BGS150 - Celebrating our Community

The intent for Brisbane Grammar School’s 150-year anniversary was to Celebrate our Community and there is no doubt this was achieved throughout 2018. From the major BGS150 events including the Gala Dinner, a royal visit and Sports Lunch, to reunions around Australia and overseas, the theme of ‘community’ was front and centre.

In his rousing Speech Day address on Wednesday 14 November, outgoing School Captain Marcus Ray highlighted community as the key factor that has made BGS what it is today. ‘In 150 years, much has changed at Brisbane Grammar School,’ he said. ‘Buildings have come and gone. Students have come and gone. Headmasters have come and gone. Yet one aspect remains unchanged, impervious to the influences of time – our great sense of community.’

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‘Our BGS predecessors forged a collective spirit that continues to serve as our school’s very foundation, that binds our diverging path​s together, and that defines who we are and what we are today.’​

Marcus eloquently summed up what BGS means to him with the final words of his address, delivered a day before departing the School for the final time as a student: ‘This school, Brisbane Grammar School, has defined who I am. It has defined who we are – this community, this unity, our values, and our vision for 150 years and for 150 more.’

All parts of the BGS community, from current students and Old Boys, to current and past staff, current and past parents, volunteers, donors and sponsors, should be commended for coming together to make 2018 such a memorable year.

There have been too many occasions and events held throughout the year to cover in this article, but the Remembrance Day ceremony was a perfect example of what community means at BGS. The event, brought together by staff, students, parents and Old Boys, marked 100 years after the Armistice of 11 November 1918 with a moving ceremony outside the War Memorial Library.

A field of 172 handmade poppies representing the Old Boys and Masters who were killed during the ‘Great War’ were planted in the War Memorial gardens.

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It was a solemn occasion but the spirit with which those who served were remembered, and the wonderful conversations that continued long after the ceremony had completed, was testament to the incredible BGS community connection.

The School is indebted to its community for committing their time, treasure and talent. Brisbane Grammar School simply wouldn’t be what it is today without our community contributions.

In 2018, our generous volunteers dedicated thousands of combined hours to support the School everywhere from the Tuckshop and Grammar Shop to the canteen at Northgate.

The P&F Auxiliary donated more than $500,000 towards the Northgate development and to support a bursary. Support Groups – the Wembley Club, Willow Club and Normanby Blues – also gave substantial donations to the School for the Northgate development. The OBA Committee raised $110,000 for the War Memorial Library restoration, through Old Boy donations and a grant spearheaded by OBA President Chris Austin.

Old Boy Matt McLennan ’86 donated $500,000 USD towards upgrading our boarding facilities; Old Boy David Malouf ’50 gifted a significant collection of artworks; and an anonymous donor gave $750,000 to support bursaries. The 2018 Year Group Bursary has so far raised $38,000 which will support boys with the ability but not the financial capacity to attend BGS. The School’s corporate sponsors donated more than $125,000 this year.

Our Old Boys and parents have also offered their time and expertise to mentor young Old Boys to give them the best possible start to their careers.

Finally, I wish the Class of 2018 the best. Yesterday they left the Great Hall and belted out a final rendition of the war cry as students. Last night they said their final goodbyes at the Valedictory Dinner. Congratulations and good luck, and we hope many of you maintain your connection with the BGS community as Old Boys.

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