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Grammar News


In This Issue Academic Outcomes BGS150 Feature The indomitable Michael Ware

Our Purpose Brisbane Grammar School educates boys within a strong learning culture that is innovative yet respectful of its traditions, by nurturing their intellectual, physical and emotional wellbeing to become thoughtful and confident men of character who contribute to their communities.

Our Ambition Brisbane Grammar School aspires to be the best school for boys in Australia, and an international leader in teaching and learning. The School is committed to offering premium educational and leadership opportunities for boys of all backgrounds, to strengthen its global connections, and to build a vibrant school community among students, parents, staff, Old Boys and the broader society.

Our Values Endeavour Learning Respect Leadership Community

Our Motto nil sine labore – nothing without work

The School is committed to a liberal education philosophy. Our major goals for each boy are: To develop attitudes, skills, and a base of knowledge as a foundation for critical intelligence, imaginative and creative powers, effective communication and the capacity and enthusiasm for independent, life-long learning. To develop and extend personal character and talents. To develop a strong sense of service, community, leadership and loyalty to others.

COVER IMAGE This winter 2018 edition of Grammar News reflects and celebrates the School’s 150 year anniversary. The cover image highlights our next major BGS150 event, Celebrating 150 years of Sport and Community in September. Registered by Australia Post Publication No. QBN 4259



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gn is produced by Advancement and Community Relations, Brisbane Grammar School, Gregory Terrace Brisbane, QLD 4000 phone +61 7 3834 5379 email

EDITORIAL TEAM Heather Watson Executive Director – Advancement and Community Relations Chris Walker Communications Manager Philippa Cable Marketing Manager

Oliver Cafferky

Dale Nicholas

Noel Chan

Connor O’Grady

Luca Gerbino

Helen Penrose

Petrina Gilmore

Vicki Palmer

Carla Hardy

Chris Price

Jackie Hartley

Dani Smith

Vivien Harris

Steve Uscinski


Angela McCormack

Michael Ware

Chris Austin Toby Buckley

Anthony Micallef

Jamie Youngson

Michael Milford

Jacqui Zervos

Shannon Breen Marketing and Communications Assistant Designed externally by: Naomi White Graphic Designer Cover design – Paul Brandist


! N I W



As we celebrate our community and all things sport and competition at BGS. Are you a mum or dad, past or present, who has spent hours driving to practice sessions, cheering from the sidelines or supplying refreshments on competition days? Or are you a BGS Old Boy who has worn the light-dark-blue? If so, this event is for you!

Friday 7 September 2018 from 12.30PM - 5.00PM



Celebrating 150 Years







Venue: Upper Exhibition Hall Brisbane Showgrounds, 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills, QLD 4006 Cost: $150pp Register:

Clovely Estate Wines Print Media Group

H E A D M A S T E R ’S M E S S A G E

BGS150 celebrations continue Anthony Micallef


e are in the midst of a special year in Brisbane Grammar School’s history. One hundred and fifty years ago, the School was founded on the back of the Brisbane community and since that time the BGS community has established itself as a wonderful entity. It is this community of students, staff, parents and Old Boys that we are celebrating in 2018.

Old Boys. We examine the academic outcomes of our newest Old Boys, the Class of 2017 (page 13); hear from some of our global citizens who returned to school after an epic 16-day Antarctic adventure (page 14); and discover how BGS maintains its place at the forefront of educational innovation (pages 24-25). An Old Boy feature (pages 30-31) emphasises the incredible opportunities a BGS education provides. Former war correspondent Michael Ware ’86 became the voice of the Iraq war for Americans, meeting insurgents and death squads armed only with a notebook and pen or camera, and surviving numerous kidnappings. It was in the classrooms and on the sporting fields at BGS that Ware gained the confidence to chase his dreams. His compelling story is one that could easily fill the pages of a book and offers a fascinating insight into the price of war and what really matters in life.

The BGS150 feature (pages 18-23) in this edition of Grammar News highlights our celebrations so far and looks ahead to what is still to come this year. Our spectacular Gala Dinner at Brisbane City Hall proved a night to remember in early March, taking attendees on a journey through our history. The next major event continued a royal tradition at BGS that spans three centuries. His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, planted a fourth ‘royal’ tree at the School in April. Ahead of the Celebrating 150 Years of Sport and Community event in September, this edition takes a look at our connection with the GPS Association, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year (page 20); profiles one of our sporting icons, tennis great Roy Emerson (page 21); and reveals some of our sporting treasures from the School’s archives (pages 22-23).

In the Philanthropy section read an intriguing story of how a young boy’s letter to me set him on his BGS journey (pages 34-35). In the Generations section we profile the Roes, a true legacy family at BGS (page 38). I encourage you to send through feedback in the form of letters to the editor to and stay connected through the School’s social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Once again this edition of Grammar News contains a superb combination of stories focused on current students and




Brisbane Grammar School 9 March

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Brisbane Grammar School February 21

BGS graduate Stuart Moss beat 28,000 students to achieve the highest result on the 2017 QCS Test. Fellow student Cheng Zhang was the highest achieving international student. Josh Grice, Louis Backstrom and Daniel Harness were named Distinguished Academic Achievers. Our newest Old Boys were recognised at the 2017 Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) Achievement Awards.

Congratulations to the 2018 BGS Photography Competition winners. Simon Pfisterer took out the Overall Winner with his beautiful photo of a giraffe; Xavier Hay won People’s Choice with his photo of waves crashing into rocks; and Patrick Trowse was Staff Winner for his close up photo of mushrooms. Check out their photos and some of the other standout entries in this gallery:




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Our BGS150 celebrations have officially launched. As a symbol of our 150-year history and connection with the Brisbane community, this week the Story Bridge and Victoria Bridge have been lit up in Brisbane Grammar School's renowned light dark blue colours. Thanks to our #BGS150 partners. More: http://bit. ly/2oey9Pp

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John Moores Nice! I guess that means it’s 50 years since I started, in the 100th year – 1968. Jacinta Crickmore How fabulous. Angie Ryan Looks fantastic.

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Deborah Rich Very proud of the boys’ achievements! A credit to our young men, BGS, excellent teachers and parents. Zara Horner Incredible achievement. Well done boys, teachers and parents! Dan O'Brien Excellent Mr U and BGS! Kathy Sander Congrats boys. All top musicians too. Certainly sharpens up your brain for excellent academic results.


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Ithaca Creek State School Beautiful work Brisbane Grammar photographers. Meredith Sirett What a brilliant photo by Xavier. Angela Mullan Fabulous pics – love to see more.

Brisbane Grammar School 24 January

The Class of 2017 achieved 41 OP1s and 75 OP1 equivalents, with a median OP4 a key highlight. Three students achieved the highest possible national ATAR of 99.95 and a further seven students achieved 99.90. Congratulations to our newest Old Boys and good luck.

Brisbane Grammar School 7 March

The BGS swim team successfully defended their GPS swimming championship last Friday. Congratulations to all involved; from our swimmers to the coaches, support staff and parents.

Brisbane Grammar School 16 April

To celebrate BGS150, His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex visited BGS this morning to continue a royal tradition at the School that has spanned three centuries. Using the same spade as his father did 50 years ago, the Earl planted a fourth 'royal' tree. Full story below. #BGS150


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Rebecca Goodman Congratulations 2017 cohort on an outstanding result. This is a great example of the benefits gained through a genuine tripartite relationship between a school, student and his family... Andrew Shields Well done class of ’17 and congratulations to BGS for helping these now Old Boys achieve such great results!

Louise Siganto Fantastic team of boys, coaches, teachers and parents!

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Anusha Dissanayake Congratulations to BGS swimmers, supporters and coaches.

Anne Hewitt What a wonderful occasion and tradition.

Fiona Graham Well done boys! The cheer squad was incredible also.

Debbie Hunter Bravo BGS! Love reading about your ever present and amazing rigour to keep these traditions alive!

Nadene Whittome A fantastic result for the team.

Paula Perkins What a wonderful outcome reflecting exceptional effort from both the school and the boys.

Patrice Cafferky Proud to say my youngest boy attended this. Helen Sherington Very exciting.






