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Grammar News


In This Issue Academic Outcomes BGS Diversity The Ngo family – an Australian Success Story

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 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 strengthening its global connections, and to building 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, lifelong learning. To develop and extend personal character and talents. To develop a strong sense of service, community, leadership and loyalty to others.

COVER IMAGE Through several inspiring stories, this winter 2019 edition of Grammar News looks at how diversity in its various forms has played and continues to play a vital role at BGS. The Ngo family is one of those incredible stories. They arrived in Australia as Vietnamese refugees and went on to great success. Registered by Australia Post Publication No. QBN 4259








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 Hamilton Executive Director – Advancement and Community Relations Chris Walker Communications Manager

Shannon Breen Marketing and Communications Officer Andy Copeland Marketing and Communications Officer

Paul Brandist Graphic Designer

Carla Hardy

Designed externally by: Naomi White Graphic Designer

Anthony Micallef

CONTRIBUTORS Michael Forrest Petrina Gilmore


Vivien Harris Noah Rosemann Karen Scott Grace Tudehope Jacqui Zervos

BGS150 History Book Purchase now

Light dark blue: 150 years of learning and leadership at Brisbane Grammar School Drawing on personal stories and extensive research, author Helen Penrose explores and celebrates the School’s distinctive place in Queensland’s educational landscape over 150 years.

Light dark blue charts the School’s quest for academic excellence and educational innovation; the influence of the state scholarship system; boarding; financial challenges; and aspects of school culture, from students’ wartime service to the School’s achievements in sport and the arts. Featuring anecdotes and hundreds of illustrations, this elegant 500 page hardcover book rewards those who wish to dip into the School’s history, as well as readers wanting to delve more deeply. To purchase Light dark blue: Visit and click on the ‘Memorabilia’ tab Email with your contact details Call (07) 3834 5322.

H E A D M A S T E R ’S M E S S A G E

Diversity thrives at BGS Anthony Micallef


A story on Indigenous BGS Old Boy Dean Parkin ’98 (pages 18-19) showcases his work in Closing the Gap. Profoundly vision-impaired student Joshua Wood and his family tell their story in this edition (pages 20-21) and reveal how inclusivity has enabled Joshua to succeed at BGS.

iversity is fundamental to a Brisbane Grammar School education. A school culture that values diversity assists our students to better understand the world we live in. We want BGS boys to appreciate different perspectives by exposing them to other people’s ideas and values. Within the BGS culture, diversity supports the School’s mission to nurture men of character who contribute to their communities.

This edition of Grammar News also examines the academic outcomes of our newest Old Boys, the Class of 2018 (pages 12-13); catches up with five BGS Old Boys who created a charity to feed the homeless and disadvantaged in Brisbane (pages 30-31); and two terrific philanthropy stories (pages 32-35).

This edition of Grammar News includes an eight-page feature (pages 14-21) that looks at how diversity, in its various forms, has played and continues to play a vital role at BGS. As well as fostering and celebrating diversity within the physical community, we intentionally focus on ensuring diversity through our teaching. This is directly linked to our longstanding commitment to providing BGS boys with a broad liberal education.

This year we are celebrating 150 years since BGS opened. Don’t miss the opportunity to read about our great school’s history by purchasing Light dark blue: 150 years of learning and leadership at Brisbane Grammar School. The book, written by historian Helen Penrose, explores and celebrates the School's distinctive place in Queensland’s educational landscape. Visit

A BGS education provides students with the platform for diverse careers and our Old Boys have achieved much acclaim in an always-expanding list of professions.

I encourage you to send letters to the editor to and stay connected through the School’s social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

As part of the diversity feature, read an inspiring story on the Ngo family (pages 16-17), who came to Australia as refugees and have become a true Australian success story.




Brisbane Grammar School 16 January

Congratulations to Marcus and Tomas Ray on their offers to University of Oxford and The University of Edinburgh respectively. The brothers featured in The Courier-Mail today. Marcus will study Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford and Tomas will decide between Russian Studies with International Business at Edinburgh or Architecture at The University of Queensland.

Brisbane Grammar School 9 January

Brisbane Grammar School 30 January

The Class of 2018, our newest Old Boys, achieved 40 OP1s and 67 OP1 equivalents with a median OP5. This equates to an ATAR median of 93, placing BGS among the best-performed schools in Australia. Four students achieved the maximum possible national ATAR of 99.95 and a further five students achieved 99.90.

Congratulations to BGS Old Boy Sean Tran ’14 who was part of a 21-member Australian team that won the International Negotiation and Arbitration Competition in Tokyo recently. The team spent countless hours over six months preparing. They took home three prizes: Japanese Best Arbitration Award, English Best Negotiation Award and first prize as Overall Champions.


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Mark Brusasco Two young men who have a wonderful humility about them and will go on to great things.


Rose Marie Moss Congratulations to students, teachers, staff and parents. Kai-Stefanie Lorimer Outstanding work, Grammar community.

David Logan I hope both new Old Boys can follow their dreams.

Tracy Priddle Congratulations, another wonderful result.

Matthew Brand Congratulations to two fine young gentlemen.

Samantha Edwards Amazing effort!

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Ross Hirst Bet they negotiated a great room rate at their hotel! Congratulations. Kay Hartwig Well done Sean. Anita Mary Splendid work Sean and team.

Wendy Scott Well done, your obvious hard work paid off.

Anthony Micallef Great effort, Sean.

Kim Nicholls-Wynn Congratulations and all the best to you both.


Brisbane Grammar School 1 February

BGS Old Boy Fraser McReight ’16 will start in the Queensland Reds back row in tonight’s trial match against the Melbourne Rebels in Ballarat. The 19-year-old rookie flanker will aim for a strong performance to cement his place in the Reds run-on team this season.

Brisbane Grammar School 1 March

Brisbane Grammar School 4 April

Don’t miss the BGS150 newspaper insert that will be included in every copy of The Australian available in Queensland tomorrow. The fantastic broadsheet insert looks back at Brisbane Grammar School's past 150 years, with great stories and photos showcasing our history.

Alex MacGibbon, William Hay, Sebastian Vu and Daniel Skoien are currently attending the Loudoun International Youth Leadership Summit in Virginia, USA. The boys are discussing important world issues and developing plans to address these issues in their communities. They will also visit prominent landmarks and institutions in Washington DC.

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Michelle Waterman Metzger Fantastic, play hard Fraser. Looking forward to watching you play for the Reds. Zara Horner Good luck, Fraser. The BGS family are all cheering you on. Alan Murrie Good on you Fraser, like they say at Grammar, you are an axe!

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Lee Perkins Leaupepe Loved seeing Zeke and Micah in there. Roslyn Minnikin Phenomenal. Kevin Harker Harlin House forever!

Sheldon Boland Go get em Fraser. Paul Warwick Best of luck Fraser.


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Beverley Bowman Very impressive. I hope they come up with great ideas and replace our run-of-the-mill political leaders. Jennifer Wright Fabulous, well done boys.


ANNIVERSARY MURAL A mural to celebrate Brisbane Grammar School’s 150-year anniversary was unveiled in the Middle School in February. The 2018 Year 6 cohort and Mrs Hannay worked together on the project. Each individual leaf was designed and made by a Year 6 student to represent the variety of lessons and experiences they enjoyed in the Middle School. The designs were then modelled into clay, painted and fired in a kiln. Each of the 108 leaves connect to the branches and trunk. The tree mural symbolises community and growth.

AUSTRALIA DAY RECOGNITION BGS Old Boy Connor O’Grady ’18 was awarded Young Citizen of the Year at the 2019 Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Awards. Connor was recognised for using his fashion design talents for charitable causes. He was interviewed live in studio on ABC Radio in early February, discussing the award and his acceptance to study at London College of Fashion – the world’s best fashion school.


WORLD’S GREATEST SHAVE Congratulations to the many students and staff involved in the BGS World’s Greatest Shave event for the Leukaemia Foundation in early April. Plenty lost their locks or had their hair brightly coloured for the cause. A popular part of the event was watching Mr Robertson, Mr Deegan and Mr Jones have their beards shaved. More than $21,000 was raised in total. Thank you to the generous donors.



