First Sod Turned for the New Sports and Aquatic Centre Friday 28 July 2017 was a momentous day for Westbourne when Principal, Meg Hansen and a group that included community stalwarts Diane John and Ray Horsburgh AM, Junior and Senior School Captains and some of our youngest students, stood on a heap of sand to turn the ﬁrst sod for what will be a magniﬁcent new swimming pool and sports centre. In addition to a large contingent of staﬀ, students, parents, Board members, builders and architects the school was enormously honoured to welcome local dignitaries: Legislative Councillor for West Metropolitan region Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins MP, the Mayor of the City of Wyndham Councillor Henry Barlow, City of Hobsons Bay Mayor Councillor Sandra Wilson, Professor Simon Bailey from the University of Melbourne and Mr Peter Mayall, Chair of the Committee for Wyndham Using a special commemorative silver shovel, Meg Hansen symbolically turned the ﬁrst sod on what will be a splendid new educational facility and the realisation of a dream – that Westbourne would have its own pool. In fact, the school ﬁrst thought of building a pool in 1983 when it was identiﬁed as a key fund raising project. By 1987, the cost was estimated at around two hundred thousand dollars – which must have seemed a very large sum at the time. But, as can happen in schools, 18 | Monomeith | Edition 11 2017
other learning needs became a priority and the pool project was temporarily shelved. In hindsight, perhaps this was not such a bad thing since a closer look at the history of the school suggests some interesting synergies that today strongly connect the past with the present and future. One of the school’s most inﬂuential early Principals was Charles Steedman. Renowned as a champion swimmer and author of Manual of Swimming, a bestselling book on swimming techniques, Steedman arrived at the school in 1870. In the years that followed, he would make his mark – not only as a ﬁne educator; but as a person of enormous energy with outstanding administrative and entrepreneurial skills. Under his leadership, enrolments increased as did the number of subjects on oﬀer and the quality of the teaching. Steedman’s aspirations for the school and its students were profound.