Indigenous bursary students Stephen Baronio, Zeke and Micah Leaupepe Perkins were featured in a terrific story in The Courier-Mail in February this year. The story showcased how BGS is improving outcomes for Indigenous boys and gave the students an opportunity to explain what they gained from their BGS journeys. “The school has given me a very different work ethic, and the teachers do so much to prepare us for life after school,” Zeke said.

Two BGS Old Boys were nominated in the same category at the 2018 Logies – Most Popular New Talent. Dr Shalin Naik ’95 aims to become the first scientist and first person of Indian heritage to win a Logie for presenting on ABC’s Catalyst and Ask the Doctor. George Pullar ’13 is nominated for his role in A Place to Call Home, a drama about love and loss set against the social change of the 1950s.

At the end of last year BGS boarding benefited from a US$500,000 donation from Old Boy Matt McLennan ’86. The generous donation has already contributed to the first phase of boarding redevelopment completed earlier this year, this included refurbishments to the external areas outside Harlin House and comprehensive upgrades to the two common rooms. The School once again extends its gratitude to Mr McLennan.





Congratulations to all involved in the BGS World’s Greatest Shave 2018 for the Leukaemia Foundation. Weeks of fundraising culminated in an event hosted in the Middle School amphitheatre that attracted hundreds of students. Plenty of boys, teachers and school leaders bravely lost their locks and many others had their hair brightly coloured for the cause. Almost $30,000 was raised in total.

Year 7 BGS student Jeremy Sun wowed audiences at QPAC this year, performing Beethoven's Piano concerto no. 3 as a soloist with the Queensland Youth Symphony. Although just 12 years old, Jeremy has won a growing number of international piano competitions in Italy, China, Austria, Portugal and Germany. His ultimate goal is to become a great concert pianist and for those fortunate enough to have seen him play live, he’s certainly on the right path.

Congratulations to the BGS team that represented Australia in the International School Federation World Cross Country Championship in France. Alexander Stitt, Declan Kelly, Harrison Martinenko, Stirling McAvoy, Elliot Hunt and Benjamin Ganko combined to claim fourth place in the world. The boys competed under the Eiffel Tower in Paris.



VOLLEYBALL BGS volleyball again fielded the most teams in the GPS competition this year. A total of 24 teams took the court for the season with 16 of those placing first and three teams placing second. The overall performance was the best for BGS in recent years. The First VI placed fourth in the GPS premiership. All Years 8 and 9 teams placed first. Volleyball looks to be in a strong position for the years to come.

ROWING The BGS rowers of 2018 enjoyed a positive season and demonstrated consistent improvement. The Year 9 crews led from the front winning the First, Fourth and Fifth Quad events. The Year 10 First Quad won their event at the GPS Head of the River and rowed strongly out in front of the field. All BGS crews lifted for the Head of the River and


recorded a number of personal bests. The positive student-led culture in the shed is building and enthusiasm is growing in the BGS rowing program. The Open First and Second VIIIs proved excellent role models for younger students.

SWIMMING After the 40-year GPS swimming drought was broken last year, the BGS team backed up to claim a second straight GPS championship in 2018. Tom Rimmington was a standout performer, breaking a 20-year GPS record in the U16 50m breaststroke. Alexander Grant, Michael Jones, Hunter Pyne and Alexander Fenton also won individual events. The depth of the BGS swimming team was showcased in the relays, as eight out of 10 teams placed in the top three. A huge army of BGS supporters was on hand to celebrate the victory.

Benjamin Ganko, Harvey Nihill and Lucas Hu won an undefeated GPS premiership and deserve special congratulations, along with their coach Tom Parnell and assistant Joshua Grice. Senior A team member Lucas gained selection in the QDU Queensland team and Harvey was selected as a reserve.

SAILING This year was again successful for the BGS sailing program. Fleet racing saw the greatest achievements in 2018, with Vice Captain William Power winning the Royal Queensland Yacht squadron schools competition after four weeks of racing. In the GPS regatta, as well as the RQYS and state championship teams racing competitions, the young BGS teams faced a rebuilding phase against tough and experienced opponents, but their ongoing development bodes well for the future.

CRICKET This season almost 500 boys represented BGS in the cricket program. Nine teams finished as competition leaders, with a further nine teams finishing top three. After standout seasons in their respective year groups, Oliver Shearer-Smith (6A) was awarded the junior cricketer of the year and Hugh Weibgen (8A) won the senior cricketer of the year. Captain of Cricket Will Sanders was selected in the GPS Representative XI as well as the Australian U16 team that played Pakistan in April.

DEBATING It was another successful season of GPS debating for BGS. Three teams finished in outright first place, four teams were equal first and 12 teams had top three finishes from a total of 23 teams. The Senior A team of William Power,



A BGS education: past, present, future Steve Uscinski, Deputy Headmaster Teaching and Learning


risbane Grammar School’s founding mission in 1868 was to provide a broad liberal education to the young men of Queensland. The value of this legacy has never been greater or more relevant than in the 21st century where skills in critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication and character are essential. Recent research continues to reinforce the currency of a broad liberal education. The results earned by the Class of 2017 were testament to their collective commitment, stamina and aptitude. The destinations of the 2017 cohort are similarly inspiring. Key outcomes include: - 100% of applicants for a tertiary place received an offer. - Medicine and health science was the most popular tertiary destination (chosen by 22%). - More than 10% of the cohort received offers to highly competitive medicine courses. - The disciplines of science, technology, mathematics, engineering, information technology and creative industries encompass 30% of the graduating cohort. - Tertiary scholarship offers from leading universities nationwide, totalling in excess of $1.88 million, were received by 2017 seniors.

Since the OP-QCE system was introduced in 1992, BGS has maintained a standard of excellence in academic performance and a commitment to constant improvement in teaching practice that sees the School consistently ranked as the state’s leader. It is the distinctive and enduring culture of thinking and learning, which commenced in 1868 that underscores our students’ success. The classes of 2018 and 2019, which will finish the OP era at BGS, will receive the best preparation and advice to navigate the QCST and tertiary entry. At the same time, the School is ensuring that all students in Years 5 to 10 are ready for the generational change in Queensland education in 2020. While some aspects remain the same – a course of six academic subjects in senior, the mandatory study of English and Maths and a range of school-based assessment – there are also different challenges and a new language to master. The School’s commitment to the values of a broad liberal education and the nurturing of thinking students who are curious, adaptable and resilient will continue to be a priority. This should ensure BGS’ long history of academic achievement and the creation of generations of leaders in diverse fields of endeavour will continue into the future.


2017 Academic Results

The Class of 2017 continued the tradition of excellent outcomes achieved by BGS students. A median of OP4 was a key highlight, reflecting the consistency and depth of the cohort. This median had been attained only once previously, in 2014. A total of 41 students, or more than 16% of the cohort, achieved an OP1. This number increased to 75 OP1 equivalent students when combined with students who earned bonus ranks. OP1 and OP2 results combined (76 students) accounted for 30% of the outcomes, the second highest on historical record. The maximum possible ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) of 99.95 was achieved by three 2017 BGS students, with a further seven students achieving an ATAR of 99.90. BGS topped the state for OP1-5 percentage (just under 60%) for schools with more than 30 OP students. BGS academic results and QCST (Queensland Core Skills Test) results highlight the School’s longstanding commitment to educational excellence. In the QCST an A grade was achieved by 56.5% of students, the second highest result in the School's history.

Five BGS Class of 2017 graduates were recognised at the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) Achievement Awards for the top 32 students in the state. The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) hosted the event at the State Library at South Bank. Stuart Moss beat 28,000 students to achieve the highest result on the 2017 QCS Test and his fellow student Cheng Zhang was named the highest achieving international student on the statewide test. BGS 2017 School Captain and Dux Josh Grice, Louis Backstrom and Daniel Harness were named Distinguished Academic Achievers. A total of 33 BGS students made the Academic Commendation list for achieving Very High Achievements (VHAs) in the equivalent of at least six subjects; that is at least 24 semesters at VHA standard.

SCHOLARSHIP OFFERS The Class of 2017 received tertiary scholarship offers from leading universities nationwide that totalled in excess of $1.88 million. This included two Vice Chancellor scholarship offers


from The University of Queensland and nine Chancellor Scholar offers from the University of Melbourne.

