Grammar Gazette- Issue 1, 2004


“ Lead the charge - each one of us can make a difference in this world. ” Dr Elsina Wainwright Head Girl 1988


School Leaders 2004 Our theme for this year, GET BORN, encapsulates the idea of a fresh start. A new beginning and a new way of acting. We would like to change the way you think. We really believe that, as privileged students attending Girls Grammar, we have a responsibility to contribute to our community and to the lives of those who don ’ t share our privileges. We need to be reminded that we live a better life than many people in our world. We have never been woken in our sleep by a gunshot, we don ’ t live under a government that dictates the way we dress or restricts us from speaking our thoughts and opinions. GET BORN is a challenge to recognize and acknowledge the superficialities in our lives and to focus our energy on the big issues, people and real pain and ultimately what we can do to make a difference. It all involves risk and we have decided to lead by taking a risk. Brisbane Girls Grammar School has long been a supporter of the Royal Children ’ s Hospital, and this year the Big Project, our fundraising scheme for the Hospital, will play a vital role in the School. The proceeds of fundraisers throughout the year will all contribute to our ultimate goal. If and when this sum of money – not yet confirmed but for now up to your imaginations – is reached, we have agreed to shave our heads on assembly and donate all monies to the Royal Children ’ s Hospital. This is our risk, but it is also a wake up call for everyone – to think of others while challenging yourselves, to go from day to day while always aware of the bigger picture, to make a fresh start, to take a new perspective, to GET BORN.











Vanessa Watson and Emmie Willis

Cover photography: Greg Gardner Photography

Brisbane Girls Grammar School Gregory Terrace Brisbane 4000

Queensland Australia Tel 61 7 3332 1300 Fax 61 7 3832 6097

ISSN 1449-1214


From the Principal Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. 1 Leadership is the theme for this edition of the Grammar Gazette . Brisbane Girls Grammar School has been a leader in the education of young women since 1875 when Mrs Janet O ’ Connor was appointed as the first Lady Principal and a curriculum was devised that reflected a rigorous academic programme rather than genteel pursuits. Today the School still adheres to its proven academic model, founded on extensive curricular and co-curricular options, including an exceptional outdoor education facility unique to girls schools in Queensland and a technological infrastructure acknowledged by industry as one of the best in this state. The Year 12 results from 2003 reflect our consistency in achieving educational outcomes that allow our young graduates to pursue further study in their chosen field of interest. In the Queensland Core Skills Test, 84% of the girls received an ‘ A ’ or ‘ B ’ grade compared with 42% across the state. The Overall Position results, that determine university course entry, were outstanding; 20% received an OP 1 or 2, compared with 5% of the state. However, in our view, a true indicator of success is the number of girls who achieve tertiary placement and, in line with previous cohorts, 97% of the 2003 Year 12 girls accepted places in tertiary institutions with 52% receiving their first choice and 84% offered their first, second or third choice. This is tangible evidence of the girls ’ positive commitment to learning, combined with the excellent teaching and careers advice they receive throughout their time at Girls Grammar. Part of the responsibility of leading a great school like Girls Grammar, is to ensure that it connects with our community. Inspirational education is not just about teaching

our current students, it is about creating a continuous culture of learning. This means actively and intentionally extending educational opportunities to parents, past students and the wider grammar world. Consequently, our initiatives such as the Philosophy Caf é , ‘ Alumni & Art ’ events and co-hosting the International Young Physicists ’ Tournament with Brisbane Grammar School, allow the School to reinforce the enjoyment and relevance of engaging in learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom.

Ms Amanda Bell

1 John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963), speech prepared for delivery in Dallas the day of his assassination, November 22, 1963

International Women’s Day

The School was involved in various events to celebrate International Women ’ s Day (IWD) on Monday 8 March. Brisbane Girls Grammar was very fortunate to host Her Excellency, Governor of Queensland, at the Australian Institute of Management IWD lunch, along with Board members, staff, past students, parents and special guests. It was an opportunity for the School to bring together a wide range of people who support the School and the celebration of women ’ s accomplishments. Consideration of our own issues relating to women in Australia pales in contrast to women ’ s health, living and working conditions in third world countries. We constantly remind our students to place their own access to quality education and general circumstances in a global context.

