We have reached the end of Term 1 and the School is quietening down as students and staff head off for the holidays. For me, the School will become a quiet place of reflection as I prepare for my final term as Headmaster of St Peter’s College.
This time last year I was in France and as part of my trip I attended the Anzac Day dawn service with students and staff in the village of Villers-Bretonneux. The village was the site of an intense battle in 1918 in which Australian forces played a pivotal role and to this day the town remembers the sacrifice made by Australians. As part of the same trip, I also attended a service at the First Australian Division Memorial in Pozieres and it was an honour to lay a wreath on behalf of the School. Our wreath was laid in recognition of Arthur Seaforth Blackburn VC CMG CBE ED, an old scholar who fought in Gallipoli and on the Western Front and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry in the face of the enemy. I thought of him and all those who enlisted, and was reminded of the bravery of these young men and their desire to serve their country. I could see how the Anzac Day services affected the students, staff and parents who were with me and it was deeply moving to experience such an occasion with them. At the start of Term 2, as we do every year, we will commemorate Anzac Day, and the service and sacrifices made by all those who have served our country in its time of need.
The School’s commitment to serving the country and community has influenced a significant number of submissions for our 170th anniversary booklet. Thank you to all those students, staff, parents and old scholars who have taken the time to jot down their memories, stories and favourite rumours – we have some great tales to share. If you haven’t yet done so, please take the time to fill in the short form online [insert link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KPPMJVW]. Of all the submissions I’ve read, I am most intrigued by the story of our lost foundation stone. In 1849 Bishop Augustus Short laid the foundation stone for a new school building, now called Old School House, but its whereabouts are now unknown. It’s believed a time capsule was placed behind the foundation stone, to be opened in 1949. For years staff and students have pored over documents, building plans and maps to try to locate the foundation stone and time capsule, but to no avail. I would love to find that time capsule, especially in our 170th year, and I welcome any ideas and suggestions!
As we reach the end of Term 1, I would like to thank staff, students and parents for their hard work and dedication – it’s been a great start to the year. I wish you all a happy Easter and a safe and restful few weeks.