DESTINATIONS > James Franco received offers from Ivy League universities, Brown and Columbia as well as other institutions. He will begin studies at the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in August this year. > Ashmit Vyas received offers from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of California San Diego (UCSD). He was also chosen for the selective Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania (Ivy League). > Rahul Karri accepted an offer to study a Bachelor of Finance at the London School of Economics. > Thomas La earned a Tuckwell Scholarship to the Australian National University (ANU), widely regarded as the most difficult scholarship to obtain in the country. > Vincent Zhang received the University of Sydney Engineering and IT Leadership Scholarship which provides for professional industry placement and mentoring.


An Antarctic adventure Connor O’Grady, Oliver Cafferky, Luca Gerbino In the December 2017 school holidays, we joined a total of 13 BGS students and staff Mr Jon Hodges and Mr Simon Conway, on an epic 16-day Antarctic adventure. The journey saw us make our way to the Antarctic Peninsula via Auckland, Santiago, Buenos Aires and finally Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. During our stay in Ushuaia, we climbed a glacier overlooking the harbour and made our final terrestrial steps prior to setting foot on the great white continent. The voyage across the famed Drake Passage on the Russian ice-breaker vessel, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, proved the passage has some of the roughest waters in the world. We endured winds of more than 40 knots battering us from the starboard side. Almost half the passengers fell victim to sea sickness and our group wasn’t immune. Upon arriving at the Antarctic Peninsula, we commenced the first of many excursions to the shore. We saw incredible bird and sea life on each of the excursions, as well as the awe-inspiring backdrop of 4000m tall mountains protruding from the pure white landscape fringed by glacial cliffs. The highlights are too extensive to list; however, camping overnight on the ice, having a penguin jump into our zodiac boat, walking the same steps as famous Antarctic explorers and taking a plunge into Antarctic waters will certainly stay with us forever. We brought home a wonderful memento of the expedition, the flag that was hoisted on our ship for the duration of the trip. On the last evening of the expedition all guests engaged in an auction for certain items of memorabilia to raise funds for conservation causes. As a group we decided we would bid for the flag, but the price quickly climbed to US$325. It was at this point a fellow passenger halted proceedings to make an offer. The gentleman had realised we were a school group and stated that he would match the current bid of $325, doubling the amount raised for the flag, on the condition that the flag would go home with us and be displayed at BGS. The deal was agreed to by all. This would have been a wonderful note to finish our expedition and commence the journey home, but Mother Nature had other ideas. Bad weather delayed our charter flight off King George Island, triggering a domino effect that ultimately saw us delayed by 48 hours. We made it home eventually and now reflect fondly on an incredible experience in a magnificent part of the world.



The draw of the Middle School libraries

find their feet. “The best part for me about the library is interacting with the boys,” she said. “I’m halfway between teacher and a mentor and I know they feel at home because they tell me it’s a friendly space. That hasn’t always been their experience of libraries. But quiet? No.”

Digital technology may have changed the way we access information, but Brisbane Grammar School boys still love to pick up a physical book. Middle School Teacher Librarian Vicki Palmer says since she opened the Middle School library 15 years ago, computer-based learning has increased, but books still offer an escape.

The Middle School now has two libraries, with 550 Years 7 and 8 boys accessing the Centenary Library for more mature books and to use as their own social space.

“Most of the boys still prefer to pick up a paper book rather than a digital version and they just love to sit and get into that space,” she said.

Fellow BGS Teacher Librarian Dani Smith said she encourages boys to read outside their comfort zone by introducing them to new books via ‘speed dating’ lessons, where boys choose a book, read the blurb, and then read silently for five minutes. They can then choose a different book if it doesn’t appeal.

Ms Palmer said the School still asks boys to use at least two print sources for their assignments. It helps with their literacy, but it also teaches them how to be discerning when accessing information on the internet. “It’s easy to pretend you’re reading when you’re on the internet, when you’re actually not. It’s like doing busy work, and sometimes you’re not getting anything done,” she said. “Studies show it’s harder to retain information from the internet than it is from print material.”

“The libraries of today are a community space where people can gather and talk about things that they love,” she said. “It’s a good way to get kids to share their enjoyment of interests." Ms Palmer agreed that the libraries remain the heart of the Middle School, a learning space boys look forward to visiting. “When teachers bring boys to the library for their weekly lesson, they’re excited to come. That has never changed, which is nice.”

The Middle School Library also acts as a social hub, where library staff run themed lunchtime activities, such as trivia Kahoots, craft making, and photo and Lego competitions. Ms Palmer described the Middle School Library as lively, exciting places where boys new to BGS often gravitate to


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Celebrating BGS150 As Brisbane Grammar School celebrates 150 years in 2018, we continue to recognise the special milestone in our great school’s journey. We take pride in the remarkable successes of the BGS community – a diverse community that starts with current students and includes Old Boys, current and past parents, current and past staff, and friends of the School. It is also a global community that extends far beyond the school gates. Read on to find out how we have celebrated BGS150 so far and what is still to come.


BGS150 Gala: A night to remember Brisbane City Hall’s façade took on a glamorous blue hue as 900 BGS community members celebrated the launch of BGS150 at a Gala Dinner on Saturday 3 March. Inside, the BGS-inspired magic continued, with table centrepieces featuring historic scenes and blue lighting in the beautiful main hall. The event began with a video that took attendees on a journey through history, commencing with the School’s foundation in 1868 to the present day. Performances by Old Boy tenor David Kidd ‘88 and 200 BGS musicians moved guests to tears, as the evening celebrated our community, history and traditions. Fifty years ago Brisbane City Hall also welcomed the BGS community for our 100th anniversary in 1968, highlighting the School’s synergy with the city of Brisbane. Special thanks to the Lord Mayor of Brisbane and our BGS150 sponsors, in particular our major sponsors ANZ, Audi Centre Brisbane and Morgans, for their generosity in helping make the Gala Dinner a success.


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Earl’s visit continues royal legacy at BGS

he met The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award participants in Centenary Hall.

BGS150 celebrations continued in regal style with a visit from His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex in April, continuing a royal tradition at the School that spans three centuries.

Using the same spade as his father 50 years ago, the Earl continued the royal legacy at BGS, planting a fourth ‘royal’ tree. The occasion celebrated the School’s 150th year and also the important role The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award has played at BGS and around the world.

In February 1868, His Royal Highness Prince Alfred, who later became The Duke of Edinburgh, laid the foundation stone for the original Brisbane Grammar School building in Roma Street. When BGS was relocated to its current location in 1881, his nephews, Princes George and Edward, then 16 and 17 years old, planted two Moreton Bay figs to mark their visit to the colony of Queensland.

Prince Philip started the International Award in 1956 and today it continues to inspire young people to serve their communities, experience adventure, and develop and learn skills outside the classroom. The Earl is Chair of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation, continuing his father's work.

George returned to Australia in 1901 to open the first parliament of the newly established Commonwealth. He was later crowned King George V and is the great-grandfather of The Earl of Wessex.

His visit provided the opportunity to recognise the Award and its participants, which many BGS boys have completed since it started in Australia in 1958. The objectives of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award align well with the BGS mission to educate confident young men of character who go into their communities and make a difference.

The Earl’s father, His Royal Highness, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, visited BGS twice: in 1968, to mark the School’s 100th anniversary, when he planted the Hoop Pine in front of Harlin House; and again in 1977, when


Audi Centre Brisbane

Congratulations on 150 years Brisbane Grammar School

Audi Centre Brisbane — proud supporter of Brisbane Grammar School. 586 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley QLD | Phone: (07) 3251 8222 |

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Celebrating sport and community

Since foundation in 1868 through to the current day, sport at Brisbane Grammar School has played a fundamental role in producing well-rounded Grammar Men. Sport has been embedded in the culture of the School, with the light dark blue proudly worn since Headmaster Reginald Heber Roe introduced the sporting colours of Oxford and Cambridge in the late 1870s. From the moment the gates opened, sport has contributed greatly to achieving the School’s purpose to educate boys to become thoughtful, respectful, and confident young men of character who contribute to their communities. Just as the BGS motto, nil sine labore – nothing without work – applies as much in competition as it does in the classroom. The School’s connection with sport further strengthened with the introduction of the Greater Public Schools (GPS) competition in 1918. This year marks 100 years of GPS and throughout the year the GPS Association is honouring the best of its rich history, reflecting on its achievements and celebrating the nine member schools’ spirit of fellowship.

