AISHK Lion Rock 2020 Term 4 Volume 34

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Term 4 2020 | Volume 34



MESSAGE FROM THE DEVELOPMENT OFFICE Due to the limitations caused by the Covid-19 situation, the quarterly Lion Rock could not take place in its usual frequency. However, we are pleased to provide this Special Edition Lion Rock. We hope you enjoy perusing the following pages which include insights from our students, the 25th Anniversary Film, and a trip down memory lane through our school “throwbacks” which have been featured this year. After a most remarkable year, we have certainly learnt a lot as a department and a school. As we look to 2021, we will no doubt be well equipped for what comes our way! Thank you to the students, staff and parents who have contributed to our publications and communications in 2020. Wishing you all a safe, happy and relaxing festive season.

Brigitte McNamara Director of Development and Community Relations

Jen Ng Marketing and Communications Coordinator

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FA R E W E L L A N D T H A N K YO U ! To M r H e m p h i l l , M r Re e d a n d M r s M o o r e


PRESENTING THE AISHK A N N I V E R S A RY F I L M C e l e b r a t i n g W h o We A r e To d a y


A T R I P D O W N M E M O RY L A N E AISHK Throwbacks

Q&A AROUND AISHK A. Nikola, Reception

‘Love’ because I love my family and everyone in it.


B. Isabella, Year 3

My brown teddy bear called Snowflake because it gives me company when I’m sad and is nice and soft to hug.

C. Alice, Year 7

My family because they are my biggest supporters and I love them so much.





F. Yosha, Year 1

Celebrating important traditions such as Diwali with my family. It’s very fun and I get to wear traditional clothes.

G. Dylan, Year 4

Family and friends because it’s nice to know you have people you can trust and values so you know what you can and can’t do.

H. Cobie, Year 10

Having a balanced lifestyle between hanging out with my family, my friends, and chilling by myself.

What favourite Whatisisyour important to you? 1Sports/ECA?

I. Letty, Year 6

My family because they are people I can rely on and I can always ask for their help.

D. Andrew, Year 9

My dad’s old plane toy because it reminds me of how similar we are and the strong connection we have.


E. Olivia, Prep

My boat is special to me because I get to go to ‘Waterfall Beach’ with my family. There is a waterfall and we make sandcastles.

L. James, Year 5

Friends and family. Friends can be fun and kind and you can play with them. Family because you love them and they love you.




M K M. Baxter, Year 8

J. Marcus, Year 11

Playing sports because I enjoy the friendships I’ve made and it helps me to keep healthy.

K. Athan, Year 2

My parents, family and friends because they help me and we get to do fun social activities together.

Health, happiness, staying true to your beliefs and keeping connections with family and friends. You’ve got to work with what you’re given.



Each year, there are a number of AISHK community members who will depart the school or Hong Kong, and we bid them adieu. This year, staff and students made time throughout the term to say goodbye, either online or in person. In this special edition of The Lion Rock, we say Farewell and Thank You to Mr Hemphill, Head of School, Mrs Moore, Head of Early Childhood and Mr Reed, Dean of Studies Primary, who are heading back to Australia. We wish them all the very best for the next chapter of their adventures!


Farewell to Mr Hemphill who has been our Head of School for the past three years. Your leadership and friendship has seen the staff, students and community thorugh some of the toughest times in our School’s history! We will always remember you greeting us by name and with a smile at the school entrance every morning, your kind advice and all the laughs we have shared! All the very best for your return to Australia. We will miss you!

View our farewell video to Mr Hemphill


Mr Reed has been a part of AISHK as a staff member for 13 years. We have been privileged to benefit from Mr Reed’s extensive experience, and his dedication to the school as both a long-term staff member and parent. An avid sportsperson, Mr Reed’s passion, particularly for rugby, has seen him share his skills and service in coaching, volunteering and coordinating sports activities at AISHK over the years. Thank you Mr Reed for your dedication to AISHK. We will miss you!


HEAD OF EARLY CHILDHOOD Professional Learning and Accreditation Coordinator Mrs Moore, Head of Early Childhood (Reception to Year 2) at AISHK for the past three years, has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the learning environment for students in these formative years. Mrs Moore has also been instrumental in bringing invaluavle professional learning opportunities to our teaching staff, for the benefit of our students’ learning and wellbeing. You will be remembered for your leadership, kind guidance and creativity. Thank you Mrs Moore. We will miss you!

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AISHK PRESENTS The 25th Anniversary Film Produced by the Development Office and directed and edited by Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Jen Ng, we are thrilled to present to you the: 25th Anniversary Film: Celebrating 25 Years of AISHK: Who We are Today. Starring our very own students, staff, alumni, AISFL Board, parents and the broader international community members in Hong Kong, this short film takes an entertaining and insightful journey down memory lane to celebrate who we are today as a School. Incorporating a visual feast of footage, hand-picked from our school’s 25-year history, be sure to prepare a cosy drink, sit back, and enjoy this video. You may spot yourself or someone you know, you will definitely spot a celebrity or two, and you can be sure to learn much about the unique school, AISHK, which you may have never known.




Rock Volume 30 | April 2019



Our First Day of School AISHK opened for the first day of school on 6 February 1995 with 25 Primary students in attendance from Reception to Year 4. Today, the school welcomes more than 1,100 students from Reception through to Year 12, representing 25+ nationalities. The original site of the school was 121 Boundary Street in Kowloon Tong, where it remained until moving to the Gun Club Hill School, 127 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui in July 1995. The Founding Principal of the School was the late Brian Davies. Brian’s passing was commemorated in the Lion Rock Vol 7 in 2010.

“After moving to Hong Kong in 1986 and working in several International Schools, Mr Davies dreamt of an Australian-based school to cater for families from the Southern-Hemisphere. He drafted a plan to establish AISHK in 1994 and by 1995, AISHK was founded. He was very fond of AISHK and considered his role in helping establish the school as his greatest achievement.”

Lining up to go home with Chris Neilsen

Year 1 Class with Camilla Moses 1995


Chris Neilsen (Principal, 1996-2003) with students in the playground for lunchtime (left to right)_ Brendan, Richard, Morgan (sitting), Jessica, Eric, Whitney, Alison, Elyssa, Joshua, Wardah, Sally, Veronica. Photograph by Mardie Holton


Our First Sports Day On Friday 27 October, 1995, AISHK hosted its very first ‘Fun Sports Day’ on the field at the Gun Club Hill School, Tsim Sha Tsui. Students were placed into green or yellow teams and were encouraged to wear their team’s colour for the event. They participated in a variety of games including leapfrog, tyre rolling, relay races, tunnel ball and bean bag balancing. The school at the time had approximately 90 students but were awaiting 50 new enrolments, totalling 140 students by the next term. As with many school events, especially in the earlier years, the event relied on the support of parents to supervise games and to help with the BBQ. There was even a three-legged race for children and parents to join in the fun together.

“I think the first Sports Day was a way to celebrate having a big field for the children to use. One of the parents, Chris Bustin, played a big role in organising corporate support. While we were small, it was a great way for the whole school, plus parents, to be involved.” – Margaret Merrell (Primary Principal, 1995-2003) “What I remember most about the day was the joy of the students running free on the field along with the most supportive and committed parent body. The sense of being one family – students, staff and parents made this a special and memorable first. It was an example of the ethos of the school.” – Chris Neilsen (Principal, 1996-2003) On Wednesday 30 July, 1997, a school-wide competition was held to decide the “permanent” House names. Prior to the competition, the Houses were simply known was Blue, Green, Red and Yellow. The brief for the names was that they were to “convey the Australian nature of the school”. One and a half months later, the names were official: Jacaranda (blue), Wattle (yellow), Waratah (red) and Eucalypt (green). Today, we still see games from the original Sports Day continue as traditions in the Early Childhood ‘Athletics Fun Day’ from sack jumping races and egg and spoon races, and the Primary Athletics Carnival from tunnel ball to bean bag balancing. For many years, the school’s Athletics Carnivals have been hosted at Kings Park, Yau Ma Tei. In 2019, the Early Childhood Athletics Fun Day moved to the AISHK Field, nostalgically giving us a sense of what Sport Days were like back in the day. Below is an except from Dhanara dated Friday 29 November, 2019, from Andrew Wookey (PDHPE Teacher, 2019- ), who was the main coordinator of the event.

