A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

This week sees the launch of a new podcast series through our Understanding Boys website. In this series, Deputy Headmaster and Head of Crowther, Dr Ray Swann, has conversations with guests from a variety of fields including former CEO of World Vision Australia, Rev Tim Costello; stage and screen actor, Lisa McCune; and parent educator, Steve Biddulph AM.

Dr Swann asks our guests two central questions: what does it take to be a good man these days? and, if you had a story that you could tell a 14 year old boy (and he’d listen), what would that story be? This is a series worth listening to and another great Crowther initiative.

Dr Swann’s excellent work at BGS has led him to be recognised by The Educator Magazine as one of Australia’s top 50 educators who are leading the nation’s schools into the 21st century. I am sure you will join me in congratulating him on this well deserved award.

Have a great week.


From the Director of Co-Curriculum – Christian Neeson

BGS Winter Sport
This persistent winter belies a change in seasons. As polo wrestles the conditions, skiers and boarders lean in to danger and track and field events run from the rain, we pause to celebrate an APS winter season. This week, we come together as squads to celebrate the achievements, give thanks to our remarkable coaching staff and observe with gratitude the wins and lessons of the winter season past. Thank you to our support staff: Mr Tim Marshall, Ms Andrea Barlow and Mr Simon McPhee for their hard work and to all our coaching staff for their guidance and good counsel.

The relationship between family and school is uniquely displayed when young men strive in sport for better things. Thank you to all our sporting families for their support and resilience. Whether you were running the boundary, waving the flags or providing growing bodies with the fuel required, thank you for your time and efforts this season. To the members of the Wicks, Dalziel, BGS United and Rugby Clubs: thank you for your unconditional support of our staff and boys. You are our strength and we know that in the future you will continue to volunteer selflessly in great spirit.

Individually we can congratulate Brad Marais (Hockey), Felix Flockart (AFL), Oscar Lewis (AFL), Joshua Le Grice (AFL), Campbell Tweedie (AFL), Louis Butler (AFL), Hayden Mitchell (Basketball), Jovaan Ugrinovski (Soccer), Jack Clarkson (Soccer) and Noah McGrath (Soccer) on their selection as APS representatives. We also congratulate Joshua Canham on his selection into the Melbourne Rebels U19 squad despite being injured for this season.

Team success this season can be found in the way we competed. Watching the Wallabies struggle at Eden Park against a wounded All Blacks, reminded me of an old coach who once said ‘you are never as good or bad as you think you are.’ The building of Annandale is done. The House stands, the home is yet to be rebuilt. Whether on the Wilson, the Mitchell, at Brighton Secondary, in our Gym or on the Crowther, our challenge is to recreate our fortress.

There is a much older understanding that will guide us in this rebuild. The Greek lyrical poet Archilochus wrote, ‘We don’t rise to the level of your expectations, we fall to the level of your training.’ I encourage every Tonner to complete their learning by getting the feedback they require from their coaching staff. Our teams have demonstrated respect, passion and integrity but now it is time to hold ourselves accountable to our own performance: bring our hunger to be a better man in constructing a pathway forward and lean on our fellow Tonners for advice and support.


Drug and Alcohol Training Session

Parents and staff from Firbank Grammar and Brighton Grammar garnered valuable education on drug and alcohol issues at a recent training session by Paul Dillon, of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia (DARTA). Supported with high quality research, Paul set the following messages:

  • Know where your child is, who they are with, and when they will be home
  • Be positive role models to your teens on how you socialise with alcohol
  • Establish clear rules and consequences around parties, dance events, festivals and nightclubs
  • Keep the lines of communication open – know their friends, show an interest in what they do, let them know of your concerns
  • Be part of a plan if something goes amiss – no questions asked
  • Discuss what to do in an emergency, basic first aid and CPR and how to call 000
  • Connect positively with your teen and find the time, at least once a week, to really talk and listen to them.

To learn more follow DARTA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


Performing Arts Q&A with Lisa McCune and Denis Follington

Last week, VCE Performing Arts students were lucky enough to attend a Q&A session with the illustrious Lisa McCune and Denis Follington. Lisa, the four-time Gold Logie-winning actress and recipient of multiple awards for her achievements on the stage, spoke to the students about her experiences applying for courses and getting started in the industry. Denis Follington, one of Lisa’s teachers and mentors, who helped set up and also run the most prestigious musical theatre course in Australia (WAAPA), gave advice on how to prepare for applications for Performing Arts courses and also provided tips on how to stand out in an audition. The students gained valuable insight and were able to ask some burning questions.