At a special opening ceremony at Nudgee College in February, GPS100 was launched. GPS ‘history makers' including Australian cricket legend Michael Kasprowicz (BSHS 1989), shared their individual experiences with the audience. A new GPS tradition was introduced with the gift of a centenary flag to each school. BGS Director of Sport, Ron Cochrane, the longest serving current member of the GPS Sports and Activities Committee, introduced the centenary flags as a tribute to GPS’ loyal and passionate supporters. BGS has produced sportsmen who have proudly represented Australia in sports ranging from cricket, tennis, rugby, rowing, football, track and field and many others. But behind each BGS sportsman at all levels is a team of supporters who deserve equal celebration. The School will recognise its sporting legacy with a major BGS150 event, Celebrating 150 Years of Sport and Community on Friday 7 September 2018. The occasion will celebrate BGS’ history of participation in sports and clubs, not only as competitors but on the sidelines through support as parents, volunteers and sponsors.


Sports legend returns to BGS Tennis great and BGS Old Boy Roy Emerson visited Brisbane Grammar School’s new tennis centre in January to offer some words of wisdom to the School’s next tennis generation. Emerson, who left BGS in 1953 to tour overseas as a tennis player, was a prodigious talent while at school. Undefeated in GPS tennis matches, he was the best junior player in the country. He turned that talent into success on the world stage, winning 12 singles and 16 doubles grand slams across a career that made him a legend of the sport. He still holds a number of international tennis records, including the only male player to complete the career grand slam (winning all four grand slams) in singles and doubles. Emerson remains the only male player to complete the singles grand slam twice and achieved the feat three times in doubles. In Davis Cup, he was part of eight winning teams for Australia. He is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Today Emerson lives in California but often visits Australia to catch up with old combatants and attend the Australian Open. Ahead of visiting the 2018 Australian Open, Emerson made time to tour BGS. He reminisced on his childhood and time at the School. “I was brought up in a one teacher school in Nukku just outside of Blackbutt, just a mile and half from our home on a dairy farm,” he said. “It was a one teacher school from

age five through to 14. Our whole family played tennis; we built a tennis court on the farm out of ants’ nests. I didn’t start playing tennis until about nine years old, but Dad gave me every opportunity with lessons.” After moving to Ipswich Grammar School for a year and then to BGS when his family moved to Brisbane, Emerson said he looks back fondly on his time at the School. “I really loved BGS and tried to take part in everything,” he said. “I was on the School athletics and tennis teams and received some coaching from (BGS Old Boy) Gar Moon and remember going to lessons early before school.” As well as his talents on the tennis court, Emerson was a star athlete. In 1952 he broke the U16 GPS long jump record with 6.27m. “I used to train at home; I’d run down the side yard, just miss the garage and the house. I put a board down where all the vegetables were growing in the garden and I’d dig it up so I had a nice soft landing spot and I’d jump over the strawberries and the lettuce and cabbage.” Reflecting on the current state of tennis, Emerson said he would like to see players aiming to perfect their all-court game and improve on and better utilise volleying. “Tennis has got a bit one dimensional,” he said. “If you’re an all-round player and are just as proficient at the back as at the net you can alter your game if you’re not winning from the back and come forward.”


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BGS sporting treasures The following are a selection of treasures included in the ‘Playing the Game’ section in the 150 Treasures of Brisbane Grammar School notebook published this year.

104 This photograph features three 1916 rugby honour cap winners. On the left is Rhodes Scholar Victor Grenning, ‘Best Forward’; Rhodes Scholar Tom Lawton on the right, ‘Best Back’; and in the centre Colin Stewart, ‘Next Best Player’. Tom Lawton, (BGS 1913-1917) was one of the School’s greatest sportsmen, dominating in cricket, tennis, rowing, swimming, and track and field. He went on to play for the Wallabies, and was captain of every Test he played. Colin Stewart (BGS 1914-1917) was part of the First rugby side for three years, and a top rowing, and track and field competitor. Victor Grenning (BGS 1913-1917)

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was a member of the First rugby side for four years and First cricket team for three years, winning the shooting championship in his senior year.

105 This football pocket 1st XIII 1922-23 belonged to John Bertram Gilchrist Gibson (BGS 1918-1923), who was a champion on and off the field. Gibson won the Silver Lilley Medal for the Upper School in 1920, and in 1922-23 was awarded colours for rugby, swimming and athletics. He was champion gymnast in 1923. Queensland schools and the university colleges started playing rugby league in 1920 when the Queensland Rugby Union folded. It was reformed in 1929 and BGS has been playing rugby union ever since.

106 Showing signs of wear and tear, this megaphone dates back to 1947 when Rodney John Munro (BGS 1947-1948) was a student. His father made the megaphone out of paper mache, and painted it in the School colours for use on sports days, particularly swimming and rowing events.


109 Former Australian Test cricketer David Ogilvie’s cricket bat, commemorating his first Test versus India in 1977 at the Gabba, is now displayed at Northgate. An Old Boy (BGS 1965-1969), he was a member of the School’s First XI, which he captained in his last year. David went on to play in six Tests from 1977-1978.

111 The Victor Sellheim Memorial Challenge Cup is named after Old Boy Victor Sellheim (BGS 1881-1884), the School’s champion athlete in 1883, who later had a distinguished career in the army and public administration. Major General VCM Sellheim CB, CMG, became the Administrator and Chief Magistrate of Norfolk Island. He died in 1928 and the cup was presented to BGS in 1933 by Mrs Sellheim in his memory. It is awarded annually to the champion athlete of the School.

113 This 1928 Australian team photo from the second Test against England includes (Sir) Donald Bradman (front row, third from right) and Old Boy Otto Ernst Nothling (BGS 1914-1919) (back row, second from right).


Nothling was an outstanding sportsman at school. He went onto play sports for Sydney University and his College (St Andrews), and represented Australia in Rugby Union in 1921. Martin Nothling, Otto’s son, established the Otto Nothling Memorial Prize in his father’s honour to encourage BGS students to follow Otto’s example of achievement in both academic and extracurricular pursuits.

115 One of the School’s greatest scullers is featured in this photograph of the rowing First Four in 1917. They are (standing) CR Lawton and A Baynes; (sitting) AK Stewart, E Colclough (coach), JG Hoare (cox), and T Lawton. Arthur Baynes (BGS 1913-1917) won the Queensland championship sculls in 1919, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1924 and 1925. In July 1922 Baynes competed in the Diamond Sculls, the sport’s pinnacle event at Henley, England, but was defeated in the semi-final by an American. This photo also shows Tom ‘Tommy’ Lawton as a member of the rowing team. Lawton, later a Rhodes Scholar, was a great sportsman, captaining the Queensland rugby union team that defeated the New Zealand All Blacks in three Test matches in 1929. In 1930 he led Australia to victory in the first Test against the British Isles.

BGS150 History Book Light dark blue: 150 years of learning and leadership at Brisbane Grammar School will be published in February 2019. Drawing on personal stories and extensive scholarly research, this book explores and celebrates the School’s distinctive place in Queensland’s educational landscape, and considers the effects of political, social and economic change during its 150 years.

Light dark blue describes the leadership provided by headmasters, staff and trustees, and students’ learning experiences in every era. The story charts the School’s quest for academic excellence, educational innovation, the influence of the state scholarship system, boarding, financial challenges, and aspects of school culture from loyal wartime service to diverse offerings in sport and the arts. Enlivened by anecdotes and hundreds of illustrations,

Light dark blue will reward those who wish to dip into the School’s history, as well as readers determined to delve more deeply. The foreword by Old Boy David Malouf AO ’50 introduces this elegant hardcover book, written by professional historian Helen Penrose (HistorySmiths). More information on how to purchase the book will be available soon.