“On Tuesday 26 November, 2019, over 250 Early Childhood students took part in their annual Athletics Carnival and Sports Day. The students took part in a modified program after the carnival was moved from Kings Park to the AISHK Field – a move which saw many of the older students, parents and staff able to come down support, cheer on and help create an energetic and exciting atmosphere for the students taking part in the carnival.”


Students participating in a leapfrog race in 1995

Students wearing green and yellow for Sports Day as they sit on the school’s field at the Gun Club School, Tsim Sha Tsui

Students participating in a sprint race in 2019


Chinese Day to Chinese Week To acknowledge the usual highly anticipated calendar event of Chinese Week, this throwback will give you an insight into how the focus of Chinese Week has shifted from simply promoting Chinese culture to creating more engaging opportunities for students to use the language. Chinese Week was been postponed to Term 4 in 2020. In March 1995, the Chinese Programme at AISHK was introduced with a Chinese Culture month. The month was rich with Chinese cultural activities to excite and delight the school community to the coming formal Chinese curriculum. The month included a lion dance performance, a visit to Middle Kingdom, a visit from a calligrapher, performances from musicians demonstrating traditional Chinese instruments including the erhu (二胡), a quzheng (古筝), and a pipa (琵琶), concluding with a Chinese cooking day which included a noodle making demonstration. When the Dragon Boat Festival came in June, the very first Chinese Day was launched. Jean Zhai (Head of Chinese, 1995-2008) shares how the school’s first Chinese Day in 1995 developed into Chinese Week in 1997. “The first Chinese Day happened on the day of Dragon Boat Festival in 1995 on the Boundary Street campus, where we used the courtyard to enjoy a lion dance, a cardboard dragon boat race, and students singing songs. It was fun and successful, so in 1996 we had another one. As the school grew bigger, suggested and encouraged (pushed) by Margaret Merrell, the then Primary Principal, the Chinese Day became Chinese Week in 1997. Apart from assemblies and outdoor activities, calligraphy, Chinese painting, art, special visitors, cooking, fashion show, ‘mini tours’ over China were gradually part of the week’s program. These mini tours also known as ‘Touring Around China’, involved stations set up in the hall with information about some iconic Chinese cities. Students would ‘visit’ these cities with a ‘passport’ made with their Chinese teachers. “Chinese Week was always organised during a Chinese festival, either Dragon Boat Festival or Moon Festival. It was hard work, especially for Chinese teachers. But we had so much fun! If I have to name one as my favourite parts, I would say when I saw children enjoy the activities and speak better Chinese with smiles on their faces! Or maybe the marble picking game with chopsticks!” Over the past 25 years, an understanding of China as a country and Chinese culture has hugely improved in society. This is why the Chinese Week programme has also seen a shift in focus from simply promoting the culture to creating more opportunities for students to use the language through involvement in the school community. Today, Chinese Week traditions include a lion dance performance, workshops including lion dance, Chinese opera singing and Chinese painting, ‘Costume Day’, ‘Shopping Day’ and a talent show. Joy Chung (Head of Chinese (R-6) has been a Chinese teacher at AISHK since 1998. She shares more about Shopping Day, her favourite part of Chinese Week. “We started ‘Shopping day’ around 10 years ago. Normally, we invite around 40 Chinese speaking mums to set up shopping stalls and games stalls for the students. Students will use real money to buy the things they like and talk to the mums. It gives the students chances to use the language and is a great opportunity for mums to be involved in school life. I also love the support from class teachers. It is a whole school activity. It is lovely to see all the class teachers also decorate their classrooms and introduce Chinese culture in their English lessons.” According to Joy, Chinese Week is an important school event as it helps create cultural unity at the school: “Chinese week creates chances for the students to celebrate what they have learned and also have chances for them to use the language. The students further understand how to respect other cultures from the different activities and from every teachers’ involvement.” Outside of the Chinese Week celebrations, visits to China including Shenzhen and Beijing were possible as part of Primary’s comprehensive outdoor education program, which also included excursions, camps and swimming. Due to the small numbers in 1995, Years 3-6 visited Shenzhen and in 1996, Years 5,6 and 7 went to Beijing. As the school grew, Shenzhen became a Year 4 only excursion with the ‘Splendid China’ theme park and a local school visit as the two main activities. Likewise, the Beijing trip became a Year 6 only excursion which involved visits to the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and the important local school visit. Hard work and support from the parent community trip after trip ensured the excursions remained an integral part of the Chinese Programme for years to follow. To this day, the Year 6 Beijing trip remains a highlight of the school calendar. Below is an excerpt from Dhanara recounting the 2019 Beijing trip. As you read, you will notice that many of the traditions have remained since the first trip. “Over four full days of exploring in China’s capital, our Year 6 students were treated to the incredible sights of: The Forbidden City, The Summer Palace, The Temple of Heaven, The Drum Tower, a wander through the Hutongs and of course, the unforgettable day when over 100 Year 6 students together climbed the Great Wall of China. They were also kept busy and active with Jianxi (shuttlecock) kicking, calligraphy painting, Peking Opera mask painting, shadow puppet crafting, Chinese cooking and meeting the famous Cricket Master!… “Our students had the opportunity to visit the impressive Shi Jia Primary School, our sister school in Beijing. Excitement was in the air (and certainly some shyness) as all students approached each other. Although within a short amount of time, gifts were exchanged, laughter and chatter filled the air and some new friendships formed. “All senses were astounded with the Beijing Acrobatic Show as well as the Peking Opera performance. Not to mention visiting the Beijing City Planning Centre to get more of a bird’s eye view of this incredible city of old and new, as well as stroll through Olympic Park to pose before the iconic Bird’s Nest and Water Cube buildings.”


Students performing a Lion Dance for Chinese Day in 1996 (right to left) Nalani Slater, Nick Dowson, Eric Austin, Nick Ashley

