children. Book here.

BGS Cooking Corner

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

Chocolate Mousse Oats


– 1/2 ripe avocado
– 1/2 cup oats
– 1/3 cup milk of your choice
– 1/4 cup yoghurt
– 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
– 1 teaspoon honey
– 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds


  1. Mash avocado with a fork until a smooth paste is formed.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.
  3. Top with your choice of fruits, nuts or seeds.

This recipe can be made the night before for a quick grab-and-go breakfast or snack.

Secondary School Dates for the Diary

8 May
Year 7 Mother & Son Breakfast – book now

24, 25, 26 May
Chicago (Senior Years production) – book now