In support of National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence in March, BGS Year 10 students organised several powerful initiatives. These included a ‘Field of Action’ created on the Boarders’ Lawn, wallet cards promoting discussion on bullying, and boys spelling ‘As One’ in human form to represent a united front against bullying. The activities served to promote inclusion and support. Year 10 Captains Leo van Brunschot and Blake Konovalenko spoke about the important topic at assembly.

A fundraising campaign to transform the boarding facilities at BGS is underway. The redevelopment will be completed in phases, providing boarding students with modern living quarters and spaces for learning and social activities. The plans include an individual room for each boy and a new junior house in the SW Griffith Building. The renovations, dependent on the level of fundraising, will complement our leading boarding program, which engages and supports each boarder on their BGS journey.

OUTDOOR EDUCATION RENAMING The two newly acquired pieces of land at the BGS Outdoor Education Centre – Pulpit Rock and Mt Alford – were officially renamed Bitenbar at Moogerah in early May. The name was suggested by local Indigenous Elder Ruth James, a direct descendant of Ugarapul Elder Susan Banjoey. The name is listed in the Ugarapul – English dictionary as Bin-tin-bar meaning ‘part of Mt Alford’ and in an Aboriginal Language article in The Queenslander from 1934 as Bitenbar meaning ‘Pillar box stone on Mt Alford’.



their best performance of the season at Head of the River. Enthusiasm grows around BGS Rowing in this rebuilding phase. The Open First and Second Eights proved excellent role models for younger students.

VOLLEYBALL BGS Volleyball re-emerged as a powerhouse in the GPS competition in 2019. The School finished on top of the overall ladder on aggregate, with over 80% wins in all matches played across the program. In addition, 19 out of 21 teams completed the season with a podium finish, including the First VI who finished equal second. These strong results reflected a committed playing group, passionate coaches and the dedicated families that help support this incredible community.

SWIMMING BGS Swimming had a successful 2019 season, placing second at the GPS Championship. The BGS Junior team improved their overall result from 2018 to place fourth this year. Across both Senior and Junior events, 68 personal best times were recorded. Year 5 student, Cashy Luo, was a standout performer with five individual Division 1 wins and two new GPS records in the U11 age group. Cashy teamed with Max Gao, Charles Nelson and Archer Boorer to break the U11 Medley Relay record. Hunter Pyne broke the U16 100m Freestyle GPS record.

ROWING 2019 is a year of transition for the BGS Rowing program. The Year 9 Quads were the best performing year level, recording five of nine crews placing in the top four. The Year 10 Second Quad secured the best result for BGS at the Head of the River, placing second. Most crews had


Cormack-Thomson (Captain of Debating, Year 12), Finn Dargavel (Year 12) and Jaguar Ngo (Year 10), finished in the top 12 of the Queensland Debating Trials. Many of the GPS debaters will compete in the QDU competition later this year.

CRICKET Almost 450 boys represented BGS Cricket in 2019. Two teams finished the season as undefeated competition leaders with a further 13 teams finishing top three. After an outstanding season with both bat and ball, Oliver Spence (8A) was awarded Senior Cricketer of the Year. His brother Alexander Spence (6A) was Junior Cricketer of the Year. Bailey Curran was selected in the GPS Representative XI to play the Wanderers XI and Hugh Weibgen made the Queensland U15 team.

SAILING There were many newcomers to BGS Sailing in 2019, with the Training Squad doubling in size. The A Team sailors placed second in the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s school team racing competition and fifth in the State Championship. The B Team performed well above expectation to qualify to represent Queensland at the National Championships. The A Team placed second in GPS in the Championship Division with Isaac Schotte and crew Will Ewart the top boat overall. The B Team won the B division of the GPS Championship.

DEBATING Almost 130 students represented BGS in GPS Debating in 2019. Six teams finished as competition leaders, two undefeated, and a further five teams finished top two. After a challenging trial process three students, Cameron



2018 Academic Results


he Class of 2018’s academic outcomes continued the tradition of high performance by BGS students. A median OP5 showcased the consistency of the cohort. This broadly equates to an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) median of 93, placing BGS among the best-performing schools in Australia. The maximum possible ATAR of 99.95 was achieved by four BGS students in 2018, with a further five students achieving an ATAR of 99.90; another leading result by national standards. A total of 40 students, 15.6% of the cohort, achieved an OP1 or ATAR of 99 or above. OP1 and OP2 results combined accounted for 25.6% of outcomes. In another example of the cohort’s consistency, more than 51% of students achieved an OP1-5 or ATAR of 93 or above. BGS academic results and QCS Test (Queensland Core Skills Test) results reflect the School's longstanding commitment to educational excellence. An A grade was achieved by 44.5% of students, with the School also attaining the highest QCS Test mean score in Queensland in 2018. Two BGS 2018 graduates were recognised at the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) Achievement Awards for the top 32 students in the state. In addition to a strong 2018 academic year, BGS boys continued to excel in many other areas – including cultural, sporting and public purpose pursuits – which should in part be attributed to the support provided by parents, families, volunteers, and teaching and professional staff.

SCHOLARSHIP OFFERS The Class of 2018 received tertiary scholarship offers from leading Australian universities. This included eight Vice Chancellor Scholarships and six Excellence Scholarships to The University of Queensland; and multiple Vice Chancellor and Outstanding Achievement scholarship offers at The University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Monash University, QUT and other leading institutions.


> Mukund Ghantala received an offer to study at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and was waitlisted at UCLA.


Marcus Ray accepted an offer to study at the University of Oxford, the top university in the world according to The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019.

> Lavien Premraj received an offer to study at the London School of Economics. > Jack Shapland received an offer to study at the University of Southern California (USC).

> Connor O’Grady accepted an offer to study at one of the world’s top-ranked fashion schools, the London College of Fashion. > Matthew Adi was accepted to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and earned an Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) Education Award.


> Rahul Moudgil accepted an offer to study at Queen Mary University of London. > Tomas Ray received an offer to study at the University of Edinburgh.


Diversity integral to BGS Brisbane Grammar School graduates have used their broad liberal education to pursue diverse careers. Old Boys have taken the fight to animal poachers in Africa; reported from the war-torn Middle East; and saved lives as doctors. They have played leading roles in politics, law, sport, the arts, and academia. The School’s secular tradition and its legacy of offering bursaries has created a culture that promotes diversity. A diverse school community understands and accepts that each person is unique, and individual differences build the collective strength of the whole school. Executive Director - Educational Innovation, Jacqui Zervos, said the School focuses explicitly on the practical importance of diversity to prepare students for life. “At BGS we consciously nurture diversity both within the community and throughout the curriculum,” she said.

“We deliver a curriculum that reflects and explores diverse history, politics and culture within Australia and around the world. It is more than just teaching a holistic view of the world; it is encouraging students to feel empowered and to act on matters of importance to them.” “We want students to be exposed to the ideas, challenges, priorities and values of others to understand and appreciate their behaviours and perspectives. An individual’s beliefs can change because of this exposure to diversity. It’s powerful.” BGS has strived to promote diversity since its foundation. In this respect, the colony of Queensland’s first leaders, Sir Charles Lilley among them, were ahead of their time. The Grammar Schools Act 1860, passed a year after Queensland was proclaimed, aimed to keep secondary schools open to all religions and classes of people.


At the time this emphasis on inclusivity was significant. The early European colonists had brought their religious prejudices with them to Australia, and NSW and Victoria education was fought over by Church factions. Diversity was encouraged by the School’s first Headmaster, Thomas Harlin, who identified a need to provide scholarships to deserving students from all social classes and backgrounds. Boys from all around Australia and the world have proudly worn the light dark blue. During 2018, the overall student population was drawn from Brisbane, regional Queensland, interstate and overseas. Almost 70 students were from other countries, the majority being temporary or extended residents of Australia. The Bursary Fund has seen financially disadvantaged boys, including rural, Indigenous and refugee boys, benefit from a BGS education. The importance

of bursaries extends beyond assisting individual bursary recipients and enhances the culture of the School.

we and our parents were born with small stickers, and those stickers covered much of the globe,” he said.

Women are significantly represented across teaching and professional staff at the School, and on the Senior Leadership Team and Board of Trustees. BGS established the Gender Respect Committee in recent years to raise awareness about discrimination and foster respect for women, LGBTQI and other minority groups.