Dragon Boat racing for Chinese Day in 1995

Students enjoy a lion dance performance as part of Chinese Culture month in 1995


Book Week An AISHK tradition since 1996, an Australian event since 1945, Book Week is a celebration of Australian children’s authors and illustrators. Each year the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) release a shortlist of books for various categories including ‘Book of the Year: Early Childhood’ and ‘Picture Book of the Year’. Throughout the week there are planned activities based on the year’s theme, including the colourful traditional parade where students dress as their favourite book character. One of the highlights of Book Week in 1996 was the visit from author Lorraine Wilson, a good friend of Margaret Merrell (Primary Principal, 1995-2003). As the writer in residence, Lorraine (pictured below) worked with the Primary classes to help students write their own picture books on a ‘Hong Kong Kids’ theme for Book Week. Lor raine is a wellknown author of picture story books, including the ‘City Kids’, ‘Country Kids’ and ‘Footy Kids’ series. Margaret recalls more about how the ‘Hong Kong Kids’ theme came to be. “Lorraine had written a series of books called ‘City Kids’ which focused on multicultural inner-city students and their lives. They were humorous and endeavoured to inspire students who may have been reluctant readers. Later on she did ‘Country Kids’ and ‘Footy Kids’, which had a book for each AFL team- our kids loved these. As we were in Hong Kong and they were all kids, ‘Hong Kong Kids’ seemed a logical theme. The classes spent time talking and thinking about aspects of life particular to HK. It could be a small aspect like having to catch overcrowded trains or the smells of street food vendors. The students then wrote and illustrated their own books based on an aspect of their life in Hong Kong.” We asked some past library staff to reflect on Book Week and their memories of AISHK. “Some of the great Book Week memories I have at AISHK were the displays we had in the library which created quite a lot of excitement. All of the displays were huge and took over the entire library and even beyond. In 2002 for ‘Book Feast’, there was a very long table fu lly set up with artificial food in the entry to the library and all the books about food were featured and we held ‘book tastings’. In 2003 for ‘Oceans of St ories’, we hung a huge fishing net to the ceiling and caught book covers in the net. In 2004 for ‘Doorways’, every room in the scho ol had a decorated doorway. “Some of the highlights include the visit by Morris Gleitzman and Mem Fox to talk to all the students in the school on the sc hool’s opening at the new Kowloon Tong Campus in 2001. The library was integral in initiating this. The other was the Harry Potter sleepover where we had students from all year groups sleep over in the library to await the release of the ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ at exactly 6am on th e Saturday morning of 21 June, 2003.” – Dianne McKenzie (Teacher Librarian, 1998-2004) “I joined AISHK in 1999 at the Cheung Sha Wan campus, during the construction of the campus at Kowloon Tong. My job was to design and plan for a brand new library. The state-of-the-art library opened in the new campus in 2001. It started with one Teacher Librarian (TL), 275 students and a small collection of old, tatty, uncovered books, inherited from other schools. It grew quickly to a staff of 4 for 1000 pupils and a vastly expanded collection o f modern resources to meet the needs of students and teachers from diverse backgrounds. It played an exciting role in improving the overall learning and teaching across the school and became the envy of other schools in Hong Kong…” – Andrea Walker ( Teacher Librarian (1999-2005) “Every Book Week during my 13 years at AISHK I remember as being exciting, engaging, fun, and loved by all. The students enjo yed the opportunity to vote for their favourite shortlisted books each year. The fact that Book Week has always been an R-6 celebration of reading involving teachers, library staff, students, parents and especially the myriad of visiting authors and illustrators is the essence of its magic! “One particular Book Week stands out where our Primary Teacher Librarian read the book called ‘Chip’ by Kylie Howarth. It’s a bout a seagull who always loved to eat hot potato chips purchased by picnickers at the seaside. As the story unfolded, the Library Assistants secretly cooked hot potato chips in the workroom of the library to be shared excitedly in individual hand made chip cartons by the class at the end of t he tale. It became a tantalizing sensory experience for everyone in the library, even the Secondary students studying at the far end of the library!!” – Darryll Hopkins (Head of Library, 2006-2018) “I remember lots of dressing up and one year the older grades were allowed to join in which they relished greatly! I remember having fantastic class artwork displays in the library when each grade was allocated a picture book to celebrate. We always had an author – Narelle Oliver even took Art classes with the senior school. The assemblies were fun and we always shared a story on the big screen.” – Megan Lindsay (Primary Teacher Librarian, 2007-2011) Book Week today is a whole school event where there is shared reading time between Primary and Secondary students, activities and learning to celebrate the shortlisted books, assemblies led by the library leaders and the all-important parade. Despite the absence of students on campus in 2020 due to Covid-19, Book Week has adapted to ensure students still get to enjoy this much-loved event through online events and a virtual parade. We asked some current library staff to reflect on Book Week and their memories of AISHK. “With this being my eighteenth year at AISHK, there have been so many Book Week highlights. One in particular was when Mrs Me gan O’Connor was Teacher Librarian. I remember the students’ delight at the appearance of ‘The Very Cranky Bear’ on stage during the Book Week Early Childhood assembly, they couldn’t believe it! A special feature has always been the parade, which has become a Book Week t radition and is always a wonderful experience for the whole school community. A key Book Week highlight for me, as Primary Teacher Librarian, is the planning, preparing and presenting of the Book Week assemblies with the wonderful Year 6 Library Leaders. I n 2017, we rolled out the red carpet for the ‘Escape to Everywhere’ assembly and in 2018, some lucky students in the audience found some treasure hidden under their chairs for the theme ‘Find Your Treas ure’. In 2019, we discovered reading gives us super powers and in 2020, well, let’s wait and see… “Some of the best memories of the school over the years have been the times when the whole school community comes together, w hether it be Book Week, the Welcome BBQ, Jingle and Mingle or special events such as AISHK’s 20th Anniversary. They are always a relaxed and fun way to celebrate


and catch up with old friends and, at the same time, provide us with the opportunity to form new friendships.” – Nicole Atkins (Primary Classroom Teacher, 2003 – 2016 and Primary Teacher Librarian, 2017- ) “My favourite Book Week memory is when we ate hot chips in the library in 2017. This is the same as Darryll’s Book Week highl ight. My favourite Book Week tradition would be the parade and seeing the class teachers dress up according to the theme. My favourite memory of the school would be Jingle and Mingle each year.” – Kathy Thomas (Library Assistant, 2017- ) “My favourite activity in Book Week is the dress up parade. There are always many wonderful comments about the ideas and crea tivity of the costumes. Especially the parade in 2019 where many teachers, Secondary and Primary students all dressed up and carried their favourite books. Everyone enjoyed the great time and it was fun!” – Rita Chow (Library Assistant, 2011- ) Over the years various authors have visited the school, sometimes as a result of their involvement in the Children’s Laureate Program. Authors include Leigh Hobbs, Morris Gleitzman, Mem Fox, Sarah Brennan, Markus Zusak, Scot Gardner, Jan Latta, Gavin Coates, Nick Earls, Graeme Base, Jacqueline Harvey, Mike Brumby. According to Chris Neilsen (Principal, 1996-2003), it is important to celebrate “special” Australian events to give students a sense of Australian culture and education including Book Week. “Whilst in HK, it is vitally important to provide the children with the same opportunities and experiences as students in schools in Australia,” Neilsen said. This sentiment stills rings true today, as current Head of School Mark Hemphill explains, Book Week continues to be one of the most important weeks on the AISHK calendar. “Like other Australian schools, we relish the opportunity to promote the joy and love of reading as a lifelong passion and hobby with immeasurable benefit. Right across the school, staff and students enjoy the opportunity to read the latest Australian shortlisted books an d the annual dress up parade is a highlight of the year, even this year when it is a virtual parade. Proudly for 25 years we have celebrated the joy and import ance of Book Week.”

Book Week spread from the school’s 1996 yearbook

Book Week parade 1996


Our First Welcome BBQ On Saturday 15 March, 1997, AISHK hosted its very first ‘Welcome Family BBQ’ at the school’s section of the former St George’s School site, Kowloon Tong. Activities during the event included a BBQ, lion dance performance, choir performance, scatterball and volleyball on the field, basketball in the gym and a “kick-a-footie” session on the field for parents and children. Below is an excerpt from Dhanara dated Wednesday 19 March, 1997, from Chris Neilsen (Principal, 1996-2003) who reflected on the special family event. “What an enjoyable family BBQ was had by all on Saturday. It was great to see so many of you there in a relaxing and fun atmosphere. Thank you to the P&F (Parents and Friends), Mothers’ Club and all involved in the organisation of this successful evening… A special thank you to the parent groups – the P&F and Mothers’ Club for their support of the school over this first term in our new home. To all parents who have helped this term in any way – a big thank you.” Welcome BBQs became an annual tradition to welcome families at the start of the year and to celebrate the school’s birthday. As the school continued to grow, fairs were introduced and would become one of the many highlights in the school calendar:

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

1997 – First Welcome BBQ 1999 – First School Fete 2000 – School Fete 2001 – Opening Ceremony of the current Kowloon Tong site 2002 – Year of the Outback Fair 2005 – 10th Anniversary Fair 2007 – Year of the Lifesaver Fair 2010 – Circus Fair 2012 – Wild West Fair 2014 – Mad Hatters Fair 2016 – The Great Aussie Adventure Fair 2018 – Emerald City Themed Fair

