How the world has changed in such a short time. It’s hard to believe that it is less than two months since I travelled to Wyaralong with a bus of Old Boys and partners to watch the BGS First VIII bring the O’Connor Cup back where it belongs. Although most Australians so far are thankfully untouched by COVID-19 itself, none of us are immune to the impact that this disease has had on our social interaction, our businesses, our lifestyles and livelihoods. For some, this has been a time of increased work and increased demand, but most of us have seen our incomes fall off a cliff and our social lives shut down.
All of this is, of course, necessary to save lives. The world we live in and the Australia we live in are different to the world and the Australia that faced the last comparable major global pandemics, the 1968 H3N2 and the 1918 H1N1 pandemics. We’ve all learned lessons from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic that infected more than 37,000 Australians, and we generally agree as a nation that the economy is subservient to our lives rather than the other way around. Voices to the contrary are few.
I’ve been a doctor for more than 25 years and I’ve never seen anything like this. Governments are taking advice from medical experts and working with an unprecedented degree of bipartisanship. And ordinary Australians are largely following the advice given to slow the spread of the disease. The result is that at the time of writing Australia has been less severely affected than almost any comparable country, and much less severely affected than the worst-case scenario predictions.
But the pain of financial uncertainty, stresses on businesses and loss of employment, and the impact of social isolation are severe. Now, more than ever, we need each other. Our communities, and all our social networks, will get us through this crisis if we nourish and support them.
The BGS OBA Committee, and our wonderful OBA Manager Carla Hardy, are working to develop new ways for us to connect with each other without physically coming together. We are developing a platform to bring you podcasts from the Old Boy community, and we are moving our Professional Networking events online. I encourage all Old Boys to join Brisbane Grammar Connect and if you’re on Facebook please follow the OBA Facebook page. Please share photos and memories. Check in with each other. Ask for help if and when you need it.
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Headmaster, Mr Anthony Micallef, the incredible BGS teachers and staff, and the Board of Trustees, who have all made a prodigious effort to navigate this crisis. Two of my three boys are still at BGS, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more glad to have chosen BGS for them.
BGS Old Boys' Association President