Denis Follington and Lisa McCune meet drama students

‘The session really opened my eyes about the inner workings of the industry and gave me some handy tips that I can use when I audition for courses’  – Matthew Young (Year 12)

Our thanks to Lisa and Denis for their generosity in sharing their experiences and knowledge with the students, as many prepare to audition for a range of courses in the performing arts later this year.

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


St Kilda Mums’ Charity

Over the past few weeks, Dixon House students have been raising awareness and collecting donations for St Kilda Mums, a not for profit charity with a goal to make sure children and families are happy, healthy and safe. They do this by collecting, sorting and redistributing essential nursery equipment, clothing, books and toys for babies and school aged children.

Initiated by Dixon House Captain Louis Butler, and assisted by Vice Captains Caspar Tremlett and Hayden Mitchell, with Cam Glasgow, Dixon House raised over $200 which was spent on purchasing essential items requested by St Kilda Mums this winter. 

The boys delivered the goods to St Kilda Mums’ Clayton warehouse last week, had a tour of the facilities and talked about how Dixon House students can further support the charity.  There are opportunities for our boys to assist in the sorting and packing of goods in the warehouse, so our captains will look at adding this service for 2020.

Ben White
Head of Dixon House


Year 11 Respectful Relations

Brighton Grammar is a lead school in respectful relations and views this as an important part of teaching boys. As part of Leading and Learning, all Year 11 boys attended a lecture on respectful relations run by Family Planning.

Guest presenter Athi focussed on healthy relationships and rights and responsibilities, and was open and forthright in answering the boys’ questions. Topics included: consent, safe sex, looking after yourself in a relationship and how to be thoughtful of others.

I encourage you to discuss the session with your sons.

David Liddle
Deputy Head of Secondary School (Years 11–12)


Book Week 

The Urwin Centre Library has been a hive of activity during Book Week, with a Book Fair and Read-a-thon, both in support of the Fiji Book Drive and the Indigenous Reading Program, a Battle of the Books competition and Comic Con.

Students also took part in a staff versus student debate and enjoyed a presentation from visiting author, Robert Newton.  

The Staff vs Student Debate was a great activity to participate in; nothing is better than having a bit of rivalry with the teachers! We had two days to prepare, and in that time we put together some pretty good arguments. However, on the day, we were completely outplayed by the staff team. The casual nature of their debates (opposed to our neat, structured ones) won over the audience in the end. We had great fun, with a few lighthearted roasts involved. I wish I could do it again.

Will Fearn
Year 8


One of my favourite authors, Robert Newton, visited BGS this week. Robert inspired us to continue reading. He taught us a very important message, ‘Don’t focus on one thing at your time in school, do as many things as you possibly can, because some of your plans might change.’ He then read us a chapter of his book, Runner. I cannot wait to read and analyse Robert’s book, Runner, in Term 4.

Ethan Rowe
Year 7


Transforming lives one light, one child, one community at a time 

Did you know that 1.4 billion people worldwide don’t have safe or reliable lighting options? 

We are looking for volunteers to offer an hour of their time to build a solar powered light that will be sent to a student overseas. This is an initiative of SolarBuddy, an Australian charity dedicated to empowering school students to help improve the lives of children living in light poverty.

Once the sun goes down, many children no longer have access to safe or reliable lighting and have to rely on dangerous options like kerosene lamps that can have detrimental effects on their health and the environment.

With this one light, the recipient will be able to spend on average 78% more time studying, as well as decrease weekly expenditure on kerosene lamps by about 80%.

Often the problems facing the world can seem too great or we just do not know where to start. This is our chance to help.

On a personal level, participants will have the chance to develop intangible skills such as collaboration, inter-cultural understanding, creative and critical thinking, which are all useful skills for the work place.

We are aiming to run two sessions after school in Term 4. Interested students should email Ms Simone Lewis.

Ben Sexton
Solarbuddy Program Coordinator (Year 11)


Pink Dinner  – Final call for donations

We have received some wonderful donations for our live auction and raffles but there is still time to make your contribution.  Please contact Georgie Girardau or 0412 854 754 by Friday 23 August.  All donations will be gratefully received and donors will be acknowledged at the Pink Dinner. Funds raised on the night will be donated to the St Kilda Mums charity.

Dates for the diary