Today, Welcome BBQs have continued to be a key event for the school community, maintaining traditions including the BBQ, lion dance and musical performances from students. Chris McCorkell, who had been at the school for 24 years from 1996 to 2019 (including Secondary Dean of Studies 20132019), shares his memories of the school’s first Welcome Barbecue and remembers what the school choir was like in its early days. “I love this shot of the choir and have very fond memories of many of these early performances. This particular photo was taken at one of our first major school community functions, albeit a fairly relaxed and informal one, not long after our first move to Kowloon Tong in 1997. If I recall correctly, we performed, among other songs, the wonderful “I am Australian” at this first Welcome BBQ. As always, the choir sang with great gusto and I felt that the song took on a very special meaning for all within the close-knit AISHK family. At that time, the vast majority of families were expatriates, many recent arrivals to Hong Kong and the sentiments expressed in the song struck a chord with many. Many of those same sentiments and ideals were embedded into our own AISHK school song, first performed later that same year. “As the school’s first music teacher, it was such a delight for me to hear the sounds of children’s voices. There were no auditions and all comers were welcome; if you could vaguely hold a tune, you were in! We had such wonderful adventures performing at many and varied events around Hong Kong in the ensuing years, including at a gala ball hosted by Hong Kong’s first Chief Executive, Tung Cheewah. I loved the strong sense of connectedness and camaraderie established in those early years of the school and believe that the choir and, more broadly, music itself, were a big part of that. They are memories I will cherish forever.” Jean Zhai (Head of Chinese, 1995-2008) shares her memories of the special event and reflects on what it took to introduce a Chinese program to the school. “This shot of the lion dance made me cry and laugh. Cry for the fond memory, laugh for my brave move! I was honoured to set up and implement the Chinese program. I strongly believe that language and culture should be taught hand in hand. However I had no idea what a proper lion dance should be, let alone to coach the team and perform at one of our first major school community functions, the Welcome BBQ! If I recall correctly, the lion “head” was Josh Braithwaite, “tail” was Richard Lim, teaser was Chris Finney. The boy who was sitting next to me was drum player Patrick Ingle. “You can tell from how I look that I was not confident at all. Thank goodness our parent body then was mainly families of expatriates, many recent arrivals to Hong Kong. So they had no idea what I did was not at all fine! They looked interested and happy! The lion dance became one of the must-have items at school functions later, including the school’s 10 year anniversary, but at a much bigger scale and with a much better coach. Like Chris, I cherish the strong sense of connectedness established in those early years of the school. I feel that I was not only given a job by AISHK, I was given a sense of ownership, trust and belonging and believe that this had supported me throughout.”


Chris McCorkell conducts the school choir

Jean Zhai (pictured far left) leads a performance by the school’s ECA group, the Lion Dance team


Our First Anzac Day Ceremony In April 1997, AISHK commemorated Anzac Day for the first time at a whole school assembly. Special guests included Geoff Walsh (Australian Consul-General in Hong Kong 1995-1998) and Philip Woof from the Australian Army. Every class would make their own wreath and during the assembly, a boy and a girl from each grade would place their wreath at the front of the stage. As tradition, selected students would attend the dawn service at the Cenotaph in Central. In 2002, the Anzac Day dawn service became a dusk service and was hosted at AISHK for the Australian community, followed by a barbeque. After a couple of years of the dusk service hosted at AISHK, the Anzac Day service returned to the Cenotaph at dawn as it is today. The AISHK Australia and New Zealand Anzac Memorial, located on the school field, was officially unveiled by the Honourable Mark Vaile MP, Australian Minister for Trade, and the Honourable Jim Sutton MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade Negotiations on Anzac Day 25 April, 2004. Each Anzac Day school ceremony since has continued the tradition of inviting special guests from either the Australian or New Zealand Consulate and key armed service personnel to reflect and share stories with our students. Below is an excerpt from Dhanara dated Wednesday 30 April 1997 detailing the Anzac Day school event.


AISHK commemorates Anzac Day in 1997


‘The Wiggles’ Visit Our School In 1997, the popular Australian children’s music group ‘The Wiggles’ visited AISHK for a school performance. Forming in 1991 in Sydney and known for their iconic coloured skivvies, for driving the ‘Big Red Car’, and performing with ‘Dorothy the Dinosaur’ and ‘Wags the Dog’, The Wiggles have gained international recognition and popularity for their entertaining and educational songs catered to early childhood audiences Since 2013, the group members of The Wiggles include Anthony Field (original Blue Wiggle), Lachlan Gillespie (Purple Wiggle), Simon Pryce (Red Wiggle), and Emma Watkins (Yellow Wiggle). Below is an excerpt from Dhanara dated Wednesday 15 October, 1997 titled ‘The Wiggles visit’.

“On their first day back to school for the Term, children, from Reception through to Year 2, were treated to a special visit by The Wiggles. The musical foursome, who is Australian based, provided some fun entertainment which enabled all (including teachers) to wiggle and jiggle their way through half an hour of the lunchtime. Special thanks must go to Mrs Dianne McKenzie for her part in making this visit possible. The Wiggles are here in Hong Kong on tour so we certainly appreciated her efforts in organising a time for them to come to our school.”

Reception to Year 2 students enjoy a performance by The Wiggles and demonstrate their famous ‘wiggley fingers’


The original Wiggles (left to right) Murray Cook (Red Wiggle), Jeff Fatt (Purple Wiggle), Greg Page (Yellow Wiggle), and Anthony Field (Blue Wiggle)


AISHK Cookbooks Published in 1998, ‘Wattle You Have?’ is a compilation of recipes from the school community, several well known restaurants, and prominent members of the broader Hong Kong community including Anson Chan, former Chief Secretary of the Hong Kong government, and Jenny Shipley, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand. Editor, Margaret Merrell (Primary Principal, 1995-2003), says that “the plan with the cookbook was to actively involve our school community, raise the profile of the school in the broader community and act as a fundraiser as well. Some family recipes came with great photos of family members preparing or enjoying the food.” You can access a digital copy of ‘Wattle You Have?’ here. Nine years later in 2007, the cookbook ‘A World of Food’ was published by the AISHK Parent Association. Below is an except from Dhanara about the book which was an AISHK PA fundraising project.

” ‘A World of Food’ is a beautiful compilation of recipes and travel photography from the families of the Australian International School Hong Kong. “Our families come from over 29 different countries and even more cultural backgrounds. This book is a collection of mouth-watering recipes and spectacular photographs that capture the diversity and vibrancy of our school community.” You can access digital copy of ‘A World of Food’ here. There are also copies of ‘Wattle You Have?’ and ‘A World of Food’ available at the library if you’d like to borrow them. Happy cooking!


Celebrating the Olympics On Friday 15 September, 2000, the school held a special march and assembly to celebrate the Summer Olympic Games which was hosted in Sydney, Australia from 15 September, 2000 to 1 October, 2000. The opening ceremony involved a march past of the national flags and the lighting of the 'Olympic torch'. The assembly showcased the students' athletic talents (in the form of dance) as they demonstrated various Olympics sports including running, swimming, rowing, gymnastics and boxing. The assembly closed out with a fitting choir performance of 'We are the Champions' by Queen.

AISHK commemorates Anzac Day in 1997

Olympic Games 2000

Olympics Celebration - Rowing

Olympics Celebration - Boxing

Olympics Celebration Performance The school’s first Olympics closing ceremony, 1996


Our First School Musical On Friday October 20 and Saturday October 21, 2000, AISHK presented its first musical, ‘The Pirates of Penzance’, produced and directed by Jennifer McLachlan, the Head of Performing Arts (1999-2006). According to ‘Under the Lion Rock’, Jennifer was interested in ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ because every child would have an opportunity to participate and the score would work with two pianos and was adaptable to a range of voices. As it was the school’s first musical, Anne Kruger, producer and presenter of ‘Morning Call’ on RTHK Radio 4, was invited to review the show. The following except titled ‘Hoorah for the Pirate King… hoorah for the little Aussie Battlers!‘ is taken from Dhanara dated Wednesday 25 October, 2000.

“The spirit of coming together and team work displayed at the Australian International School Hong Kong’s recent production of the musical ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ was truly inspirational. Even a Pirate King isn’t safe from chickenpox it seems – literally hours before the production was to begin, the leading lad had to put his sword away and take sick leave…Support from the school community and wider community was also inspirational, Music Director, Jennifer McLachlan saying the production began with nothing except human resources. Colourful freshly painted sets, newly sewn fabulous costumes – not to mention fun choreography – just a few examples proving the given spirit from those involved in the musical. School Principal, Mrs Chris Neilsen summed it up perfectly in her closing night address by explaining, “This is an example of the Australian spirit!” The humorous tone of the production soon won the audience over. Keenan Manning as Frederic was particularly witty with his facial expressions. The police stole our hearts with their perfectly executed clumsy mannerisms (and who was that blonde?) bringing hearty laughs from the audience. The Pirate provided a strong chorus, filling the hall, while the Daughters were full of the appropriate sugar and spice and all things nice. Especially sweet was the voice of Hannah Irvine as Mabel. Last but not least, congratulations to Mr Chris McCorkell, for your courage in stepping in with your book of ‘Pirates Rules’ at the last minute to play the role of the Pirate King. In conclusion, I would have to say the humour and the Aussie spirit shown throughout the entire production left the audience begging for more… yes Ms McLachlan, you made the right decision to carry on and we look forward to the next production from AISHK! I agree with the audience: Encore!” Former student Paul Walker, who attended AISHK from Year 7-9, played the lead of the Major General.

