A Word from the Headmaster – Ross Featherston

Another sign we are on the right track with academics

This morning, we received our 2018 NAPLAN results (parents of Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 boys will receive their son’s individual results soon). NAPLAN results are not an all-encompassing tool of measurement and do not tell the whole story of academic success; however, they do provide us with one measure to monitor the effectiveness of our focus on an improved academic culture via our Effective Learner Model.

When reviewing the results, we zone in particularly on the progress that each cohort makes across two years – from Year 3 to Year 5, Year 5 to Year 7 and Year 7 to Year 9. The 2018 results demonstrate:

  • excellent overall progress made by both our Year 7 and Year 9 cohorts, with some particularly pleasing gains made in the domains of Numeracy and Writing
  • excellent gains made by our Year 5 cohort in the domains of Reading and Writing.

Overall, we are very pleased with this year’s results. They are another strong indicator that in terms of the academic component of our boys’ development, we are on the right track, and that our school-wide Effective Learner Model approach to teaching and learning is having a significant impact.


From the Deputy Head of Secondary School (11–12), David Liddle

House spirit and Fathers’ Day celebrations

On Monday, all boys in Years 7 to 12 were involved in the Annual House Swimming Carnival. This event provided one of the final opportunities for Year 12 House leaders to organise their Houses en masse.

Thanks to the great organisation of Heads of House, led by Ben White and ably assisted by the Operations team, the event generated an atmosphere of excitement and was a great success.

Well done to Crowther House, who successfully defended their title and have now won the event for the past five years!

On Tuesday, we celebrated Health and PE week in tutor time with an array of Crossfit games and a Tug of War. The challenges culminated in the BGS Gift, which was won comfortably by Aaron Leferink even given a 15-metre penalty!

 We have also been celebrating Fathers’ Day this week. Year 7 students and their fathers had breakfast and a Chapel Service on Tuesday and on Wednesday Bishop Urwin led a Fathers’ Day Chapel. Cameron Berry (Year 12 Dixon) and his father reflected on their experiences as father and son and the choir sang ‘Till the stars fall from the sky’.

Finally, congratulations to the Water Polo team of Max Post, Harry Kirkham, Ben Paynter, Harry Preston, Sam Hayes, Jordan Seagar, Tom Farrelly, Harry Mathews, James Dickson and Archie Jackson, who won the Victorian Secondary Schools Challenge Div. 2 Open Final for Water Polo on Tuesday. James Dickson was named MVP for the final, which BGS won 7–2.


Year 7 Fathers’ Day Breakfast and Chapel

The Year 7 Fathers’ Day Breakfast & Chapel Service was attended by over 50 Year 7 fathers on Tuesday morning. After a delicious hot breakfast in the St Andrew’s Church Hall, our Year 7 boys and the aforementioned fathers enjoyed a rousing service led by Fr Chester Lord. Richard Bowen, a current Year 8 father and Old Boy of the school, was our guest speaker for the morning and spoke about his experiences as both a son and a father to three children. He was thanked by son Zach (Year 8), who had the right of reply!

Richard Bowen, son Zach and Travis Hopgood (Deputy Head of Secondary School, Years 7–8)

Reflecting on the Holocaust

On 22 August, three classes of Year 10 History students visited the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Elsternwick accompanied by their classroom teachers and assisted by Joshua Moore. Over the next two hours, the boys listened carefully to the origins and nature of the Holocaust. 

Holocaust survivor Jack Fogal’s account of his early life compelled the boys. Jack described his experience of being snatched off the street at 15 years of age from his hometown in Poland, never to see any of his family again. He spoke of how the next five years of his life – those crucial adolescent years – were lost in labour camps. He just survived, receiving only starvation rations and avoiding several near misses. Jack feels that his youthful naivety assisted him in maintaining hope. The boys listened to Jack’s story with both awe and revulsion.

The boys also received a tour of the Centre’s museum by volunteer descendants of Holocaust survivors.

It was pleasing that all the boys readily appreciated the privileged position they were in and the sacred nature of the Centre. This was reflected by the heartfelt thankyous and handshaking the boys gave Jack and the guides upon departure. The students later reflected upon their visit, with one boy’s comments echoing many: “I felt disgust as to how Hitler and his fellow Nazis could kill six million people just for being a small bit different.”

For many years, Brighton Grammar School has taken every Year 10 boy to visit the Jewish Holocaust Centre as part of their study of World War II. We thank the Centre for continuing to facilitate this ongoing relationship.

Mark Sainsbery
History Curriculum Co-ordinator, Years 9–12


Annual Senior Public Speaking Competition

We held our annual Senior Public Speaking Competition earlier in August. All Year 11 and 12 students were invited to compete but six keen individuals took on the challenge of improving their speech-writing skills and delivery. The students had to complete a one-minute impromptu speech on the topic of ‘Intelligence is not enough’. They had only minute to prepare their speeches on the unseen topic and, as always, the impromptu round of speeches stretched and challenged them.

