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Old Boy art donation to honour Bernadette Moy

As Brisbane Grammar School’s longest-serving female teacher, Bernadette Moy has seen many changes in her 40 years at the School.

When she arrived in February 1981, her Art classes took place on four ping pong tables under the Boarding House.

In the years that followed, Bernadette established Senior Art, devised inspiring learning tasks, organised several exhibitions, and passed on her passion for art to generations of BGS students.

On her retirement in 2020, BGS Curator and former Head of Art Stewart Service commented, “Bernadette touched the lives of a third to half of all BGS students as they came through Years 8, 9 and 10. She has spent countless hours in and out of the classroom inspiring the people at the school – students and staff.” 

One such student is Scott McLeod ’85, who attended Bernadette’s Friday afternoon extracurricular classes, where students could explore print making, clay or whatever art they wanted to do. 

Years later, a chance meeting rekindled Scott’s interest in collecting artwork by BGS Old Boy Francis Lymburner ’33, who has a gallery named in his honour in the Art Centre.

“I hadn’t been back to the School for many years, but when my son Andrew was in Year 5, I went to Open Day and ventured down to the Art Centre as I hadn’t seen the conversion from the old gym,” Scott says. “I noticed there was a gallery named after Francis Lymburner, who I hadn’t realised was an Old Boy.”

Looking around, Scott bumped into Bernadette and they talked about the School and Art in the 1980s. “I was absolutely hopeless at Art at school, I but always enjoyed the one lesson a week we had in Form 2 in the basement of the old Boarding House, now the Roe Building. And yes, the Boarding House ping pong tables were pushed together for the purpose!

“Life has changed a lot since the 80s and today the boys have a wonderful opportunity to study Art for more than just one year,” Scott says.

“After catching up with Bernadette, I started to look for Lymburner at antique and art auctions. I thought it would be good to increase the number of works on display in the gallery.”

BGS Curator Stewart Service has organised a special cabinet to display some of the 11 pencil drawings and ink washes. 

Bernadette, Scott, Stewart and Headmaster Anthony Micallef recently met to view the works. “I thought Bernadette’s retirement was the perfect opportunity to gift the works to the School in recognition of her incredible service and contribution over many decades,” Stewart says. “Somehow I think Bernadette’s service of 40 years may stand as a long record.”

Bernadette didn’t expect her chance meeting with Scott would lead to this gift to the School. “I was overwhelmed at how the School acknowledged my longevity at BGS. Scott’s donation is a very generous gesture.”

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