Preparing for school and beyond: The power of effective thinking

As Brisbane’s first grammar school, BGS has been an educational leader in Queensland for the last 150 years, offering a broad liberal education to generations of boys. So when Queensland announced the introduction of a new senior assessment system to be implemented in 2019, BGS teachers eagerly took up the challenge to adopt the new course work. Informed by the latest research into how students think and learn, BGS has developed its own teaching framework, known as Effective Thinking Cultures, to give boys the skills to tackle the demands of the new assessment environment. In 2017, Head of Middle School Jacqui Zervos took up the role as Executive Director - Education Innovation to oversee the changes. “The new ATAR system prompted us to refine the way

ENCOURAGING EFFECTIVE THINKING WITH YOUR SON AT HOME: - Where possible ask questions, rather than give answers - Ask open questions (why? how?) rather than closed (yes, no)

we approach teaching. For the first time in many years, teachers won’t be setting the external assessment,” she said. “Our focus on teaching boys how to think, rather than just memorising facts to regurgitate in an exam, has served us well in the past. Our new Effective Thinking Cultures builds on what we’ve always done. It’s an all-school approach, ensuring all teachers encourage these important critical thinking skills.” BGS has developed ETC in collaboration with The University of Queensland’s Critical Thinking Project, which focuses on how a student thinks about thinking, and their willingness to ‘have a go’. “We all have an internal mechanism that drives us to accept a new

challenge or shut down and retreat,” Ms Zervos said. “ETC helps students develop what we call self-efficacy, an ability to work out what needs to be done, and to assess our readiness to tackle that task.” In the classroom, ETC will involve students evaluating their own thinking and the thinking of others, so boys are curious about how a task is successfully completed. Failing to get the task correct is also an important feature of effective thinking. “Experiencing failure and how to deal with unforeseen challenges helps boys recognise potential obstacles and the cognitive steps you need to take to overcome them,” Ms Zervos said. “ETC will be a foundation for a student’s journey into lifelong learning. At BGS we’re committed to boys making a life, rather than just a living.”

- Ask him to talk about the specific thinking skills he used today, and what he particularly valued in that thinking

- Don’t save him from a cognitive challenge – lead with a roadmap

- Ask if he was convinced to change his perspective today

- Help him see the learning opportunities in failure

- Challenge negative thinking

- Ask him what feedback he received today


- Solve issues with him by sharing your thinking

Developing athletes at BGS The benefits of physical activity for adolescents are well documented, improving physical and emotional health and wellbeing, academic outcomes, athletic development and sporting performances. An athletic development program for BGS was initially investigated in 2006 and within a year several initiatives were introduced to support senior boys preparing for in-season GPS sports. In 2008 the Athletic Development Program (ADP) was formally introduced at the School. Director of Sport Ron Cochrane said the introduction of the ADP was consistent with BGS’ ethos to be a leader in areas of education, curriculum, technology and facility development with the program striving to be relevant, progressive and innovative. “The Athletic Development Program at BGS demonstrated a clear progression to improved sport, health, physical fitness and endeavour throughout the BGS journey and beyond,” he said. “Since its introduction, the program has continued to evolve and strengthen, weaving its way through the curriculum, extracurricular activities, staff and community.” Director of Athletic Development Jamie Youngson said the scope for the ADP had expanded to now offer specialist coaches providing a wide variety of services and programs to students from all year levels. “There are currently six athletic development coaches working across BGS sports, bringing with them a wealth of experience in performance and elite sport settings,” he said. The ADP contributed to the back-to-back GPS success of the BGS cross country and swimming teams. It also helped BGS weightlifting claim the Queensland Weightlifting All Schools Championship last year. BGS Director of Swim Coaching David Lush, who also coaches Olympic level swimmers, said for senior students the ADP optimised their physical development and athletic qualities. “In Years 11 and 12, the ADP becomes a component of the core physical education curriculum,” he said. Within the swimming program, students engage in two ADP lessons per week. The first lesson is practical and focuses on a biomechanical analysis of students’ swimming strokes by a performance scientist at the Queensland Academy of Sport. The second lesson is theoretical and fast-tracks students through the Swimming Australia level one coaching accreditation curriculum. Students learn the rationale for their own exercise prescription, and teachers identify and upskill future Old Boy coaches. The ADP and Physical Education programs at BGS have been using reflective practice, one of the core values of Effective Thinking Cultures, before the new teaching framework was formally developed at the School.



BGS boys involved in Commonwealth Games Brisbane Grammar School students played a notable role in the 2018 Commonwealth Games with four boys given the prestigious honour of running the Queen’s baton and another successfully auditioned to perform on the big stage at the opening and closing ceremonies. Callum McCarthy, Alex MacGibbon, Hunter Pyne and Will Chapman were selected as baton bearers, and Alexander Graves’ opening ceremony performance was seen by an Australian television audience that peaked at 3.23 million viewers nationally, one of the most watched shows of the year so far. Boarding students Callum and Alex ran the baton in Mareeba and Blackwater respectively, and Hunter and Will ran inner-city Brisbane

legs. Hunter received the baton from swimming icon Kieren Perkins and Will handed the baton off to another swimming legend Grant Hackett, just a few days before the start of the Games. Hunter has already shown promise in the pool, winning all four of his events at the GPS championship this year and progressing to compete at the national event. All students said they were proud to chosen to be involved in the Commonwealth Games. Will summed up the importance of the occasion. “The chance to represent not only my school but also the country as one of the baton bearers was amazing,” he said. “I have always loved sport and enjoy the thrill of competing, so to be involved


in one of the biggest international competitions where some of the best athletes in the world participate was unbelievable.” Alex said it was an honour to represent his school and rural community by running the baton. “I’m grateful for being part of two distinct communities, my urban BGS community and up until a recent move to Moranbah, my rural Blackwater community,” he said. "Each, in their own way, have given me the opportunities and encouragement to pursue my dreams and aspirations.” Carrying a message from the Queen, the baton travelled 230,000 kilometres through 69 nations and territories for more than a year before making its way to the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games.

A culture of success in the ‘Physics World Cup’ Showcasing the strength of Physics at Brisbane Grammar School, three students will represent Australia in the International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT) in China from 19-26 July this year. After winning the Australian level of the competition at the end of last year, Mukund Ghantala, Lavien Premraj and William Power make up the majority of the five-member national team to compete in the competition colloquially referred to as the ‘Physics World Cup’. Head of Physics Noël Chan said teams had been presented with

17 problems at the beginning of the IYPT preparation at the start of this year. Each team could then decline three problems without penalty, so the Australian team opted to work on 15 of the options, delegating three to each member. Ms Chan said the problems were experiment-based and open-ended, not the sort of challenges for which answers could be found in text books. “The other challenge is that the students have to defend their answers verbally,” she said. “So they not only have to be academically gifted, they also need to be highly articulate.” At the IYPT in China participants will present their solutions to scientific problems they prepared and discuss their solutions with other teams. The roles of reporter, opponent and reviewer will be graded by a jury of international experts. Though the preparation process had been challenging in many ways, especially juggling the demands of Year 12, each of the BGS boys said it


was enjoyable. “We really like investigating things,” William said. “I think we all see it as a valuable opportunity and something that will eventually help us get into our uni courses, whatever they turn out to be.” Mukund, Lavien and William all credited their skills and experience in debating as giving them an extra edge in the competition, especially when critiquing competing arguments and defending their own arguments. “The competition does get heated at times,” William said. “But that’s where debating skills come in handy. We have to remember that the problems are difficult and the other teams have spent as much time on them as we have, so they have every right to present their opinions.” Historically BGS has proven itself on the national and international stage of the IYPT, winning the national competition seven times since 2007. This success resulted in a total of 16 BGS boys being selected to represent the Australian team over that time.

B G S 15 0

Foundation Day 2018

Several major scholarships and bursaries were presented to students who had recently graduated with distinction and to young men beginning their BGS journeys.

Every Foundation Day is an important milestone in Brisbane Grammar School history, but the 2018 event was particularly significant. In February staff and students gathered in Centenary Hall to acknowledge the 150th anniversary of the School’s foundation.

These awards honour the service to the School of three men who encouraged the qualities of character and learning always regarded most highly at BGS. They are the School’s longest-serving and one of the most significant headmasters RH Roe; the School’s first Rhodes Scholar AS Roe; and AJ Mason who taught at BGS from 1889 to 1940.