In the second round, the participants delivered a 5–6 minute speech on a topic of their choice. The students delivered their speeches with poise and clarity. Topics included the death penalty, music censorship, ISIS and the media, and a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

It was a close competition. Ethan O’Brien and Felix Gong scored the same points for their prepared speeches but Felix’s impromptu speech finally secured him the win. Congratulations Felix!

Paula Fletcher
Head of Debating and Public Speaking


BGS Snowsports

In 2018, BGS Snowsports has begun arguably their most successful season ever. Sixty-four boys from Prep to Year 12 took part in the Victorian Interschools Snowsports Championships at Mt Buller last week. Of these, 26 boys qualified for the Australian Interschools, which will take place at Perisher in the coming weeks. BGS placed third as a boys’ secondary school. This follows a number of record years and is a testament to the dedicated parent group and the supportive team spirit exhibited by the boys.

Every boy was integral to the performance of the team, but there were some particularly outstanding achievements:

  • Toby Jones, Max Mailing and Harrison Charlton Division 6 (Prep–Year 2) won gold in the Ski Cross, with Toby receiving individual gold and Max individual silver.
  • Michael Jonker, Daniel Abbott and Trent Mailing won gold in the Division 1 Slopestyle, with Michael placing 3rd individually.
  • The Division 2 Snowboard team of Flynn Cooper, Reece Smart and Harry Wright placed 1st in Boardercross.
  • Will Middlemiss has begun an outstanding season again, winning the Victorian title for Division 1 Cross Country Classic skiing.
  • Martin Kulesza, Daniel Abbott, Noah Jones and Thomas Bartels won gold in the ‘blue ribbon’ Division 1 (Years 11–12) Alpine Giant Slalom (GS), with Martin placing 3rd individually in Alpine GS. This is the first time this team result has been achieved by Brighton Grammar.

It’s been an outstanding season so far and a sign of a bright future for BGS Snowsports.

Mathew Steed
TIC Snowsports


B2M Year 10 World Class Journeys

Kakadu National Park

It had been a cold morning in Melbourne, so the team welcomed the heat as we stepped off the plane in Darwin. We set off the following morning on a five-hour drive to Kakadu National Park the following day. A night arrival into camp was rewarded the following day with an explore up Dinner Creek and a relaxing afternoon swimming at a beautiful waterfall. The days to follow were full of rock-hopping adventures, swimming in the most amazing clear water holes beneath waterfalls, star gazing, croc spotting (we didn’t spot any), avoiding water buffalo, searching for Indigenous art, and a massive day of venturing through Freezing Gorge and doing a pack float.

 “The Kakadu experience was a phenomenal one. A feeling of being completely immersed by nature, off the beaten path and truly engaging with your surroundings. I will never forget the surreal experience of swimming through the sheer cliff faces of Freezing Gorge, or spending hours relaxing in some beautiful water holes. Overall the camp was a wild adventure that allowed me to take in the amazing surroundings of Kakadu”. (Billy Pearson)

Carly West
Outdoor Education Program Co-ordinator


New Zealand Adventure

In eight days, we explored the amazing South Island of New Zealand, discovering unforgettable winter landscapes and following the paths of early NZ mountaineering pioneers as we went. The camp included a fun and action‐packed lineup that left us feeling challenged and inspired from start to finish, all while putting our outdoor education skills to the test in a real‐life setting. From Queenstown to Christchurch, this journey covered everything from Nordic skiing, cycling, snowshoeing and avalanche rescue to hiking, jet boating and a visit to the Sir Edmund Hilary Museum at Aoraki/Mt Cook Village. We even built our own snow cave. The tour was designed to be human-powered, so we travelled as much as possible by foot and bike to discover the wonders of the Southern Alps.

Highlights of the camp included:

  • Cycling through forest and alongside the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps 
  • Snowshoeing in the Two Thumb mountain range
  • Two nights surrounded by snow in the secluded Rex Simpson Alpine Hut 
  • An exhilarating boat ride down the Kawarau and Shotover rivers on the K‐Jet
  • Learning avalanche rescue techniques and snow cave building
  • Cross-country skiing at NZ’s only dedicated cross-country ski resort.

Some of the perks of the camp were the cooked breakfasts and dinners, beds and cabins, and time to roam Queenstown and Wanaka.

According to the boys, the NZ camp was “the perfect combination of challenge, reward and enjoyment”, “the best camp in my 15 years at BGS”, “the experience of a lifetime” and “a trip not worth missing out on”.

See the teacher-made video of the NZ tour here.

This was an amazing experience and one which I’ll never forget. I urge any Year 9 to select this camp next year as it’s an unreal journey.

Tommy Colaci
Year 10


Fiji Sea Kayak Journey

Early on a Thursday morning, my peers and I would experience our last burst of cold Melbourne weather, as we were about to embark on our world-class journey to Nadi, Fiji, where we would transfer to the beautiful Yasawa Islands filled with friendly locals and a complete immersion within their culture. Following our arrival in Nadi, we stayed one night at Nadi Bay Resort before we caught a ferry to our first kayaking destination, Tavewa Island (five hours from the mainland). Still getting used to our surroundings, we organised ourselves so we could get straight into the trip.