“We have a very diverse student body and every member of our community contributes to our success as a school in a unique way.”

As part of the School’s Public Purpose program, members of the Gender Respect Committee are currently raising awareness and funds for charity Share the Dignity, which supports women escaping domestic violence. Year 12 student, School Vice Captain and member of the Gender Respect Committee, Noah Rosemann, said diversity played an important role in connecting BGS boys with the world. “During my time in Middle School, we created a collective map of where

BGS seeks to develop a boy’s intellect, imagination and ethical reasoning to deal with a complex, diverse and changing future. Boys need to develop a strong sense of personal character, social responsibility, moral reasoning and public purpose. “Central to each of these points is exposure to and acceptance of diversity,” Ms Zervos said. “At the heart of the School’s new Effective Thinking Cultures curriculum sits an inquiry approach to learning. Diversity is needed to promote curiosity, questioning, creativity and innovation.” “Diversity is one of Brisbane Grammar School’s greatest strengths.”


Diversity is fundamental to a Brisbane Grammar School education. BGS students reflect diverse religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds, leading to a variety of ideas and perspectives. The student population is made up of boys from around Australia and the world.


The Ngo family An Australian success story The family was taken to Japan and looked after by a religious group, and later transferred to Australia where Thuy reunited with her father.

Floating at the mercy of the sea, their food supplies exhausted and their boat broken down, Son Ngo and his mother were waiting to die. It was 1982 and the pair were attempting the perilous journey from Vietnam to Australia on a rickety boat, fleeing their homeland after Son’s father was killed in the war.

It took several years for both families to get back on their feet and there were many people along the way that made a difference to their lives in Australia, including Lynne and Miles Moody. The Moodys will soon become a fourth generation BGS family – Frank ’27, Miles ’61, James ’93 and James’ two sons enrolled to attend the School.

Found by Thai pirates, their boat was searched for valuables and even their teeth were checked for gold caps. With nothing to take, the pirates attempted to kidnap a young girl, but tossed her back after realising she was too sick. In the end they took pity on the boat people and left a small amount of food and water.

“My family have known the Moodys since I was six years old,” Thuy said. “My parents used to own a Chinese takeaway restaurant in Everton Hills, where they were frequent patrons. They noticed how my siblings and I would help our parents every evening and then huddle together in the dining area after trade to do our homework.”

The extra supplies saved their lives, lasting for three days until the boat was found by an oil ship. Son, 10 years old at the time, said the moment he was lifted to safety stays with him today. “It was like stepping on to heaven,” he said. “As soon as we got on to the ship our boat sank. We were that close to drowning.”

“Mrs Moody was an English teacher at St Margaret’s and Professor Moody was the Dean of Engineering at QUT at the time. They both assisted my older siblings with English, Maths and the Sciences. They not only became our mentors, but second parents to us all and their children are like siblings to us.”

Son and his mother were taken to Bidong Island, known as Refugee Island, off Malaysia and later transferred to Australia.

Son and Thuy attended the same primary school, though didn’t meet officially until university in 1995. They started their careers in engineering and law respectively and married in 2000. Their careers saw them move between Australia and Vietnam, before settling in Miles in regional Queensland.

It was a similarly difficult story of survival for Son’s wife, Thuy Nguyen and her family. With their lives in danger in Vietnam, her father prepared a fishing trawler for their escape in 1976. He was discovered, and the trawler shot at, killing two people. He was forced to flee without his family, as he would have faced a firing squad for the escape attempt.

It was there that they moved into the supermarket business. By that time their first son Eagle was born, and he was followed by Jaguar, Saigon and Marlin. They lived on a hobby farm in Miles and embraced country life.

Thuy, just a year old at the time, and her mother, brother and sisters followed a few months later in another boat. It broke down and an oil ship proved the saviour again.


Cheng, the book was published last year and aims to normalise patch therapy and help others gain a basic understanding of lazy eye. It has been published around the world and translated into five languages.

“It was a great experience for the kids,” Son said. “Eagle rode a motorbike before he knew how to ride a bike, that was the sort of lifestyle we had. The kids had a fantastic upbringing and we attribute their resilience to this country experience.”

Eagle is following in his father’s footsteps, with Son having proved a successful graphic novelist. With the help of his family, Son has so far published five books in the Legendary 12 series that combines stories on the Chinese zodiac from his childhood with those he created as bedtime stories for his children.

Business opportunities and the desire to send their children to school in Brisbane saw the family move to the city in 2009. Son said he had always wanted to send his son to Brisbane Grammar School. “I had a neighbour and he was a BGS boy, he had a very dignified way about him. The way he conducted himself I really respected. Then when I was at university, the engineering guys from BGS showed great leadership and I was impressed by that.”

Jaguar, currently in Year 10 at BGS, is thriving at the School. He was chosen to narrate the School’s 150-year anniversary video last year and this year finished top 12 in the Queensland schools open debating competition, despite his youth.

“When I entered the workforce at BHP, some of my fellow engineers were BGS Old Boys and their communication skills and the way they conducted themselves in group projects really sold me on a BGS education.”

Saigon is in Year 7 at Brisbane Girls Grammar School, and Marlin is in Year 2 and a few years away from starting his BGS journey. Son and Thuy are grateful for the opportunities that every community they have lived in has given them, from Brisbane to Moranbah, Bundaberg and Miles. Eagle aims to one day return to Miles to work as a doctor.

Eagle started at BGS in Year 6 and completed seven years at school, awarded dux in Year 12 and a perfect 99.95 ATAR. He is now studying a Bachelor of Science as part of the undergraduate Doctor of Medicine at The University of Queensland, with the aim to one day become an ophthalmologist.

The same sentiment is held by the Ngo family towards BGS. “Our family is so proud to be part of the Brisbane Grammar School community,” Thuy said.

“With my parents from a refugee background, for them to be able to send us to BGS, I feel very fortunate,” Eagle said. “I felt I couldn’t waste that opportunity and that’s what motivated me to keep going and make the most of it.”

“From day one, the parents in the P&F have made us feel so welcome and the School has made a real difference to our two older sons, helping them transition into the young men they have become. The boys love their school and it’s clear that their connection with BGS will be ongoing.”

While still at school, he co-authored a children’s book on amblyopia (lazy eye) and patch therapy, Amazing Amber and Her Lazy Laser Eye. Written with his uncle, Dr Jason



A movement for understanding So you may be sitting there listening, or maybe you’re not even listening, but you’re wondering: what can I do? In the case of Indigenous Australians, the greatest good that you can do is understand. Understand that there are differences between cultures and people. Understand that all you have to do is open your eyes and your ears and listen to what people have to say. When Dean Parkin ’98 addressed the School Assembly on ‘Racism and Prejudice’ as a Year 12 student, he told his audience that he didn’t really mind being taunted on the cricket field for being ‘Indian’ or mistaken for a PNG winger while playing rugby. He could laugh off the comments and nicknames. A boarder from Moranbah, Parkin was Vice Captain of Harlin House and a member of the First XV. He says now he never really felt the brunt of racism at school, and his speech was more about the way he saw other people treated. “There was a divide between different cultures at the School, but I don’t think people said things out of malice. They were said in a very casual way, a little bit of the, ‘Oh come on, man, I’m just having a joke, having a bit of fun’.” Parkin said. “I now can see that ‘fun’ comes at the expense of making someone else the ‘other’. These days I certainly don’t let that stuff slide.” After completing an Arts degree with majors in politics and journalism at The University of Queensland,

Parkin worked in political offices in Queensland, as a consultant to the UK Department of Health, and in Indigenous community development in Australia. He recently moved to an investment banking position with Tanarra Capital in Melbourne. With a continuing focus on Indigenous development and reform, Parkin hopes to capitalise on “some of the significant opportunities that are out there for Indigenous people. Economic and business development is such a critical part of helping to address some really challenging issues in Indigenous affairs.” Tackling these challenges have been Parkin’s life work. In a recent TEDx talk, available online, Parkin argues Australians need to rethink Aboriginal policy, starting with changes to the nation’s founding document, the Australian Constitution. In his opening remarks, Parkin delivers greetings from the Quandamooka people from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) before explaining the long consultative process that led to the First Nations National Constitutional Convention in May 2017. As part of a team appointed by a bi-partisan Referendum Council, Parkin travelled around the country facilitating ‘Dialogues’ with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the lead up to the national convention. The Uluru Statement from the Heart was issued at the Convention’s conclusion. It summarises the