In 1868, when the School’s foundation stone was laid, the colony of Queensland was not even a decade old. Over the last 150 years, both Queensland and BGS have grown together into something completely new and distinctively Australian. This story of growing community and achievement was acknowledged at the Foundation Day assembly this year.

Congratulations to 2017 graduates Joshua Grice, Toby Buckley and Dougal Brown for being awarded these scholarships. Christian Fuller was acknowledged for receiving the JG Nowlan award, and Trustees’ Scholarship recipients were Connor Haley, Isaac Robinson, Hansa Tennakoon and Jaden Teow.

Ever since the School opened its doors in 1869, BGS has provided the highest standards of schooling to boys and this remains its key function. The BGS vision is clear: to educate thoughtful and confident men of character who contribute to their communities. In this 150th celebration year, Foundation Day highlighted the importance of the entire BGS community – students, parents, Old Boys, and the wider Brisbane community – in creating a legacy. The occasion also celebrated and publicly acknowledged the importance of good scholarship.

The Foundation Day assembly also provided an opportunity for current students to hear from an inspiring graduate. This year guest speaker Old Boy Scott Wharton '95 explored his journey to the position of Executive General Manager, Strategy and Performance, Enterprise Services at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.


accountability and administrative justice roles, and to the law.

BGS Old Boy David Bevan '66 received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to public administration in Queensland through oversight,

BGS Old Boy Dr Neil John Bartels '76 received a Medal in the General Division (OAM) for service to medicine in rural and regional areas.


BGS Old Boy Ross Maddock '62 received an OAM for service to Australia-Taiwan trade and business relations. Andrea Messenger, wife of BGS staff member Brett Messenger, received an OAM for service to music.

O L D B O Y S ’ A S S O C I AT I O N

OBA President’s Message Chris Austin


he Class of 2017 was the first year group to all graduate as Life Members of the OBA. A highlight of the past 12 months was joining with other members of the Committee in presenting these graduating students with their Old Boy ties after having the opportunity to welcome them as new members of the Association. Several successful networking activities have now been hosted by the Association over the past 18 months. The recent law evening proved another success with over 70 people attending and the majority under 30 years of age. These events create a wonderful opportunity for young Old Boys to meet with well-established Old Boys in their area of interest or chosen vocation.

This year’s Foundation Day cocktail party was another OBA highlight with around 80 people in attendance. New Old Boy parents were invited to join existing Old Boy parents in a social format where all were presented with a unique Old Boys cap. Old Boys are currently raising funds to support repairs and upgrades to the War Memorial Library. I wish to thank all those who have contributed and encourage others to support this important cause. In closing, please join us for what will be a fantastic evening at the Annual Reunion Dinner. More details are below.

BGS OBA COMMITTEE The OBA AGM was conducted on 16 April this year. The following committee was elected. President

Chris Austin ‘79

Vice President Michael Forrest ‘87 Treasurer

Jim MacPherson ‘85


John Emery ‘83

Past President Stuart Rees ‘79

Committee Members Stephen Bizzell ’84; Cameron McLeod ’88; Geoff Clarke ’64; Cameron Feltham ’86; Timothy Sharpless ’11; Garth Hobson ’86; Richard Wheeler ’99. Thank you to Julian Potten ‘07, Jeremy Hunt ‘16 and Nathan Huehne ‘11 for their time on the Committee and the valuable contribution they have made.


The indomitable Michael Ware

A Renaissance man forged at BGS

faster, bigger and stronger than me, that first term was quite intimidating,” he said.

Former war correspondent and BGS Old Boy Michael Ware ’86 became the voice of the Iraq war for Americans, as he made the world’s deadliest war zones his home through the 2000s. Working for Time magazine and CNN in Afghanistan and Iraq, Ware witnessed the birth of ISIS and endured three kidnappings, including an attack that saw him moments from execution.

“But what turned it around socially for me was the first season of rugby training and games. It was that experience through team sport at BGS that helped me feel like I’d arrived at the School, it gave me a sense of belonging. BGS rugby became something that was very powerful as a social agent in my early years, it really had a deep and lasting impact on me. From the discipline to the camaraderie and sense of brotherhood, rugby was important.”

During his most recent project last year, he rode with The Night Wolves, a pro-Putin motorcycle gang; explored witchcraft in PNG; and interviewed Iranian spies as part of an eight-episode National Geographic series. Uncensored with Michael Ware appeared on television screens in 171 countries and in 45 languages. But rewind more than three decades to his teenage years, and it was at BGS that Ware gained the confidence to take risks and chase his dreams. Having earned an academic scholarship to attend the School in 1982, it took some time to find his place. “To arrive on day one, looking around this incredible school with over 1000 kids, all who looked smarter,

From there Ware said he developed other friendships and networks and involved himself in everything from drama and debating to music, rowing and astronomy. A BGS all-rounder, Ware was equally adept inside and outside the classroom. “I distinctly remember in Modern History being introduced to the concept of the Renaissance man,” he said. “The sort of guy that is well-rounded with a poet’s heart and a warrior’s physicality and sense of adventure. This idea really had an impact on me at BGS and that’s when I think I started to develop as a young adult.”


“Even in my later life and later career in our modern wars, when I see the professional military on their front lines, these are very well-rounded individuals, some of these commanders particularly. They are truly warrior scholars or warrior poets. That’s something that resonated with me starting from way back when in a classroom in 1982. It’s an idea that I’ve used to fashion my whole life and it’s an idea I found at BGS.” After graduating from BGS, Ware went on to gain Law and Political Science degrees at The University of Queensland and play rugby for the Queensland Reds. A major car accident interrupted his rugby career and led to years of surgeries and physiotherapy, but he fought his way back into the Reds team, only to retire after three games when he realised it wasn’t for him. An accidental journalist, he first worked as a clerk for Justice Tony Fitzgerald, before a chat between his mum and The Courier-Mail chief of staff led Ware to taking on a year-long trial as a journalist. His talent was immediately obvious and after just five years as a journalist and following a key assignment in East Timor, he was offered a job at Time magazine.

The September 11 terror attack in America changed Ware’s life as he went on to spend almost a decade in the Middle East, working for Time and then CNN. He said he resisted the move from print to television journalism for years until he discovered the power of the broadcast medium. “I would go into meetings with insurgents and death squads and members of the Islamic State armed only with a notebook and pen,” he said. “But a camera instantly changes the dynamic. I would write 10 words in Time magazine and those words would sink like a stone, but then I would do a guest spot on an American network and say those same 10 words verbatim and at the Pentagon the next day the Secretary of Defence would have to respond to them.” In September 2004 he was kidnapped by Islamic State, when they had started live television broadcasts of beheadings. Islamic State had taken a key zone in Baghdad and from there they could launch rockets and mortars into the US and Australian embassies, the American Command and Iraqi Parliament. But no one knew they had done so. “The local insurgents had turned this particular area into a no-go zone for the Americans,” he said. “It was

dubbed Purple Heart Lane, that’s how bad it was. The guys doing that were hard-core guerrilla nationalist fighters but then the Islamic State hijacked it and took it over. I went in with a camera to confirm that but was spotted and nabbed. After they clawed the camera out of my hand they positioned me underneath an execution banner with guys in masks and a knife.” Intent on capturing Ware’s beheading on his own camera, the group argued about how to work it. That’s when he was saved by a local Iraqi insurgent group. “They said if you kill this foreigner he’s our guest and you’ll be dishonouring us and we’re going to launch a turf war that you are not ready for right now,” he said. “Six months later they would have been strong enough to do whatever they wanted to me.” He was effectively saved by bad guys from other bad guys, but said the nature of war blurs the lines between the good and bad. The scars of war are permanent for Ware. He developed post-traumatic stress disorder that led to nightmares, flashbacks and depression. The bombings severely impacted his senses of smell and taste and he no longer remembers names and faces like he once did.