“One of my favourite memories was in 2000 when I was the Modern Major General is the school’s ‘Pirates of Penzance’ performance. AIS was always offering me new ways to excel and challenge myself. The audition process was difficult. I had never sung in front of people before and after the first audition, the director was not sure the role would be for me. I was quiet, nervous and barely sung. The next day I swallowed my pride and belted out the lines for the Modern Major General and got the role. I was so excited and took to rehearsing my lines every day. It was a magical play that everyone worked really hard on. I still remember my lines to this day and even sing them to my baby when we are playing. What I enjoyed most about the play was the comradery and support between everyone participating. It was an experience I will always remember.” Bob Zhou, who attended AISHK from 1997-2002 (Year 4-9) and was a student ambassador, played the role of the Pirate King. At the moment he is I’m living in Melbourne and working as a litigation lawyer. He fondly remembers the musical even though the show had to go on without him.

“The entire production was a joy to be involved in. We were still quite small at that stage, being at the Cheung Sha Wan site. However everybody worked so hard to make it a great show. I was unfortunately hit with the chickenpox right before opening night – the worst possible timing! I was absolutely gutted at the time, although it makes for a funny story now. The school was fantastic in giving me a chance to perform after I’d recovered. There was no need to do that, and I’ve always appreciated that opportunity.”


Annelise Kember, who played Ruth in the school musical, is now living in Launceston, Tasmania, and working as a singing teacher. Reflecting on what led her to pursue a career as a music teacher, she says that she always had an interest in music as her family were musical, including her sister, Heather, who was one of the Daughters and played the violin. Annelise also enjoyed being in the choir. She reflects on what it was like to be in the school’s first musical.

“I was at AIS from Year 2-8. I don’t remember much about the audition itself but was happy to get a good role. I was the youngest of the leads so I had to do rehearsals during my recess time I think. It was a little nerve racking, especially when Bob Zhou became ill but the show had to go on! I remember having fun because I basically had to be the puppet master to Mr McCorkell who was stepping in as the Pirate King, but it turned out quite well! I think we all sort of had to be a guide to Mr McCorkell as he had his script in the form of a Pirate book. Sometimes he couldn’t quite remember all his cues so I sometimes had to put him in his place. One time he fainted too early but we pretended that it was meant to happen. The fight scenes were also quite fun.” Chris McCorkell, who had been at the school for 24 years from 1996 to 2019 (including Secondary Dean of Studies 2013-2019), shares how he was able to step into the role of the Pirate King.

“‘Pirates of Penzance’ was just about the most fun I’ve had in all my years as a teacher! I remember that a number of staff had minor roles in the play as deck-hands or members of the constabulary. I especially remember our much-loved PE teacher, aka PC Joel Dunn, hamming it up to the delight of the audience. My attendance at rehearsals was spasmodic at best but I found myself thrust into the role of Pirate King. To say I fluffed many of my lines would be an understatement but the amazing cast of students jollied me along and covered for me magnificently. I caught up with Bob in Melbourne in February of this year and the first topic of conversation was, of course, ‘Pirates’. What wonderful memories they are!” Since the first musical, the school went on to present ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ (2001), ‘The Marriage and Murder of Monotonus Maximus’ (2003), ‘Hello Dolly’ (2010), ‘ Peter and the Wolf’ (2012), ’13’ the musical (2014), ‘The Sound of Music’ (2016) and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (2018), with ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ originally scheduled for this year. The Head of Performing Arts today, Peter Stapleton, joined the school in 2014 when the school was putting on the musical production of ’13’ by Jason Robert Brown. For that year, our alumni student Thomas Chiu was the musical director, and the show was directed by former Head of Performing Arts, Graeme Tyler alongside Lynda Lemmon (now Head of Year 6) and our former drama teacher Lindsay Bennie. The musical was accompanied by the school rock band and Peter was the pianist. Peter reflects on his involvement in musicals after ’13’.

“At AISHK, we normally produce a full-blown musical every two years, so our next show was ‘The Sound of Music’ in 2016. We were also able to use our own school orchestra as the accompaniment, which helped make the show inclusive of a greater range of students. We therefore had students from both sections of the school that were either in the cast, performing as part of the orchestra, helping backstage or working with costumes, makeup or assisting with the technical aspects of the show. Graeme Tyler was again director for this show. I was the musical director alongside our music colleagues Elise Kelly and Vindy Ho. The role as musical director meant rehearsing our orchestra, chorus and lead vocalists, as well as creating appropriate instrumental parts. We ran the same format in 2018 to produce the ‘Wizard of Oz’. Both ‘The Sound of Music’ and the ‘Wizard of Oz’ included over 100 students covering the range of areas needed to produce a musical.” A lot goes into putting a musical together. Peter shares some behind the scenes insights into what preparation for a musical looks like.

“We usually start our preparations for an AISHK musical about 6 to 8 months before rehearsals are due to begin in the new year. Once we have come to a decision on what we think the right show is, we then apply for permission for licensing the performance, order the scripts and music scores and then start to organise marketing flyers. Having read through the script, we start to work out what cuts we will make to the show and begin to consider any revisions of script that would be more suitable for our school and students. After this, the script then needs to be re-written and the music scores adapted to suit the instrumentalists we have, and the ability level of our performers.


“By the November of the year preceding the production, we usually hold auditions and this allows us to form the cast, make the final adjustments to the script and begin the job of learning the lines for the actors. This helps them to be prepared for rehearsals starting in January. Other jobs that then need organising include, finding or making costumes, sourcing or building props and to start thinking about hair, makeup, choreography, stage blocking and beginning to put the show together. “Rehearsals happen after school for the orchestra, cast and lead roles and we would usually have a music camp that helps us bring all the cast and musicians together. It is in this camp that the rehearsals and learning start to show us what the whole show might look like. We then think about other factors such as ticketing and marketing, as well as the kind of assistance we will need from the community for backstage supervision and prop management etc. “Finally, as production week begins, we will have technical rehearsals to ensure that lighting and sound all happens in the right place, as well as ensuring props appear on stage at the right time and our actors are in the right costumes. The dress rehearsals then allow us to see the show from beginning to end so we can feel ready for the performances that follow.” This year, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ was chosen as the school’s major 25th Anniversary production. The script had been prepared and all the accompaniment parts finished. Unfortunately, due to the current situation in Hong Kong, auditions had to be postponed and much rehearsal time was lost. 2020 was not the year for a school musical. The good news is that the school will be moving the production of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ to June 2021. Students will also still be working alongside FACE productions, which will mean our students get to work with professional theatre directors and choreographers. New audition dates will be announced soon and the show will go on!