Dialogues, and the aspirations people have expressed over the last 200 years. Reflecting on the speech, Parkin said his aim was to let people know the Uluru Statement from the Heart is not a petition or a protest but ‘an invitation to the Australian people’. “The Statement begins with the lawful and historical reality that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have never ceded their sovereignty over their land to the Crown,” Parkin said. “That sovereignty exists today in an uneasy tension with the sovereignty imposed by the British colonisation of this country.” “It invites us to have a meaningful conversation. It asks Australians to consider how we can weave these co-existing sovereignties into a more complete sense of who we are as a country.” The Statement makes three practical proposals: to create a First Nations Voice to parliament, establish a Makaratta Commission to strike treaty agreements across the country, and start a ‘truth telling’ process to address Australia’s history. According to Parkin, the failure to Close the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians on education, health outcomes and life expectancy proves the need for a new approach. “Since colonisation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been striving and fighting for ways to

ensure that we take our rightful place in this nation,” Parkin said. “We were ignored and deliberately excluded in the 1901 Federation, and successive government policies such as the Stolen Generations and moving people to reserves and missions have effectively oppressed Aboriginal people. There have been many times in history when we haven’t had a say in policies that affect us.” To those who argue things have changed since then, Parkin said policies that are ostensibly designed to ‘help’ Aboriginal people often still work against them. “Policies drawn up in Canberra or Brisbane often haven’t been informed by Indigenous people, so there’s no surprise that when they hit the ground they don’t actually work,” Parkin said. “The other impediment is the mindsets of people, both policy makers and the general public.” “In my years working with communities, I’ve seen people tackling challenging social issues, but we’re consistently told by the media that our situation is failing, or corrupt, or we’re not looking after our own children. There’s an overwhelming public voice telling us how bad things are and that it’s our fault.” Parkin asks us to “think of a greenhouse. We’re trying to nurture seeds, we’re trying to nurture communities, creating the right conditions for individuals and families to flourish. If a big hail storm

comes – say the Northern Territory intervention, or laws to water down native title or other land rights – the ceiling gets wiped out. For me, constitutional and structural reform is building that greenhouse.” To date, the ‘invitation’ issued by the Statement hasn’t been accepted. In October 2017, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected the Convention’s proposals as unlikely to pass a referendum process. Parkin disagrees. “People are crying out for something bigger than what they’re getting right now. They’re crying out for vision and aspiration and something that is actually nation building,” he said. Support may be building. Mining companies BHP and Rio Tinto have endorsed the Uluru Statement, including its proposal for a First Nations Voice to parliament. Eighteen leading law firms have also recognised the Statement as an ‘historic mandate to create a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood’. Parkin hopes Australians will respond positively to the Uluru Statement, not just to benefit Indigenous people, but everyone. “If the 97% of non-Indigenous Australia can finally, genuinely connect with the ancient story and peoples of this land, we’ll think differently about who we are as a country. It’s an incredibly inclusive and welcoming proposal for change.”



The power of inclusivity Year 6 Class Captain Joshua Wood competed at the Queensland Swimming Championship this year and enjoys writing and reading. He is also profoundly vision impaired and writes and reads using Braille. Joshua completes all his school work, including assessment, in Braille. He has now progressed to a very high level, winning state Braille competitions over recent years. “When I sit an exam, I use a book in Braille,” he said. “I read the questions and then type the answer on my BrailleSense – a little portable computer in Braille – or on my Mountbatten Braille Machine.” Older brother Ben started at BGS in Year 7 in 2017 and after a year at school was confident the environment would also suit Joshua. Their parents, Dean and Jenny, agreed and Joshua started Year 5 at the School last year.

“We really value education and we want Joshua to be able to go to university. We thought Brisbane Grammar School was the place that would give him everything he needs to enable that opportunity,” Jenny said. “It is a credit to everyone at the School how well he has been catered for and how he is just one of the boys. At BGS, Joshua has been encouraged to participate in everything and not let his disability stand in the way.” Not letting anything stand in his way has been a motto Joshua has lived since he was born. In 2017 he and Ben entered The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, the world’s oldest schools writing competition, established in 1883. Joshua’s entry was the first in Braille in the 134-year history of the competition. The pair both earned certificates of Special Commendation and the Duchess of Cornwall, Qantas and Australian Women’s Weekly jointly paid to fly the Wood family to London to visit Buckingham Palace and receive their awards.


Jenny reiterated the culture of acceptance at BGS as one that permeates the entire school.

The family was treated like royalty, meeting HRH The Duchess of Cornwall inside Buckingham Palace, enjoying a personal tour of the Royal Mews, a trip to Australia House to meet Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK and a tour of the London Underground.

“Many organisations comment on having a culture that promotes diversity and inclusivity; however, Brisbane Grammar School lives it,” she said. “From administration, teachers, support staff through to the students, we have found the School to have a culture of acceptance, inclusivity and understanding.”

This year Joshua has continued taking on new challenges, improving significantly in swimming. “I started swimming at school and got better and went to the squad,” he said. “From there I went to the Districts and got through that and went to the Regionals and then to the States.”

Dean said Joshua’s confidence had grown substantially in the past year. “To see the pride in his face when he came first in his swimming and when he came home and told us he was voted Class Captain again is priceless,” he said.

Joshua competed in the 50m Freestyle in the multiclass disability event, achieving first place at Districts and Regionals and bettering his personal best by four seconds at the State Championships. He hopes to continue to improve and one day compete in the Paralympics.

The Woods said they were proud of their sons, crediting Ben for his ongoing encouragement and support of his younger brother. “Ben had always been the high achiever and now Joshua is getting to achieve great things in his own right.”

Now more than a year into his BGS journey, Joshua said he was loving his time at school. “I’ve never been bullied or heard of bullying at this school. I was voted Class Captain in Semester 2 last year and again this year. Everyone is very inclusive.”

This year Ben won the Barbara Sisley Award for the top mark in Queensland for his grade five AMEB Drama and Performance Exam. It was the third time he has won the prestigious award.



Hitting the right note


“We understood if we were going to make a career out of it we actually had to get in there and do some work, as we weren’t that good so we needed to practice hard,” he said.

hat do internationally renowned musicians as diverse as a composer of operas and Hollywood film scores; a classical violinist; two rock bands; a sound engineer; broadcaster; an organist and conductor have in common? They all went to Brisbane Grammar School. Arthur Benjamin, a student at BGS in 1908, was described in his school report as “bright and intelligent with great natural musical ability”. Praise indeed for what would underscore an illustrious musical career, starting in 1911 when he went to London to study at the Royal College of Music. In 1918, when serving as a gunner with the Royal Flying Corps, Benjamin was shot down by a young Hermann Göring and composed a sonata while a prisoner of war. Surviving the war, Benjamin went on to have a long international career, and made his name as a concert pianist, conductor, composer and music professor at the Royal College of Music. Though probably best known for Jamaican Rumba composed in 1938, Benjamin was also a prolific composer of film scores, which included Hollywood movies like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much and Alexander Korda’s An Ideal Husband. Striking a different chord in more ways than one, fast forward to 1977, singer-songwriters and guitarists Old Boy Robert Forster ’74 and Grant McLennan co-founded The Go-Betweens, which made its name as an indie rock band before disbanding in 2006. The band’s second album Before Hollywood (1983) reached Number 2 on the UK Independent Charts. In 2008, 16 Lovers Lane was highlighted on SBS TV’s The Great Australian Albums series as a classic example of 1980s rock music. The Hale Street Link traffic bridge was renamed the Go Between Bridge in the band’s honour and opened in 2010. Powderfinger, another band comprising Old Boys, hit the airways in 1989 with its own brand of alternative rock. The original line up included guitarists John Collins ’87 and Ian Haug ’88 with Steven Bishop ’87 on drums and singer-songwriter Bernard Fanning. Speaking at the 2013 Foundation Day ceremony, Collins said the BGS work ethic empowered what he did with Powderfinger.