But war has given Ware clarity on what really matters in life. “One of the many illuminations I gained from war about the nature of human existence is the true story of trauma,” he said. “You can’t un-see what you’ve seen and you can’t un-live what you’ve lived. In war when you are facing life or death everything becomes crystal clear; what really matters and what does not and who really matters and who does not. You find out who you really are.” “You can’t pretend to be someone you’re not and for me that was a kind of purification that I found compelling. Not to mention that as a journalist, the war and combat meant witnessing history unfolding right before my eyes. It’s a rare privilege to be able to witness history from a front row seat.” “The price of going to war or seeing war is that it will never leave you. In my experience, with what the war cost me and particularly what it cost my family, that’s the most insurmountable cost. It nonetheless feels worth it to be able to see the world through these new eyes and to appreciate the things that truly matter. That is a gift. Even if I walk forever with ghosts, it’s a gift that I wouldn’t relinquish.”


A passion for artificial intelligence and education

Artificial intelligence is no longer the work of science fiction and is increasingly becoming reality. BGS Old Boy Professor Michael Milford ’98 is at the forefront of these developments, conducting interdisciplinary research at the boundary between robotics and neuroscience.

people who were chasing their dreams and exercising the kind of self-discipline and persistence required to compete on a world stage was a fabulous environment for encouraging lifelong adherence to those principles in yourself.”

Prof Milford, a multi-award winning educational entrepreneur with a Mechanical and Space Engineering degree and a PhD in Robotics from The University of Queensland, currently leads a team at QUT researching the nature of intelligence.

A pivotal moment occurred during his early years at BGS, when he was ‘hacked’ by his more computer-savvy friends, which provided a strong motivation to learn a few tricks of his own. From there he learned how to code and began to enjoy writing computer games and artificial intelligence programs.

“Robotics and artificial intelligence are likely to be some of the greatest transformative influences on humanity over the coming decades and it’s really exciting to be working at their core,” he said. “My research models the neural mechanisms in the brain underlying tasks like navigation and perception in order to develop new robotics and computer vision-related technologies.” This has led Prof Milford to work with research agencies including the Australian Research Council and the US Air Force; collaborate with organisations such as Harvard University, Oxford University, MIT, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory; and deliver presentations to technology corporations Google, Amazon and Microsoft. Prof Milford said BGS was the birthplace of his passion for robotics and artificial intelligence, and education. “My overwhelming memories of BGS centre around an incredible learning and growth experience,” he said. “I got to meet, be inspired by and learn from some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, many of whom are friends today.” “The peer atmosphere at BGS was incredible in terms of inspiration, motivation and learning opportunities. I think in particular being around passionate, driven

Prof Milford said BGS also provided daily ‘in the trenches’ experience in collaborative learning and finding out what helped students learn best. Soon after graduating from school, he wrote an informal Maths textbook called Not a C Minus, which to his surprise became a best seller that Christmas. This led him to write a series of textbooks covering Maths, Physics and English. He went on to develop new ways to communicate key STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) concepts to the general public. In 2015 Prof Milford launched Math Thrills, which stealthily embeds key mathematical concepts in young adult fiction. More recently, he ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to publish and distribute worldwide the “STEM Storybook”, a collection of 12 illustrated early childhood stories embedded with key mathematical concepts such as statistics, finance, probability and robotics. Prof Milford has maintained his connection with BGS over the years, with his son enrolled to attend the School and his daughter enrolled to attend Brisbane Girls Grammar School.



BGS sport teams with Australian Sports Foundation The P&F Association plays an important role at Brisbane Grammar School, connecting parents to volunteer and fundraising opportunities that support school activities. One of the ways P&F support groups contribute to the development of BGS sports programs is by raising funds through ticket and food sales, raffles and fundraising through the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF). The ASF is the only organisation in Australia to allow tax deductable donations for sports, providing schools with a platform to raise money for everything from equipment and facility development to coaching, scholarships, team travel, events and officiating. BGS rowing is one of a growing number of sports at the School that have connected with the ASF. President of the BGS rowing support group, Tipperoo, David Weightman said the combination provided an efficient means of raising money for a capital intensive program like rowing. “Being tax deductable, donors can choose to direct some of their pre-tax income to the Australian Sports Foundation,” he said.

“We know not everyone is able to donate their time through cooking on the barbecue or selling hamburgers to hungry rowers, but through the ASF everyone can contribute.” “The fundraising goal for the Tipperoo support group typically ranges from $50,000 to $70,000 each year, which is what is required to maintain and renew the equipment within the BGS rowing shed. The majority of money raised through fundraising goes directly to purchasing new boats for the boys.” Weightman said access to high quality equipment made a significant difference in competitive rowing and therefore directly impacted results. “Given the cost of new boats and the importance of having the latest equipment in order to be competitive, the ability to raise funds through the ASF is important for Tipperoo and the BGS rowing program overall.” The School is appreciative of the immense contribution of the P&F Association to BGS sports. Ultimately, it is the boys who benefit from this community of volunteers and donors playing a supportive role in the development of their sport.

If you would like to contribute to BGS sport through the Australian Sports Foundation, please contact Executive Director - Advancement and Community Relations Heather Watson at



Letter that set Toby on his BGS journey


ursary student and BGS Old Boy Toby Buckley ’17 took a unique path to Brisbane Grammar School. It started with a letter to Headmaster Anthony Micallef in 2015. But it wasn’t a normal letter. He penned it himself – without his parents’ knowledge – when partway through Year 10 at a small beach-side school in NSW. It was a bold move for those who know Buckley as a polite and quietly spoken young man but one he never once regretted. “In my letter I told Mr Micallef about myself, my family and my reasons for wanting to attend BGS,” Buckley said. “As things progressed I had to tell my parents and initially they were shocked, but soon they were ecstatic. Thanks to Mr Micallef’s generosity and the BGS community’s continuous contribution to bursary endowments, I received an offer that changed the course of my life.” Buckley was offered a bursary to attend BGS and lived as a boarder in Harlin House, where he completed Years 11 and 12. From day one he immersed himself in the School community. “I met a lot of incredible people while involving myself in the football program, mechatronics, the spirit committee, the student representative body, chess, academic services, titration, physics and chemistry Olympiads, volunteer work with Orange Sky Laundry and Rosies food van, and all things boarding.” “BGS taught me how to study effectively, work under pressure and in a team. But more importantly, the School taught me the importance of hard work and has instilled in me core values that I am confident are great preparation for life after school.”

Graduating last year with a perfect 99.95 ATAR and runner up to Dux, doors were open to Buckley all over the world, but he couldn’t pass up on the valuable connections he had made in Brisbane. After being awarded a BGS Foundation Day scholarship to attend The University of Queensland, he started a Bachelor of Biomedical Science with provisional entry into medicine this year. Long term Buckley said he hoped to work with not for profit organisations to provide medical aid to third world countries and was also interested in medical research. He also hoped to be able to help others start their BGS journeys. “I hope to eventually give back to BGS and Harlin House through the 2017 Year Group Bursary,” he said. Buckley said he couldn’t find the words to adequately describe the impact his BGS bursary had on him and his family. “BGS helped me to reach my potential and has taught me so much more than I could have imagined,” he said. “Without the BGS bursary I would have struggled to pursue a tertiary education. It changed the course of my life and has allowed me to meet many incredible people from all walks of life.” “A lot of my mates back home could have benefitted from a BGS education just as much as I have. I believe bursaries are extremely important to provide boys from financially disadvantaged backgrounds an environment in which to thrive. A bursary benefits the recipient, but it also creates diversity in classrooms, which is important.”




In 2017, $3,703,541 was raised with $1,817,840 received from

709 gifts by 329 donors. OUR DONORS:

$2,188,520 towards infrastructure projects

$1,496,377 raised to provide bursarial support for boys in financial need

raised $467,402 for bursaries through the YGB program

Current Parents 7%


Old Boys



Past Parents Staff and Friends

*Many of our Old Boys are also parents

current parents donated $127,661 through Voluntary Contributions

$249,226 55 students received towards bursaries through Bequests

Old Boys


received needs-based bursaries


A community of

over 300 volunteers dedicated their time to various initiatives across the School.


BGS P&F Auxiliary pledged $500,000 towards bursaries, providing a 50% bursary in perpetuity for students in financial need.

Matt McLennan pledged US$500,000 towards Harlin House upgrades setting boarding refurbishment in motion.