For the next week, we all experienced something that we will undoubtedly never forget for the rest of the lives.

The first highlight of the trip for me was the Fijian Lovo, a delicious feast put together by the locals of Tavewa, to whom I extend my full gratitude. This meal was particularly special because of the method used to cook it; it was cooked under soil and wrapped in banana leaves. The water we kayaked on was unreal, being completely transparent and having a beautiful blue colour.

My favourite part of the trip had to be staying in a village and meeting the local people. They had significantly less than we do in our daily lives yet they were some of the happiest people I have ever met. This really taught all of us that we can be happy regardless of what we have and to enjoy the small things in life. Looking back on the trip now, I simply cannot believe how fast it all went by. This is an experience that I know I will never forget and I am forever thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Wei-Yee Hall
Year 10


The Great UNO Challenge

Last Friday, the Senior Library Committee, with Richard Jiang in charge, ran a Great UNO Challenge. While names were slow to be entered onto the participation list, there were a surprising number of last-minute entrants. All the participants played with great enthusiasm and there was some fierce competition.

The finalists were Lionel Wang, Steven Zhang and Seb Mottram, and the overall winner was Eric Stone.  Congratulations Eric and all the UNO players!

Lisa Tabone
St Andrew’s End Library

BGS Bods

Given a day to himself, did you think Head of Outdoor Education David Gemmell would spend it climbing a snowy peak? Guess again!

  1. What gets you out of bed in the morning? Often a chatty or crying child … seconded by the smell of coffee.
  2. Where did you go to school? All over the world, including an international primary school in the highlands of PNG, a small village prep school in Scotland, and a public high school in the Northwest Territories of Canada –  but all capped off by an amazing MSc from the University of Edinburgh!
  3. Given a day to yourself, what would you do? Probably binge-watch Netflix.
  4. What is on your wish list for your time at BGS? Sending boys to Nepal; successful Rite of Passage programs; and an Adventure Race team competing in NewZealand!
  5. What’s the most recent app you downloaded and have you used it? Wiggles Brush – use it each night as my wife and I teach our little girl to brush her teeth.

Rugby End-of-Season Celebrations

Friday and Saturday last weekend played host to the Rugby Club’s end-of-season celebrations, which were held in spectacular fashion.

Friday night was the inaugural Rugby Presentation Night and Dinner, held at the Bentleigh Club. Over 200 members of the Rugby community, including players, parents, Old Boys and sponsors, enjoyed a lovely meal together and recognised the achievements of all teams and boys. Of particular note was the presentation by Liz Dawes of the Connor Dawes ‘Spirit of Rugby’ Award to William Bullock (Year 12). Special tribute was paid to the departing Year 12s via a video created by the incredibly talented Tom Noske (OB 2015). To watch Mud, Sweat, and Tears, click here.

The next morning, Wilson Reserve played host to the Super 7s, an internal school Rugby 7s tournament designed for all senior boys interested in playing (not just Rugby players). The event was a wonderful success, with over 50 boys representing the four drafted teams. Finals were played after School yesterday. Special mentions to Rachel Horton and Devan Nicholls, who refereed all of the matches, and Max Stroud, the king of the PA system and DJ extraordinaire, responsible for match announcements, commentating and post-match interviews!

Congratulations and thank you to all those involved in the season that was. Everyone can now enjoy some well-earned rest!

Link to Mud, Sweat, and Tears by Tom Noske: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4w7pgI8lck

Joshua Moore
Head of Rugby

Meet our New Hall of Famers!

Every three years, we honour and celebrate our most high-achieving Old Boys by inducting them into the BGS Hall of Fame. You only need to wander through the Hall of Fame Gallery of Achievement (just off the Quad) to be inspired by the diversity of talent that comes out of BGS.

On Wednesday 14 November, 13 Old Boys and five ‘Young Achievers’ will be newly inducted into the Hall of Fame at a Gala Dinner. Don’t miss this exciting community event – it may be your only opportunity while your son is attending the School! Click here for more.

2019 Senior Production Announcement – ANYTHING GOES!

We are delighted to announce that we will be setting sail in early 2019 with the joint Firbank Grammar and Brighton Grammar School production of: Anything Goes.

Anything Goes is a hilarious tale set on a ship bound from New York to London. With outrageous characters and some incredible, show-stopping tunes, this is sure to be a hit! Auditions will take place in Term 4 so stay tuned for more information on how to sign up!


Dates for the Diary

Dates for the Diary

Fri 31 August
– BGS/FGS Year 7 Big Breakfast

Tue 4 September
– Strings Spectacular Concert

Wed 5 September 
– Year 9 Rivers Journey Parent Information Session 

Thu 6 September 
– Bands Showcase Concert 

Fri 7 September
– Year 8 Outdoor Education Program 1 Packing Day 

Sat 8 September
– Syndicate Session 

Sun 9 September 
– Year 8 ACD Outdoor Education Program 1