Powderfinger went on to win 18 ARIA music awards and performed at major events in Australia and overseas. In 2004 the band was part of the line up at the Danish royal rock concert in Copenhagen at the request of Crown Prince Frederik and his Tasmanian fiancée, Mary Donaldson. Before an audience of 40,000 the band belted out Powderfinger favourites like My Happiness (2001) in honour of the couple. As part of the Q150 celebrations in 2009, Powderfinger was named as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland, performing its final show at Brisbane’s River Stage the following year. Sound engineer and Old Boy Ben Tolliday ’96, who played cello in the School’s string and symphony orchestras, credits the BGS environment and cello teachers like Stephen Chin for his love of music. After studying cello at the Queensland Conservatorium, he forged an international career in sound recording, working with the likes of singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette and orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra. In 2016 Tolliday was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study film score recording in the USA and UK. Head of Music Peter Ingram said that Old Boy Ray Chen ’04 is one of the most highly regarded violin soloists in the world today. In his first year at BGS as a Year 8 violinist, Chen won the National Concerto Competition for String Players and became an internationally acclaimed performer. Just four years after leaving BGS he won the senior division first prize of the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists in Cardiff and first prize in the 2009 Queen Elizabeth Music Competition in Brussels. Since then his reputation has gone from strength to strength with numerous concert engagements and the opportunity to have played on a Stradivarius violin loaned by the Nippon Music Foundation.


As a broadcaster and TV presenter, Howard Ainsworth AM, Old Boy ’49, made turning on the radio pure listening pleasure. He was the voice of classical music in Brisbane for some 50 years with a long career as an announcer on ABC Radio before becoming the broadcast manager of 4MBS Classic FM in 1993. Renowned for his radio program Music Lover’s Choice, Ainsworth interviewed a wide range of people including musicians like Yehudi Menuhin and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Another Old Boy to have made his mark on Brisbane’s music scene is organist Christopher Wrench ’76. After training at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and the Vienna Conservatorium, where he was Director of Music at Christ Church Vienna, he returned to Brisbane in 1991. He was appointed Lecturer in Organ at the Queensland Conservatorium, teaching, mentoring and adjudicating at organ competitions. Wrench has made numerous broadcasts on ABC Classic FM and is internationally acclaimed as a concert organist, recording artist and concerto soloist. In Old Boy Simon Hewett’s 1993 school report a teacher noted the Captain of Music conducted and played the clarinet with “musical sensitivity”. Hewett furthered his studies in these fields at The University of Queensland, becoming the youngest ever finalist in the ABC Young Performers Award. He was awarded a German Government scholarship to continue his conducting studies in Weimer. Hewett made his debut at the Sydney Opera House as a conductor in 2003 before joining the Hamburg State Opera as Resident Conductor and Assistant Music Director. He is now Principal Conductor of both the Stuttgart Opera and the Hamburg Ballet, also appearing as a guest conductor with the Paris Opera Ballet, the Royal Ballet in Covent Garden, Vienna State Ballet and Opera Australia. His virtuosity as a musician is also reflected in his performances with the Elision Ensemble, a chamber ensemble specialising in contemporary classical music. From classical to contemporary, sonatas to hard rock, these are just some of the many Old Boys who have become trailblazers in a diverse range of musical careers. By Vivien Harris – School Archivist


BGS Events 1959-1962 Reunion 17 AUGUST

BGS GOLF DAY 23 August

We are pleased to announce that the BGS Golf Day is back after a one year hiatus for BGS150 celebrations. REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN

1969 Reunion 7 SEPTEMBER

Volunteer Thank You Celebrating Our Community 16 OCTOBER

Sponsorship opportunities are now available. If you are able to support this event through sponsorship, auction items or prizes, please contact Carla Hardy on +61 7 3834 5206 or email

BGSOBA ANNUAL REUNION DINNER 31 AUGUST Be part of this memorable occasion. Start planning your table. Tickets available soon.

For more information

please visit our events page at

P&F AUXILIARY SPRING LUNCHEON 25 OCTOBER Join us for the P&F Auxiliary’s signature event of the year.

Audi Centre Brisbane

An exclusive offer for BGS community at Audi Centre Brisbane

Enjoy Audi ownership at Audi Centre Brisbane with this exclusive offer, available only for friends and family of Brisbane Grammar School.

Audi Centre Brisbane will donate $500 to the Brisbane Grammar School Bursary Fund when you purchase a new or demonstrator vehicle from Audi Centre Brisbane^

Audi Centre Brisbane - proud supporter of Brisbane Grammar School. 586 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley QLD Phone: (07) 3251 8222 | | ^This promotion is valid for new and demonstrator vehicles sold and delivered between April 1st – December 31st, 2019. Offer must be ^This promotion is valid for new and demonstrator vehicles sold and delivered between April 1st – December 31st, 2019. Offer must be redeemed at time of purchase. Please confirm your relationship with Brisbane Grammar School or have your details verified by the School redeemed at time of of this purchase. to take advantage offer. Please present your current Brisbane Grammar School ID card, or have your details verified by Brisbane Grammar School office, to take advantage of this offer.

Foundation Day 2019

Brisbane Grammar School celebrated Foundation Day in February, marking 150 years since Headmaster Thomas Harlin welcomed 94 students and five staff to the School.

first Headmaster Reginald Heber Roe, Queensland’s first Rhodes Scholar Arthur Stanley Roe, and long-serving former teacher AJ Mason.

As Brisbane’s first secondary school for boys, BGS educated the colony’s homegrown leaders in politics, public service, education, medicine, law, business, the military and the arts. Many played significant roles in the development of Queensland.

These BGS icons did much to promote the qualities of character and learning that BGS has always regarded most highly. Between them, they contributed a total of 120 years of service to the School. Congratulations to Anton Vellnagel, Marcus Ray and Eagle Ngo for being awarded these scholarships.

The 2019 Foundation Day awards saw several major scholarships and bursaries presented to recent graduates and to boys beginning their BGS journeys. The awards honour the service to the School of three men –

Well done to Lewis Williams for receiving the JG Nowlan Award and a Trustees’ Scholarship. Trustees’ Scholarships were also awarded to James Brough, Jarrah Chien, Edward Cooper, Daniel Luo,


Companion (AC) In the General Division of The Order of Australia. He was recognised for eminent service to tennis as a player at the national and international level, in promotion of the sport, and as an inspiration to young sportspersons.

Several BGS community members were honoured with Australia Day awards this year. They covered a broad range of fields, including service to medicine, law, business, the community and sport. Roy Emerson '54 was awarded a

BGS past parent Professor Beverley Rowbotham was awarded an Officer (AO) In the General Division


Euan Mortimer, Nicholas Silverston and Lewis Williams. The Foundation Day assembly also provided an opportunity for current students to hear from an inspiring graduate, BGS Old Boy Michael Milford ’98, as guest speaker. Prof Milford is a multi-award-winning educational entrepreneur with a Mechanical and Space Engineering degree and a PhD in Robotics from The University of Queensland, and currently leads a team at QUT researching the nature of intelligence. In an engaging speech, he gave students an insight into his career and encouraged them to learn from each other.

of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medicine through roles with professional associations, to pathology, and to medical education. For a full list of honours visit and read the story in the February 2019 Grammar eNews.

O L D B O Y S ’ A S S O C I AT I O N

OBA President’s Message Michael Forrest


he Old Boys’ Association again marked BGS Foundation Day with the annual Welcome Drinks for Old Boys who are now parents of boys at the School. This year Foundation Day also closed the 150th anniversary celebrations of Brisbane Grammar School.

Feltham ’86; Secretary – John Emery ’83; Treasurer – Richard Wheeler ’99; Past President – Stuart Rees ’79; Committee Members: Stephen Bizzell ’84, Geoff Clarke ’64, Cameron McLeod ’88, Jim MacPherson ’85, Ben Morris ’10, Luke Morris ’12.

Celebrating 150 years of BGS has been a momentous endeavour. For 120 of those 150 years the BGS OBA has been a part of the School’s story.

The new committee looks forward to continuing and expanding past initiatives. On Saturday 8 June we are hosting the BGS community and friends for The Jam – Band Battle ’19 at The Triffid, and the Annual Reunion Dinner will take place on Saturday 31 August.