BGS P&F Auxiliary donated $250,000 towards the War Memorial Library gardens, kick-starting improvements to the War Memorial precinct. 35

$1M pledged by a BGS Old Boy towards the future development of a transformative STEAM precinct to integrate the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.


BGS Art Show 2018 ‘Connection’ Head of Art Angela (Brown) McCormack

The 2018 BGS Art Show will mark the School’s 150th anniversary by featuring the School’s artistic legacy. We will celebrate the past, present and future by making connections with Old Boys from various years, showcasing the breadth and depth of talent our alumni has to share with our community. A selection of Old Boy feature artists will show off an assorted range of artistic approaches and celebrate diversity in Art. Current students will be connected to the artists through a series of masterclasses and workshops throughout the year. We can look forward to seeing new work by emerging artist Daniel Sherington ’14, currently studying at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Predominately working in a hyper realistic drawing style, his works are inquisitive in nature, often questioning the very nature of the subject or imagery he represents. Large scale landscapes enquire into subjective representation and the validity of realistic depiction. His figurative works question our identity. Sherington has already experienced substantial critical success. Another of this year’s drawcards will be Graham Ashton ’78. As a BGS student, he won the 1977 Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Child Art Contest, presented by Her Majesty,

Queen Elizabeth II. Since then he has been engaged with the depiction of the Australian landscape and seascape. Early in his career he embraced the ‘en plein air’ approach, working primarily with gouache on paper. His paintings, generated quickly on location, resound with a sense of spontaneity and boldness. Colour and form take a priority in his work. Ashton currently works as a musician, artist and teacher. International artist Nameer Davis ’76 has taught practical and theoretical visual art subjects in various institutions, including delivering invitational lectures at several Chinese Art Colleges. His education included formal study, travel and collaborative relationships. In 2013 he spent three months based in Lyon, France researching its history of textile weaving and pattern design. In 2017 he was commissioned to design and apply interior architectural painting for the Marc Apartments at Kangaroo Point, carried out in collaboration with Barbara Penrose. Connection will be a special exhibition featuring artwork by Sherington, Ashton and Davis (their works are pictured left to right above) and other Old Boy artists, including Stewart Service ’65, Jeffery Service ’63, Scott Breton ’99, Stefan Dunlop ’90, Chris Inwood ’07 and Maxim Varghese ’14.


The Brisbane Grammar School Art Support Group is proud to present the 49th Annual Art Show 2018. Join us on the Gala Opening Night in Centenary Hall for an evening of fine art, wine, food, fantastic raffle prizes and BGS musicians. Friday 14 September from 7.00pm - 9.30pm (ticketed event) Saturday 15 September from 10.00am – 3.00pm on BGS Open Day (free admission)

OPEN DAY Be part of history

As we celebrate our 150th year, we invite you to join us for our 2018 Open Day. There’s never been a better time to explore your BGS journey. Saturday 15 September from 12.00noon – 3.00pm



The Roe family: A BGS legacy

A scholar and a gentleman. This was the simple epitaph for Reginald Heber Roe in the Brisbane Grammar School Magazine following his death in 1926. Nominated for the role of Headmaster when just 25 years old, “Reggie” served BGS for 33 years and left an indelible mark on the School and on education in Australia. Arriving in Brisbane from Oxford in 1876, RH Roe brought a passionate belief in education for all. “By his zeal for education, his enthusiasm for sports, his tact, and his administrative ability, he built up around him a school and a staff of masters which made the name of the Brisbane Grammar School known and respected throughout Queensland, and far beyond,” the magazine stated. Beyond the gates of BGS he went on to realise his other longstanding goal to open a university in Queensland. He was appointed Vice-Chancellor of The University of Queensland upon its opening in 1910, providing further evidence of his influence within education in the state. Today both institutions continue to thrive and the tenacious and erudite influence

of RH Roe played a fundamental role in paving the way for their success. His third son, Dr Arthur Stanley Roe, left his own significant mark on BGS. A talented student, Stanley as he was known, was Queensland’s first Rhodes Scholar and followed in his father’s footsteps to Oxford. After returning home in 1913, he became Brisbane’s first specialist urologist. The pair are remembered each BGS Foundation Day through the presentation of two key scholarships in their names. AS Roe’s son, Dr Charles Roe, attended BGS as a scholarship holder in 1932. A BGS all-rounder, Charles was a Prefect, tennis champion and captain, and a member of the First XI and First XV. After graduating he followed his father into a career in medicine. By the time he was 24 he had joined the Royal Australian Air Force and was posted to an operational WWII fighter squadron in Port Moresby as their medical officer. Charles returned home to join the urological team at the Mater Public Hospital and was able to spend some time working with his father. After


a distinguished career as a urologist he retired in 1977. Today, aged 98, he lives in a house at the southern end of Stradbroke Island on land that adjoins property bought by his grandfather RH Roe in 1882. Known as ‘Roe’s Kamp’, it pioneered outdoor living and camping as an educational principle in Australia. The Roes’ legacy at BGS was evident in the 150 Treasures of Brisbane Grammar School notebook released this year, directly referenced in 14 of the 150 treasures in the book. This includes a memoir by AS Roe, which reveals fascinating insights into the family. Written in 1964, The Days are long but the years are short tells stories of Roe’s Kamp on South Stradbroke Island, and reflects the social history of Queensland – from the development of the motor car, to stories about dancing, shooting and fishing. Along with RH Roe, AS Roe, and C Roe, many other Roes and relatives have come through the School and become BGS Old Boys. Each have contributed to the Roe legacy and helped to make BGS the great school it is today.


The boy in the boater Arthur Blaney Powe was a BGS all-rounder. As well as his incredible academic results, he played in the First XI cricket team, was editor of the school magazine, and was a boarder in School House.


he academic achievements of Arthur Blaney Powe rank among the best of BGS scholars. What is special about the boy in the boater is that his educational journey represents the fulfilment of the aspirations of a young colony to provide opportunities for all students of merit. Powe’s journey began at Allora Primary School, in a small town on the Darling Downs, when he won a state scholarship, which allowed the 12-year-old to continue his education at BGS in 1906. The Education Act of 1870 made Queensland the first colony in Australia to secure free primary school education. The scholarship system provided a pathway to a secondary education. Both were the enduring legacy of Sir Charles Lilley who played a fundamental role in the establishment of BGS. Powe took full advantage of these opportunities. In 1908, Powe topped the Sydney University junior exam and was awarded the prestigious Byrnes Medal, named in honour of BGS Old Boy Thomas Joseph Byrnes, the former premier of Queensland who had won the Lilley Gold Medal three times. The School Magazine recounted: “The Sydney Junior results have just been published, and have proved very satisfactory, there being 28 passes of which A B Powe’s is by far the best. He obtained 7 A’s, besides being proxime acccessit for the Greek medal, and we congratulate him on his brilliant performance.” The importance of this exam was recognised by the future King George V on a visit to BGS in 1881 with his brother. The princes remarked: “When at Sydney we heard of those of your schoolmates who had achieved distinction

in the University exams there, and we hope that many of your number will follow in their honourable footsteps.” Powe won every Lilley Medal he was eligible for at BGS: two silver in 1906 and 1908 and then consecutive gold in 1909-1910. A scholar of his calibre would typically have moved interstate or overseas to attend university. However, Powe was about to take the first step of a new journey. The story comes together back at Allora. In 1911 Allora State School celebrated the opening of its new classroom building on the day of the new King’s coronation. The Under-Secretary for Education, BGS Old Boy John Douglas Story, and his former headmaster, now the Inspector-General of Schools, Reginald Heber Roe, presided over the ceremony. To the applause of the crowd Roe said that: “Allora School had supplied many pupils to the Brisbane Grammar School, and through them he had learnt to respect the excellent spirit that pervaded in the School. At the opening of the University the boy at the head of the list of scholars, A B Powe, hailed from Allora School.” Powe had made the journey from Allora State School, through Brisbane Grammar School to head the first scholarship list for the new University of Queensland. The dreams of Lilley, Roe, Story and many others had borne fruit. Postscript: Powe went on to win a scholarship to Balliol, Oxford in 1914; signed up and then fought on the western front in 1916; and later became a lecturer in classics at the University of Sydney.

School Historian - Chris Price




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GN winter 2018