Paul Walker as the Major General and Bob Zhou as the Pirate King


The Pirate King, Frederic (Keenan Manning) and Ruth (Annelise Kember)

The Pirates (left to right) Joe Walker, Alex Noble, Iain Fitzpatrick, Scott Ramsey, Aaron Moody and Tim Dowson

‘13’ the Musical cast, 2014

The Police (left to right) Paul Marshall, Cara Manning, Felix Voo, Judy Lau, Faustina Cheng, Phuang Traidongplong, Nicola Chen and Dylan de Kantzow

The Scarecrow (Temana Short), Dorothy Gale (Serena Walsh), The Lion (Sahil Mahbubani) and The Tinman (Tiarnan Breeze) in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ musical in 2018

Peter Stapleton conducting the orchestra for ‘The Sound of Music’ in 2016


Jackie Chan Visits AISHK On 18 February, 2005, global superstar Jackie Chan, best known as a martial artist, actor and singer, was a special guest at the school’s Welcome Back BBQ and 10th Anniversary Party. Below is an excerpt from Dhanara titled ‘Jackie Chan Joins Celebrations this Coming Friday!’, dated Wednesday 16 February, 2005. Written by Mr Paul Tam (Director, Development Community Relations, 2005), this article gives you a sense of just how excited the school was to welcome Jackie. “With the stream of publicity around the campus and in Dhanara, everyone should by now be well aware of, and excited over, the Welcome Back BBQ and 10th Anniversary Party this Friday. “The added security certainly has something to do with our very special VIP – Jackie Chan. That’s right, the megastar will be in attendance this Friday to accept his invitation into our newly established membership – Friendship of AISHK. He will also show two of his own documentaries which cover his overseas charity work. It’s a rare chance to see Jackie in action outside of the movie set. “Jackie is one of today’s famous film artists and biggest box office draws, both locally and internationally. With over 100 movies to his credit, Jackie is known for his mixture of comedy and drama, and formula for using lots of action with as little blood as possible. This has made him a fan favourite and a star who appeals to a spectrum of age groups. “Underneath all the glamour and fame, what you may not know is the fact that he grew up an impoverished boy in Hong Kong. The Chan family labored in order to have money to raise him. They eventually relocated to Australia, where his father worked as head chef in the American Embassy and that’s where the Chans’ long ties with Down Under began. “After he found fame and fortune in the world of movie-making, Jackie has given back to the world through his Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation and other charity work. His help with impoverished children, the disabled, the elderly and students is acknowledged across the world. Among many other awards and achievements, Jackie has recently been made Goodwill Ambassador of UNAIDS so it is a great honor that Jackie has accepted to be the inaugural Friend of AISHK, a membership which helps to promote Australian education and our great school. See you all there!” We caught up with some of the ‘Jackie Chans’ from the school and asked them about where they are now and what they remember from the exciting event. Jackie Chan (Alumni 2003-2012) started at AISHK as a Year 3 student. After completing his tertiary studies in Sydney, he worked in Hong Kong for a short while, before moving back to Sydney recently to work as a gelato chef at his favourite local gelateria. He shares his initial disbelief in meeting the celebrity who shared the same name. “Thinking back to 15 years ago, when I was told by my class teacher, Mr Ohlson, that I will be meeting Jackie Chan the movie star, I thought he was just making his routine Jackie Chan jokes on me. It wasn’t until we were called down to the school’s office to be briefed about the event, that I realised they were being serious. Each of the ‘Jackies’ were asked to prepare a question to ask THE Jackie Chan on the day, and I still remember asking him whether he would let his son learn Kung Fu like himself. That was a really special night and such a memory, along with that firm grip of Jackie’s hand on my shoulder, will continue to remain as one of my fondest memories of AISHK.” Jackey Chan (Alumni 2003-2009) reflects fondly on his time at AISHK and shares some of Jackie Chan’s words of wisdom from the night. “I went to Australia for university after I graduated from high school. I now work as a strength and conditioning coach in a private gym in Hong Kong. To me AISHK is a place full of joyful memories. One of the most memorable moments was the visit of Jackie Chan the movie star. As a huge fan of Jackie, I was excited enough to be able to see him in real life, let alone being able to get on the stage and speak to him! During his visit he gave us a speech on his mental journey of being a movie star. He encouraged us to always try hard and to never stop chasing our dreams. There is no doubt he is an inspirational man. To this day his words give me strength to face my hardship in life and to never stop chasing my dream!” Jack Chan (Alumni 2004-2007, 2011-2012) is now working in the Technology sector and living in Melbourne, Australia. “The event’s about 15 years ago now so I can’t say I remember clearly, but I do remember that Jackie Chan was very welcoming and although we’d only just met, he felt strangely familiar. Most probably because I’ve seen him that many times in the movies. It was definitely an awesome childhood experience. Quick update on my right cheek where he pinched me: I still haven’t washed it. (kidding!)” Please enjoy the recap video of the event in 2005. Where you at the event? See if you can spot yourself in

the video!


Jackie Chan, Sue McMillan (Head of School 2003-2006), Jimmy Choy (Vice President, AISHKPA, 2005)

Jackie Chan with AISHK’s ‘Jackie Chans’ in 2005


Our First Early Childhood Pantomime Across three shows in October 2009, AISHK presented its first Early Childhood Pantomime, ‘Everything but the Beanstalk’. The production involved over 260 children (from Reception, Prep, Year 1 and Year 2) as a way for students to have at least one fun experience in Early Childhood, showcasing their talent in a polished performance. Pantomimes have always been a great example of the school community spirit and for this production, parents made, sourced and purchased all of the costumes, teachers worked on the choreography, backdrop design, art work and sets, and the Performing Arts Department helped with the technical stage work from lighting to sound. Pantomimes since then included, ‘A Fella for Cinderella’ (2011), ‘The Lizard of Oz’ (2013), ‘Aunty Twizzle’s Twirly-Whirly Time Machine’ (2015), ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ (2017), and most recently, ‘Stella the Starfish’ (2019). The director of the production, Lisa Price (Teacher, 2004-2007, Head of Early Childhood, 2008-2013) brought her experience of organising Early Childhood events, which often incorporated singing, music and dance, to AISHK. It was the “amazing facilities for performing arts” and the “enthusiastic community feel of the school” that meant Lisa just knew Early Childhood was destined to run a pantomime. Lisa shares with us the inspiration behind the story of ‘Everything but the Beanstalk’ and reminisces what it was like to direct the show that took place 11 years ago. “The inspiration for the ‘Everything but the Beanstalk’ story started with the violin music in ‘El Tango de Roxanne’ from the movie ‘Moulin Rouge’. Every time I listened to that soundtrack, I thought that song would make great music for a villain. All children know the story ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ – the wolf was the perfect villain, and so it began. I brought in familiar fairy tale characters, booing and hissing at the wolf from the audience, and added a twist… the wolf was not a villain after all! Little Red Riding Hood was on her way to Grandma’s house to celebrate her birthday. Red was carrying a birthday cake, candles and a knife in her basket but became lost in the forest. Unbeknownst to Red, the knife fell out of her basket and the wolf picked it up and followed her. Red met many characters who helped her on her way. Eventually Red and Grandma were confronted by the wolf, to the horror of the audience. But as it turned out, the wolf was just trying to return the knife. Every time the wolf entered the stage that music played – it was his theme song and the audience loved it.” “I learnt so much that year from Tremayne Brown and Kate Tuxford who were experienced Drama and Music teachers. Their support and ongoing sharing of expertise gave me the confidence to do it again and Leonie Drew suggested that the pantomime be a biennial event. It became something special for the Early Childhood kids to look forward to and an opportunity to shine. Each time we stayed with the formula of Reception opening the show, Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 class dances and Year 2 students assuming the acting roles. In 2011, it was ‘A Fella for Cinderella’. There were more fairy tale characters and twists with an evil stepmother and a not very likable princess who married a frog. In 2013, it was ‘The Lizard of Aus‘, a tribute to Aussie music and film which particularly appealed to our parent audience, with music from their youth and Dame Edna narrating the story and leading us in song. I think we got bigger and better every pantomime, incorporating film and more elaborate sets thanks to Narelle Cridland and Anne Hopkins, as well as parents organising and creating the most spectacular costumes. I loved all three of those pantomimes and I have never felt so proud of all the kids, staff and families as I did after all our hard work on the opening nights. Team work at its best!” Performing arts has always been a significant part of the school and it especially plays an important role in helping children to develop their creative skills. Leonie Drew (Primary Principal, Co-Head of School, 2004-2015) reflects on the value of performing arts at the school and shares some of her highlights during her time.