The OBA’s contribution to the 150th celebrations included a campaign to raise funds for the restoration of the War Memorial Library, culminating in an extraordinarily moving Remembrance Day ceremony at the School in front of the Library. Our Annual Reunion Dinner celebrated some of our notable musicians, and featured a once-in-a-lifetime live jam. At our AGM in April a new committee was elected. President – Michael Forrest ’87; Vice-President – Cameron

Over the last few years the OBA has hosted professional networking and mentoring events for Old Boys working in medicine, finance, engineering and law. They have been very well supported by both mentors and mentees. The OBA is looking to expand this to other areas, and the Committee is keen to hear suggestions and proposals.


An area the OBA is very excited about is promoting men’s health. The Grammarians Rowing Club continues to grow, and provides an avenue for ex-rowers and novice rowers to get involved in this wonderful sport. Involvement extends from occasional participation through to Masters’ Competition. Our association with DadBods is also growing, and we hope this expands in coming years. I’d like to pay tribute to outgoing President Chris Austin ’79, who has worked tirelessly over many years to benefit BGS Old Boys. Many thanks from all of us. Tickets will be available soon for the BGS Old Boys’ Association Annual Reunion Dinner on Saturday 31 August. Visit the Events page on the BGS website.


Dr Charles Roe AM, born in Brisbane on 14 February 1919, was the eldest child of Arthur Stanley Roe, Queensland’s first Rhodes Scholar, and the eldest grandchild of Reginald Heber Roe, second Headmaster of Brisbane Grammar School from 1876 to 1909. Like his father and grandfather, he was able, industrious and public-spirited throughout his life.

Illustrious Old Boy leaves legacy

After leaving Toowong State School on a state scholarship, he entered BGS in 1932 where he demonstrated his ability in the classroom and on the sporting field. He became a Prefect, member of the School Committee and librarian. In 1936 he was the School’s Singles Tennis Champion and Captain of Tennis, Vice Captain of the First XI and a member of the First XV. He also played GPS All-Schools Cricket. He enrolled at The University of Queensland in 1937, gaining a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 1942. A year later he married Esther Gilmore Wilson, a fellow medical student. They had four children, three of whom became medical practitioners. Dr Roe subsequently served as a Medical Officer in the RAAF from 1943 to 1945. After the war, he returned to Brisbane and, like his father, became a urologist. In 1991, Dr Roe endowed the Arthur Stanley Roe Scholarship with other members of his family to preserve the name of his father within the School.


In 2005, Dr Roe was appointed Assistant Professor (part time) in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine at Bond University. He was awarded Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1977, specialising in urology. He was recognised in the 2011 Australia Day Honours List for services to medicine, particularly through contributions to the Australian Medical Association Queensland and to the community. An advocate of physical fitness, he won several veterans (seniors) tennis championships and jogged well into his 90s along the beach near Roe’s Kamp (originally Whirobo), his home on South Stradbroke Island. It was named after the School’s first outdoor camp started by his grandfather Reginald, on adjoining land in the early 1880s. Dr Roe died in his 99th year on 15 January 2019, a month shy of 100 years. As a student, medical specialist and retiree he demonstrated his lifelong commitment to BGS and its history, which was so closely connected with members of his own family – the Roe and Haymen families. Perhaps Dr Roe’s legacy is the rich body of material he donated to the School over the years. It has been a gold seam for researchers mining the School Archives for information. This is nowhere more evident than in the text and pictorial references in the School’s sesquicentenary history publication, Light dark blue: 150 years of learning and leadership at Brisbane Grammar School, launched earlier this year.

Hearing music better, not louder

From there, Fielding made the leap from full-time clinical medicine to focus on the Audeara dream. Teaming with good friend Chris Jeffery, the pair aimed to bring the joy of music to all people, regardless of their hearing capabilities.

A businessman, inventor, doctor and former PR man for a Hollywood producer – BGS Old Boy Dr James Fielding ’04 is certainly an all-rounder. He is also the CEO of Audeara, which produces the world’s first audio-perfecting headphones with a built-in hearing test.

Audeara was originally conceived as a medical device, giving patients a way to perform quality audiograms without having to wait for an appointment at a clinic. The concept soon grew to face the challenge of adjusting music in real-time based on a person’s hearing profile and was translated into headphones.

Fielding’s passion for trying different things can be traced back to his school days. He was destined to attend BGS, as the son of prominent Old Boy Dr George Fielding ’73. “My dad went to BGS, both my uncles went to BGS and were School Captains,” he said. “I loved it. The opportunities at the School are endless. What I really respected was that it wasn’t about how good you were in anything, but about that you had a go. There were so many people doing different things.” “Being at BGS surrounded by so many people who are so amazing at so many things, you believe you can fit into that space,” he said. “It was very easy to see what success looked like. It was an achievable goal and it broke down so many barriers around what life could be like.”

“It came from seeing patients and wanting to meet a need,” he said. “Hearing just isn’t on people’s radars and it should be. The more we dug into it, the more we learned about all the links to Alzheimer’s Disease. Nine per cent of Alzheimer’s could be prevented if you correct mid-age hearing loss. This occurs through social isolation.”

After graduating from BGS, Fielding studied business management and biomedical science at The University of Queensland. From there he continued to take opportunities from different fields, working in financial research analysis and then public relations in New York.

Fielding said Audeara used entertainment as the anchor to get people to pay attention to their hearing. “One in five teenagers have hearing loss and 60% is self-inflicted. People are causing themselves long-term problems and most of it is about awareness. In the same way that people never used to wear seatbelts or sun cream, I consider this part of that next frontier around overall health and wellness.”

He returned home to complete a medical degree at UQ and was based at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

To purchase the Audeara headphones or find out more visit



Digging in for the disadvantaged United behind the goal to provide every disadvantaged person in Brisbane with a filling, nutritious and wholesome meal, a group of young BGS Old Boys established Dig In in late 2017. Since the inaugural serving less than two years ago, the not-for-profit, independent charity has cooked and served over 13,000 meals to homeless and disadvantaged people in Brisbane. Dig In was formed by BGS Old Boys Curtis Sciacca, Dan Marshall, Lucas Ryals, Hamish Foley and Tom Grogan who all graduated in 2014, and Brisbane Girls Grammar School Old Girl Jess Pagden. The passionate team said working together as a community was vital and they engaged with a wide variety of supporters to help those in need. “Different groups bring different skills, ideas, and values and by working together we find the best possible solutions for helping others,” Sciacca said. “We aimed to develop a platform to make a difference in our community.” Many of the fundamental pillars Dig In is built on were instilled at school. “At BGS we were always taught the values of endeavour, learning, respect, leadership and community,” Grogan said. “Each of these were strong guiding principles allowing us to set up Dig In, improve as we go and benefit the community in as many ways as possible.” “A homecooked meal is much more than something to eat, it is an icebreaker helping to start conversations, break down stereotypes and truly connect with one another. Great conversations take place over a meal and we find those we serve need a chat just as much as a meal.” During these chats the Dig In team learned the extent of the hardships for many people living in Brisbane and that homelessness can occur in a short period of time. The common thread was that homelessness was often the result of three or four significant negative events happening in a short amount of time, with no family to call on. “The heartbreaking reality for many who sleep rough at night is that they feel invisible to the rest of society,”

Marshall said. We are so attuned to blocking them out and simply walking past these invisible people.” “Many label homelessness as a self-inflicted outcome of poor choices but this is often far from the truth. If you are looking to learn and change your opinion on homelessness, we encourage you to come to join us, to see firsthand the harsh reality many people in Brisbane face daily.” The future for Dig In is bright. The charity recently expanded to serve young refugee students who often go without breakfast and lunch. One of their main aims is to establish partnerships with more organisations. “So far we have been fortunate to partner with other charitable services like Share the Dignity, who provide us with feminine hygiene products,” Foley said. “Brisbane Youth Services have facilities to provide temporary accommodation and support for those in need, and FareShare is our supplier of key meals and ingredients.” Dig In also has a new project nearing completion – a range of hot food vending machines. These machines will have a capacity of 120 meals, providing 24/7 access to meals for the disadvantaged. They will be placed in various high-density locations around Brisbane and are not designed to replace food distribution services, but as a tool to ease the congestion on these services and provide meals at a convenient time. One of the most important reasons for the hot food vending machines is meal security. “The completion of this project and introduction of these machines would be a major stepping stone for Dig In and really allow us to better service disadvantaged communities throughout Brisbane and hopefully around Australia,” Ryals said. The machines are far more efficient to run than food vans and operate at a fraction of the price. The Dig In team believe that forming the new distribution channel has the potential to dramatically change the way food is given to those in need.

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DIG IN Serves meals at 5.00pm every Saturday at Kemp Place Reserve, Fortitude Valley. Available to all disadvantaged people in Brisbane. Visit



Family legacy endures A family’s great sorrow at the loss of their son on the Western Front has grown into a positive living legacy at Brisbane Grammar School. The Norman Waraker Memorial Cup is awarded each year to the School’s 400m champion and is named in honour of Old Boy Lieutenant Waraker, who was killed in action near Ypres in 1917. At BGS, Norman Waraker (1909) was the 440 yards champion and played for the First XV and First XI. His mother Jesse first donated 50 pounds in 1918 to establish the Norman Waraker Prize in memory of her ‘gallant son’. The prize later became the Memorial Cup, and the 440 yards became

the 400m. Over the years Norman’s sister Doris Townsend continued to sponsor the Cup, sending an annual cheque from 1956 until her death in 1995. As a BGGS student, Townsend was also athletic and a keen tennis player. She later became a theatre critic and poet. She wrote of her grief at Norman’s death in her poetry collection Songs of Sun and Shadow, published in 1928. When Townsend died she left a generous bequest of $100,000 to be divided equally between BGS and BGGS. The BGS scholarship was to go to a promising student and champion athlete at his primary


school, in honour of her brother Norman’s love of athletics. BGS Old Boy Michael Hogan ’01 was the Norman Waraker Scholarship’s first recipient in 1997, 80 years after Norman’s tragic death. Hogan made the most of his opportunities at BGS, becoming School Captain in 2001. A member of the Open First VIII that won the Head of River that year, he was also a member of the Queensland Schoolboy Rowing team, the Senior A Debating team, and the Basketball First V. On Speech Day he was presented with the Otto Nothling Memorial Prize, the J M “Jack” Kortlang Best Oarsman Award, the NS Robertson Cup, a General Merit,

the Year 12 Ancient History and Ancient History Essay Prizes, and the John Deeney Short Story Prize. Hogan says he looks back on his school days ‘very fondly’ and being part of the crew that won the Head of River was a highlight. “We worked really hard to win the Head of River. We weren’t the biggest or most talented crew, but we were the best team and great mates. I learned so much from the experience and it remains among the best teams I’ve been associated with,” Hogan said. “I thought at the time, and I still believe, that the School is very good at giving students opportunities for meaningful and defining experiences. Rowing was definitely one of those moments.”

Hogan continues to win accolades. Now General Counsel at Wormald Australia, he was named Association of Corporate Counsel 2017 Young Lawyer of the Year. Recently back in Brisbane after many years working in Sydney, Hogan and his wife Airlie have applied to enrol their son Lachie at BGS in 2028. “From my perspective as a past student and future parent, a strategic scholarship and bursary program is a key strength of the School – it helps to facilitate a diverse and talented school community.” “My decision to send Lachie to BGS is based in part on my confidence that his peer group will be drawn from a


range of backgrounds, cultures and geographies. That has always been the case and I’m so pleased that it remains a priority. All students benefit from the School’s well-managed bursary program.” Hogan certainly made the most of the opportunities provided by Brisbane Grammar School. His success owes something to the gift Norman Waraker’s sister Doris Townsend made to the School to honour her brother. Photo: BGS Old Boy Michael Hogan ’01 (fourth from right) rows in the BGS Open First VIII that won the Head of River in 2001. Inset: Doris Townsend and her brother Norman Waraker.


Selfless service to BGS Dinner and mans the BGSOBA stall at BGS Open Days.

Each day in many different ways, parents, Old Boys and other community volunteers are working to improve the educational experience for the boys at BGS.

Through their family construction business, TC Clarke and Sons, Geoff and Shirley have generously sponsored several School and BGSOBA events. Geoff has also contributed his professional skills to improving the Outdoor Education program at Moogerah for several years.

Every rowing regatta, rugby match, Moogerah working bee, Open Day, music concert, Art Show gala opening and an ordinary day in the Tuckshop – just to name a few – involves countless hours of unpaid labour.

“I’m in the building game and I enjoy the hands-on working bees. I find out what’s needed for the weekend, load up all the gear on the back of the ute and out we go,” Geoff said. “I’ve made good friends with the Outdoor Education staff. It’s a fun weekend.”

Many hands make light work, but some individuals choose to do the heavy lifting. Old Boy and past parent Geoff Clarke ’64 and his wife Shirley are two such people, having volunteered hundreds of hours to those particular school activities over the last 25 years. Though their son Scott graduated in 1999, Geoff and Shirley have three grandsons who will attend the School in coming years, and their involvement in the BGS community has become a way of life. Geoff says that like his Old Boy father, Morris ’39, he was a Life Member of the BGS Old Boys’ Association (BGSOBA), but it was Scott who reignited his connection to the School. When Scott started rowing, Geoff and Shirley were at every regatta and lent their own competitive spirit to putting up the supporters’ marquee. “We used to race the parents from other schools to see who could put their tent up first. BGS always won,” Shirley said.

Shirley also has friends through volunteering. She was a Tuckshop Captain when Scott was at school, and 20 years later she and her fellow teammates still meet four times a year for breakfast, lunch or a Christmas function, where they raise money for a charity chosen by that year’s hostess. “I didn’t know anyone when I started,” Shirley said. “But we were all new to Tuckshop, and we had a lot of fun. You only get out what you put in to it.” When asked why parents should get involved, Shirley’s answer is simple: “Someone did the same thing for my son,” she said. “Before we arrived parents worked to raise funds and create a great culture. I want to pay it forward and see other children benefit.” The BGS Board of Trustees recognised Geoff’s ‘selfless service’ to the School in 2011, when he was recipient of the Betty Howell Award.

Geoff has rowed in Masters regattas. His involvement with BGS Rugby also continued beyond Scott’s days at BGS. “Some of my mates’ sons were still at school so I would go along and help with the barbecue,” he said.

Despite the accolade, Geoff and Shirley’s involvement has never been about winning awards. Geoff didn’t know he had a LinkedIn profile – he says his kids must have put him on social media – but it’s short, in capital letters and to the point: “HARD WORKING FAMILY MAN”.

Today, Geoff gives his time to the BGSOBA and the Moogerah Support Group. He became OBA President in 2003 and served the maximum three years. Still on the committee, he’s a regular fixture at the Annual Reunion


2018 FUNDRAISING REPORT From 1 Jan 2017 $5,152,542 was raised.

Our Sesquicentenary Year

In 2018 $2,111,306 was received from 591 gifts by 332 donors. Old Boys

BGS Support Groups, Staff, Grandparents & BGS Trustees



$730,843 towards infrastructure projects

$1,360,648 to provide bursarial support for boys in financial need



for new library resources

for BGS sports



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105 Past Parents



Old Boys

donated $590,106 to their year group fund for needs-based bursaries

$269,226 received for bursaries through Bequests

One Hundred & Ninety parents donated $247,875 through Voluntary Contributions 56 parents donated in both years

Current Parents

46 gifts

from young alumni (under 30 years)

P&F Auxiliary

$1,250,000 Pledges & Donations



make a vital contibution to the School

SIGNIFICANT GIFTS An anonymous Old Boy donor gifted $750,000 to support an Indigenous or regional bursary for a student in financial need.

Matt McLennan ’86 set Harlin House refurbishment in motion, updating common rooms and building an outdoor BBQ area for boarders, with a US$500,000 pledge over five years.

The P&F Auxiliary donated $500,000 to Northgate developments, $250,000 to the War Memorial Library Gardens and continues their 2017 pledge of $500,000 for a P&F Bursary.

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60 Old Boys contributed to the War Memorial Library refurbishments raising $37,820 with an additional $74,000 from the Anzac Centenary Grant.