“While performing arts allow children to develop creative passions, they simultaneously teach children language and communication skills, helping them to communicate effectively with others with confidence. We always placed a great deal of importance on stage presence, public speaking, creativity and of course the arts. AISHK has always aimed to provide students with the opportunity to engage the mind, the body and emotions into a collaborative expression of all that it means to be human – so that students discover their own voice, grow in confidence and develop empathy. “Under the direction of Graeme Tyler who was for many years the very talented Head of Performing Arts, our music and drama programme flourished into a rich and wonderful ‘soul of the school’. There were so many outstanding productions held annually at the school and across the year groups and of course too many to list, but some I clearly remember were: the performing arts festivals, the Idol competitions, drama nights, productions like ‘Hello Dolly’ and ‘Peter and the Wolf’, as well as ‘13 the Musical’ and ‘Oh Fortuna’, the annual Primary Music Recitals, the rock band, various choirs, vocal ensembles and of course the magnificent school orchestras. “It is now five years since I left AISHK and I think of the school so often. After almost 12 years of my life spent at the school I have so many wonderful memories. I am proud of what we achieved to make the school a happy, stimulating and world class learning environment. I wish the school continued success as it celebrates and reflects on the wonderful memories of 25 years.”


Australian Swimmers Visit AISHK Sitting up high on Level 9 of the school, the AISHK Aquatic Centre is a state-of-the-art swimming complex that houses a multi-lane indoor pool and combined learning pool. In 2010, after four years of planning and eight months of construction, the school’s outdoor swimming pool was converted into a fully functional Aquatic Centre, complete with a roof and heating, extending its use as an all-year-round venue and offering nearly 360° views of the surrounding district. As a non-profit school, all funds generated from AISHK operations are reinvested into the School’s development projects including the Aquatic Centre project. As the main sponsor for the Aquatic Centre, the AISHK Parent Association started fundraising in 2007 with the ‘All That Jazz’ Ball, and continued fundraising efforts over the years furthered their commitment to the project. In an excerpt from Dhanara dated Wednesday 28 October 2009, AISHK PA President, Sue Burgess, shared her thanks to the community.

“On behalf of parents past and present, the Parent Association is very proud to be the main sponsor of the new Aquatic Centre. It will be a fantastic facility for our children to use all year round. The Parent Association is thrilled to continue our close working relationship with the school through this sponsorship. Parents continue to show their support in many and varied ways, so the acknowledgement of these efforts make us all very proud.” Today, the Centre is a venue for in-house swimming activities, it is a training centre for students swimming as an extra-curricular activity and it is also used by members of our out-of-school swimming club. Over the years, AISHK has had the privilege of welcoming Australian medal-winning swimmers to the school, with some of them even taking a dip into the pool! Grant Hackett 2007 In April 2007, Grant Hackett visited the school. He won the men’s 1500 metres freestyle race at both the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones 2007 In September 2007, AISHK students were treated to a training session with Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones. Ian shared technique advice for freestyle and Leisel shared advice for breaststroke. Ian Thorpe is known as one of Australia’s most successful swimmers, accumulating five Olympic gold medals and 11 world championship titles. Leisel Jones is also an Olympic champion: three gold, five silver and one bronze.

Kieren Perkins 2013 In May 2013, Kieren Perkins took some time to tour the school, meeting a number of Primary students on the Green Roof and also popping into the Aquatic Centre to see a Year 8 PE Class and talk with the students. He is an Olympic gold medallist and former world record holder (1500m freestyle).

Samantha Riley 2016 In February 2016, Samantha Riley visited the school, mentoring and talking to our swim squad students. Samantha won three medals in the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics and is also well known for setting a world record in 1994 for the 100 metre event at the World Championships.


AISHK School Fete in 2000 (left to right) Chris Neilsen (Principal, 1996-2003), Michael Klim (Olympic gold medallist and former world record-holder), Albert Lau, Carolyn Bickerton (Director of Development _ Community Relations, 2002-2005)Drew with Head Girl and Head Boy, Jasmine Fasso and Alex Fasso and School Captains, Allira Wilson and Hugo Chan at the Opening Ceremony of the Aquatic Centre 2010

Co Heads of School, Phil Waugh and Leonie Drew with Head Girl and Head Boy, Jasmine Fasso and Alex Fasso and School Captains, Allira Wilson and Hugo Chan at the Opening Ceremony of the Aquatic Centre 2010

Grant Hackett, 2007

Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones - AISHK Pool

Kieren Perkins, 2013

Samantha Riley, 2016


Sporting Visitors Touchdown on AISHK Turf AISHK has had the privilege of welcoming various sporting stars and teams to the school. From cricketers to AFL players and rugby teams to swimmers, there’s no denying the community spirit that is highlighted upon their visit especially for a school that values sport as much as we do. “Sport has always been an important aspect of the school program, particularly for the older Primary and Secondary students. For those who were recent arrivals from Australia, the lack of ready access to playing fields, parks, etc. could easily make life feel a bit claustrophobic! Students always participated most enthusiastically in sessions with visitors.” – Margaret Merrell (Primary Principal, 1995-2003) Listed below are the visitors who have graced our fields over the years: 1995: Australian cricketers Glenn McGrath and Mark Waugh 1996: Reebok Legends (aka Australian Legends Rugby Team), Australian cricketer Richard Chee Quee 1997: AFL footballers (for an AFL clinic), Australian Legends Rugby Team 1998: Australian Legends Rugby Team 1999: Australian Legends Rugby Team 2000: Australian Legends Rugby Team, Australian cricketers Allan Border and Mark Taylor 2001: Australian cricketer Kim Hughes 2003: New Zealand Legends Rugby Team 2004: New Zealand Rugby 10s Team 2006: New Zealand Legends Rugby Team, Australian Legends Rugby Team 2007: Australian Rugby 7s Team, New Zealand Rugby 7s Team 2010: New Zealand Rugby 10s Team 2015: Australian Rugby 7s Team, Port Adelaide Football Club’s Aboriginal AFL Academy Team 2017: Australian Rugby 7s Team 2018: Classic Wallabies Rugby Team 2019: Classic Wallabies Rugby Team, Australian Rugby 7s Team Tim Tait (Director of Sports and Activities, 2019- ) reflects on how these kinds of sporting visits can inspire our students to dream when it comes to sport. “Over the years, Australian International School in Hong Kong has been lucky enough to have many top sports teams and sports stars grace our campus, and share their experiences with our students and community. Having sporting idols and heroes is such an important part of being a young athlete, as it inspires and motivates them to be the best they can be. So, having legends of sport visit in person brings an excitement not only to our students but to our parent and staff community also. The connections between grassroots and professional sport is often made and the students are able to learn so much in a very short time. “We often see our athletes aspire to be great at their chosen sport, and sometimes multiple sports. Being inspired by their heroes (and sometimes their parents’ heroes), we see great fight, desire, determination and commitment from our athletes which has become synonymous with AISHK Kangaroos Sport in recent times. We punch well above our weight and often see success in a range of sports both domestically and internationally. As you will notice, our trophy cabinet in the school Atrium is full of champions, placings and sportsmanship silverware from these competitions among others. Our main local sporting organisation is the ISSFHK (International School Sports Federation Hong Kong), where we compete in over 10 different sports from U12 up to U20. We also have a busy International calendar with involvement in ACAMIS (Association of China and Mongolia International Schools), SDRC (Southern Delta Regions Conference) and AISA (Australian International Schools Association).”


Australian cricketers Glenn McGrath and Mark Waugh with students in 1995

Australian Rugby 7s Visit 2017

NZ Rugby 7s Team Visit 2007

Australian Rugby 7s Visit 2019

Classic Wallabies Visit 2019


Special Visitors Over the years, with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian Consulate- General, the school has had the great honour of welcoming special visitors from military personnel to Consuls-General to prominent Australian members of parliament. Their visits and interest in the school are powerful reminders of the integral role AISHK plays in connecting Hong Kong and Australia. We’ve also had the privilege of welcoming key Hong Kong and New Zealand government representatives over the years. Howard West, who has been at the school since 1998 and is the current Head of Secondary, shares insight into the significance of these visitors to the school. “The support for the school that DFAT provides has grown stronger across the years – from what was an initial guest representation of Australian military personnel at our Anzac service to a regular feature at the school and the Hong Kong dawn service. This all accords with a strengthening of the Australian and New Zealand community in Hong Kong. DFAT’s leadership of significant visits, such as Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull, significantly enhance the school’s public profile. The consulate is one of the founding organisations of the school and has active representation on the school board. Every ConsulGeneral has taken a deep personal interest in the school and has usually visited on many occasions. They have also supported numerous student endeavours and celebrated their achievements at ceremonies. The exemplar for this was set by Dr Jocelyn Chey during the school’s foundation. The breadth and range of national and state visitors to the school, fostered by the consulate, has brought tremendous opportunities to the school community and its students. In this international setting, the Australian community of students has had contact with and messaging from significant Australian and New Zealand leaders across the fields of sport, science, politics and business.”