BGS Art Show 2019 Aurum

The 2019 BGS Art Show will mark the 50th staging of the annual event. ‘Aurum’ is a fitting theme, meaning gold in Latin, symbolising the 50-year anniversary milestone. Works are organised into three categories for the show: paintings and photography, sculpture and pottery, and jewellery. The show will be opened by Judith Bell, former member of the BGS Board of Trustees and long-time supporter and collector of art. She has had a distinguished career in education, including 10 years as a member of the Senate of The University of Queensland. This year, guest artists have been selected to represent each area. Anne-Marie Zanetti and Colley Whisson, two vastly different artists, will represent painting; Ben Hodges ’90 will represent jewellery; and Lincoln Austin will represent sculpture. In addition to the guest artists, Aurum will have pieces for sale from more than 60 invited artists, both professional and emerging.

Hodges attended art college before establishing himself in the jewellery business. His striking wearable art designs combine brightly coloured gems with the noble metals of silver, platinum and gold. A move to London saw Hodges apprentice with high-end jewellers in Hatton Garden. Here he perfected his craft before moving to London’s Mayfair in the West End, where he was involved with creating jewellery for Boodles, Cartier, Harrods and Webb. It was during this period that Hodges helped create a ring for Ringo Starr of The Beatles. Hodges has handcrafted in diamond, titanium and solid 18 carat white gold, an intricate pair of BGS cufflinks. Valued at $10,000, the design bears the School crest and is available to bid on via an online auction. Today, Hodges showcases his significant experience in Brisbane, working at the upmarket Hardy Brothers store. He has won multiple jewellery awards for his designs. Austin was born in South Australia but today lives and works in Ipswich.

His work investigates the blurred boundaries between ideal and physical realities, using geometry, pattern, systems and repetition. His works vary greatly in scale and process. Austin’s large public art works include Once Again at Santos Place. He is collected by the Queensland Art Gallery and has been an Artist-inResidence at the Museum of Brisbane. Zanetti is a self-styled, award-winning Australian artist. Her photorealist paintings feature dramatic use of rich, luminous colours and intricate details. She aims to illuminate the preciousness of objects and moments in time through her work. Whisson was born and raised in Brisbane in semi-rural surrounds and his work demonstrates a deep appreciation for nature and the outdoors. He is well known as an impressionist painter, aiming to distort and abstract an image as much as possible, while maintaining a realistic image. An author and teacher, Whisson leads painting workshops worldwide through his YouTube channel.

The BGS Art Show commences with a ticketed Gala Opening on Friday 19 July at 7.00pm, followed by free admission on Saturday 20 July from 10.00am to 3.00pm on BGS Open Day. Visit and click on Events to secure your place and to bid on the BGS cufflinks.


50TH Annual Art Show 1969 – 2019

The Brisbane Grammar School Art Support Group is proud to present the 50th Annual Art Show 2019. Join us on the Gala opening night in Centenary Hall for an evening of art, jewellery, wine, food and BGS musicians. Special Guest Artists Colley Whisson Anne-Marie Zanetti Ben Hodges Lincoln Austin Gala Opening Night (ticketed) Friday 19 July from 7pm Open Day Exhibit Saturday 20 July 10am - 3pm

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Discover the opportunities for students at Queensland’s leading boys’ school. Brisbane Grammar School Gregory Terrace Brisbane QLD 4000 T +61 7 3834 5200 E

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Advancement takes centre stage

provided a forum for advancement practitioners and experts to learn and share ideas focused on the rapidly changing advancement landscape. The Schools’ Program included sessions for practitioners working in admissions, alumni and community engagement, fundraising, and marketing and communications.

Advancement professionals from around the world visited Brisbane Grammar School for the Schools’ Program of the CASE Asia-Pacific Advancement Conference in April this year. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is a global association for school and university professionals in advancement – alumni relations, communications, development and marketing – who connect and share the goal of championing education to transform lives and society.

A new edition for the Schools’ Program in 2019 was a one-day program for Heads of Schools, Trustees and Business Managers. With 40 Heads of Schools attending, the theme Navigating the World of Philanthropy, examined the changes in education funding and the importance of leaders’ involvement in fundraising, greater governance and ethics, data analytics and technology-supported decision making.

BGS is a CASE member and the School’s Advancement and Community Relations team hosted the APAC Schools’ Program at BGS. For over 10 years, the conference has been hosted in Singapore and Hong Kong. This was the first CASE conference in Australia, with other venues in Brisbane city hosting the university conference.

A plenary session, Advancing Advancement, featured a panel of key BGS stakeholders – including the Chairman, Headmaster, CFO and Deputy Headmaster - Teaching and Learning, and Heather. The panel discussion showcased the importance of a team approach to achieve institutional objectives including being unified on key messages to make positive strides in areas of Advancement, particularly philanthropy.

Conference Chair Heather Hamilton, Executive Director - Advancement and Community Relations at BGS, led a planning committee of 10 experts, comprising practitioners from across the Asia-Pacific region and members of the BGS team, to curate the conference content. Heather has served as a CASE Commissioner in Washington DC, is a regular speaker at CASE conferences and judge for the CASE Circle of Excellence Awards.

CASE APAC in Brisbane provided a wonderful forum for learning and sharing and was a resounding success. The conference attracted the most ever attendees, a total of 113 delegates from 62 institutions and 14 countries.

Through a variety of concurrent sessions, interactive workshops and roundtable discussions, CASE APAC



A Little war hero


Maurice’s younger brother and David’s father, William, enlisted at age 20 in November 1917. William was assigned to the Light Horse Reinforcements which served in Palestine and was engaged at Es Salt, Amman, Jordan Valley.

ld Boy David Little ’60 has a strong family connection to Brisbane Grammar School that spans four generations and dates back to the early 1900s when his father and uncle attended the School. David’s father William Arthur Little (1914), uncle Edwin Maurice Little (1910), son Andrew Little ’87 and grandson Oliver Hudson have all walked through the BGS gates as students.

Despite physical incapacities, Maurice refused to be pitied and went on to master braille and write widely. In 1923, the Queensland Book Depot published Maurice’s book, Sonnets and Other Verses. The preface was written by BGS Headmaster Bousfield and contained poems referencing WWI, including his well-known verse Nil Sine Labore extolling the virtues of our School Motto in the field of battle.

The Little family attended a special Remembrance Day Ceremony at the School to mark the centenary of the Armistice; 100 years after 11 November 1918. The School’s iconic Golden Book, on display in the War Memorial Library, was opened to the pages focusing on David’s father and uncle and their WWI service. A war hero, David’s uncle Maurice was severely injured at Quinn’s Post in Gallipoli in May 1915.

Maurice went on to become the Founding President of the Sherwood RSSILA, and stood for State Parliament, to better the cause of returned servicemen. He later travelled to London and studied economics at Oxford. Maurice died in London in 1938, aged 45. Eighty years later, David proudly showed his uncle’s braille pocket watch with raised numerals; a gift to Maurice from the Queensland Government in recognition of his service in public life. David’s wife Marlene wore Maurice’s gold cufflinks and gold medallion to the 2018 Remembrance Day Ceremony in honour of her husband’s father and uncle.

Newspaper accounts from 1916 revealed Maurice was throwing Turkish bombs back at the enemy before they exploded. He had done so successfully six times, but on the seventh occasion the bomb exploded in his hand, and he lost both eyes and had to have his right hand and wrist amputated. He also suffered hearing loss, other facial injuries and a leg wound that became inflamed with arthritis. A casualty list published in the press listed him as killed in action.

A strong supporter of Campaign 2020 and the 1960 Year Group Bursary, David – a former School Captain – is passionate about giving back to BGS and providing the chance for others to gain the same opportunities his family benefited from by attending the School.

Upon his return to Australia in 1915, Maurice was guest speaker at rallies supporting the Federal Government’s conscription campaign. It was perhaps inevitable that


OPEN DAY Visit Brisbane Grammar School Open Day on

SATURDAY 20 JULY 2019 Discover the opportunities for students at Queensland’s leading boys’ school. Brisbane Grammar School Gregory Terrace Brisbane QLD 4000 T +61 7 3834 5200 E

Visit our website at

CRICOS Provider Number 00489C

Profile for Brisbane Grammar School

GN winter 2019