1996: Anson Chan (former Chief Secretary for Administration HKSAR) 1997: Royal Air Force (Easter Bunny visit), Geoff Walsh (former Australian Consul-General in Hong Kong), Betty Tung (wife of Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa), Bob Carr (former Premier of NSW) 1998: Sue Boyd (former Australian Consul-General) and John Langtry (former Deputy Consul-General), Jeff Hunter (former MP) 1999: Bill Tweddell (former Australian Consul-General), Steve Waters (former Deputy Consul-General) 2001: Dr Jocelyn Chey (former Australian Consul-General) 2003: Pru Goward (former Australian Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner), Dame Marie Bashir and Sir Nicholas Shehadie (former Governor of NSW and former Lord Mayor of Sydney) 2006: Jeff Hunter (former MP), Julian Ludbrook (former New Zealand Consul-General) 2007: Murray Cobban (former Australian Consul-General) 2011: Dame Quentin Bryce (former Governor-General of Australia) 2013: Eddie Ng Hak-kim (former Secretary for Education HKSAR) 2016: HMAS Anzac 2017: Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley 2019: Hon Julie Bishop MP


Betty Tung visits AISHK, 1997

HMAS Anzac, 2016

Bob Carr presents the NSW Board of Studies Certificate of Recognition to Chris Neilsen, watched by Board member Tom Corkhill, 1997

His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley, 2017

Then Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull at AISHK, 2017


A Tribute to the Parent Community Parents have always played a vital role in the AISHK community supporting staff, students and fellow parents. In the early days of the school’s development, parents volunteered through the Parent Association (PA) and Mothers’ Club (both later merged into the PA in 1998) and/or the Tuckshop. They were also there to lend a hand when it came to setting up the school’s first library, participating in swimming lessons, excursions, school camps, and reading support, and helping to run a perceptual motor program (PMP) for the infant department. We also can’t forget the countless hours that the ‘Working Bees’ (Board Members, staff, students and parents) devoted to help paint and/or renovate classrooms to make them welcoming environments each time the school moved sites. In the early days and with the support of the Mothers’ Club, the PA were more involved in the bigger events (some of which we are familiar with today) which were more focused on fundraising from Welcome Barbeques, Wine and Art Night and School Fetes. Former Mothers’ Club President (1997) and Tuckshop Co-ordinator (1996-2001), Tracey Manning, reflects on what the Mothers’ Club and Tuckshop were like back in the day. “Our main role was to support the school with whatever they needed – they had a Sports Day and wanted a Sausage Sizzle, we ran it; they had a special visitor coming and wanted some catering organised, we did it. Most of our focus was on student events at school. We also did have a fundraising element – a lot of that was around the generosity of parents donating what was needed eg. supplies to make the goods the students bought at the Mother’s Day stall were donated and made by parents. “My sister, Catrina and I approached Brian Davies to start a Tuckshop, based on her experiences in Australia from her son’s previous school. What Aussie school doesn’t have a Tuckshop?! We operated only three days a week. We modelled the Tuckshop on typical items like meat pies, sausage rolls, finger buns, lamingtons, apple pies (there was a very good bakery who sold authentic Aussie items), egg and lettuce rolls, vegemite sandwiches, fruit salad cups, muffins and cookies, chocolate milk. We had ‘donut Wednesdays’ (very popular) and we made and sold ‘Cool Cups’ which were frozen fruit juice in paper cups – which sold very quickly, the kids loved them. Where we could we bought Australian products – kept it in the family!” Lita Ramsay, the Mothers’ Club President in 1998, fondly remembers her time volunteering with the school. “I loved Mother’s Club. Back then the school community was small and there wasn’t a lot of funding that the school could spare, so Mother’s Club organised a lot of small fundraisers to help with little jobs that the school needed (such as waterproofing the school walls, buying sporting equipment, etc.). One of my favourite memories was the Easter Parade when the Easter Bunny arrived by helicopter, complete with baskets of chocolate eggs. Another was the Mother’s Day Stall, we (parents) would make or donate items to the stall and before Mother’s Day, the students could buy a little gift for their mother. It was such a joy to watch the way the children take the time and care to buy a gift. “I also believe the Mother’s Club played an important role in welcoming and supporting a lot of parents who were new to Hong Kong and helping them to settle in and meet other people in the school community by hosting coffee mornings. I have always believed that it is important to engage and be part of school community because schools make up a large part of our children’s lives as they journey towards adulthood, and both parents and educators play major roles in raising well-rounded and successful adults. Looking back, I have very fond memories of being part of the Australian School community. Not only was it a lot of fun (ok, sometimes it was stressful!!) but I learnt so much and made lifelong friendships.” Irene Tse (pictured in the first photo), who was a class mum for a couple of years and volunteered in the Tuckshop, and currently still works with AISHK as Library Assistant, shares her connection with the school. “I started volunteering with the school library in 2000 and switched to working full time in 2005. I wanted to volunteer with the library because I was looking for resources which could be beneficial to my son’s education at AISHK. I was able to explore rich resources for AISHK and share them with students and parents. We enrolled Quinton at AISHK because we wanted him to enjoy the education starting from the early days of Prep year. We knew that AISHK offered an all rounded education and learning environment that our son would enjoy. We also discovered that he grew up at AISHK with many good friends, fond memories, and without much pressure. I’m proud of being part of the library and I have a high appreciation of the school.”


The late Brian Davies (Founding Principal, 1994-1995), Andrew Bruce (PA President, 995) and the late Philip Day (AIS Foundation Limited Chairman, 1995-1998) refurbishing the Gun Club School in 1995

Lita Ramsay and Gaye McCarthy volunteering in the school Tuckshop at Kowloon Tong in 1998

The 2020 AISHK PA Executive and General Committee

A Midsummer Night’s Ball, 2017

Mothers’ Club volunteers selling handmade goods for Mother’s Day in 1998

The Mad Hatters Fair 2014


The AISHK Yearbook A school's yearbook is a timeless yearly publication which captures people, student work, achievements and events from the year. But more than that, yearbooks colorfully highlight change, growth, friendships, community, challenge, adventure, creativity, competition, hard work, discovery and so much more. As you will see from our gallery below, our Yearbook has evolved over the years, however, each and every one is the result of meticulous information gathering, teamwork and a deep passion for celebrating a year in the life of AISHK. Each Yearbook is an invaluable resource for archiving our history, and gives us insight into what the school (and even the world) was like in any given year. This certainly holds true for 2020!



The School Then and Now AISHK today continues to flourish as a leading international school in Hong Kong, welcoming approximately 1,100 students from over 25 different nationalities. Its quality, all-rounded education provides a learning environment where students can achieve academic, sport and arts excellence, as well as experience a wide range of extra-curricular activities and experiential learning programs which aim to develop students into globallyminded citizens. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we reflect on what has helped shaped who we are today. It’s the collaborative community spirit driven by the students, parents, staff, Board, alumni and our many supporters including sporting stars, authors, musicians and parliamentarians. It’s our unique Australian identity which incorporates Australian culture and values with the rich culture of our international setting in Hong Kong. It’s our belief in providing a global education where students are provided opportunities to be culturally sensitive, resilient yet respectful of others, kind and empathetic, humble and committed to serving and making a difference. At the core of our story, it’s been the dedicated and visionary people, the outstanding achievements of individuals and the school, as well as the memorable celebrations and community events that have made AISHK a vibrant and nurturing place for learning, play and connection since 1995.

AISHK School Photo 1995


AISHK School Photo 2019


We wish the AISHK community all the very best, whether you are travelling overseas, departing AISHK or staying in Hong Kong. May you have a very festive, safe and relaxing holiday season.

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