International Women ’ s Day is not just a celebration of women ’ s achievements, it is a day to reflect on those men, women and children, who do not enjoy the same living standards and basic human rights that we do in this country.

Her Excellency, Governor of Queensland, Ms Quentin Bryce,AO; Dr Cherrell Hirst, AO, Chair of the Board of Trustees; Ms Amanda Bell.


Taking the Lead in Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education was first introduced to Brisbane Girls Grammar School in 1978 by teachers passionate about the environment and who saw the potential of opportunities presented by the outdoors to expand the learning base for students. After a sustained campaign to secure property and establish buildings, in 1987 the Memorial Outdoor Education Centre was opened at Imbil in the Mary Valley. From its inception at the School, Outdoor Education has been seen as important. “ It adds another dimension to the girls ’ education ” says Centre Director Mrs Carol McIntosh “ girls are encouraged to reach beyond the purely academic realms to develop important life skills. ” The purpose of the Centre is not to be a holiday camp but rather to offer challenging experiences.

Below: Co-Directors Mr James McIntosh and Mrs Carol McIntosh

“ The Outdoor Education Programme reaches out to students in a way that regular classroom lesson cannot. It immerses the students in a very real environment – one that must be conquered the hard way instead of being shortened or abridged. ” Mr Greg Bland - Academic Staff


What is Outdoor Education? For many of us images of fun and recreation commonly spring to mind. While these are certainly important aspects there is much more to the Outdoor Education framework. In its simplest form Outdoor Education focuses on three areas – learning about the environment; personal discovery and working with others. By actively participating in a myriad of activities away from many of the usual comforts, students are challenged and encouraged to explore personal characteristics and develop important skills for embracing their lives effectively. The Programme The programme is a carefully considered sequential progression through Years 8, 9 and 10. Encouraging students to firstly, lead themselves and secondly, to think and work interdependently. Activities chosen in the programme serve to focus on specific aspects. For example an activity like canoeing necessitates communication and working together. Expeditioning has become a common theme throughout the three Year levels where students use different self-propelled modes of transport to reach their destinations. The learning comes from more than reaching the destinations, importance is also placed on the journey and what they are achieving along they way. Outdoor Education provides exciting learning experiences for students ones that leave vivid memories long after leaving Girls Grammar. The Centre continues its commitment to providing innovative outdoor experiences to nurture the development of independent and spirit filled young women who make positive contributions to their communities.

“ Girls are encouraged to experiment with activities they would not normally consider, and develop life skills and independence . I also find it interesting that unusual and unexpected friendships are formed between some girls. ”

Can you help us create a new name? The School is looking to develop a signature name for the Memorial Outdoor Education Centre. The Centre is colloquially known as “ Imbil ” , reflecting its location rather than identity, and will continue to be known as the Memorial Outdoor Education Centre, with the signature name as an addition. The name selected should portray the Centre as a leader in Outdoor Education while connecting it to the tradition and aspiration of Brisbane Girls Grammar School. We would welcome suggestions from the School community. These can be sent to the School or emailed to


Grammar Hosts International Physicists

The 17th International Young Physicists Tournament (IYPT) is to be hosted by Brisbane Girls Grammar School and Brisbane Grammar School in June 2004. This will be the largest international high school physics competition held in Australia since 1995 and involve thirty teams from twenty-eight nations. Mr Alan Allinson, Head of the Physics at Brisbane Girls Grammar School is the Chair of the Local Organising Committee for IYPT 2004. The tournament requires each team of five students to theoretically and experimentally research seventeen complex problems for several months prior to the tournament and then present and defend their solutions in a series of “ Physics Fights ” . The tournament was created to encourage students to conduct real research and foster better communication skills. All Year 12 students complete one of these problems as part of the Senior Physics course. Two teams from Australia will compete at this event. One will be selected at the annual qualifying competition, the IYPTAustralia Challenge, and one will be formed from the students of the two host Schools. “ It was so much fun! It was challenging and it has extended me - I get Physics a lot more now! It ’ s an incredible experience! ”

Three Year 12 girls from Brisbane Girls Grammar School have already been selected as part of the host team. Erina McDonald, Alexandra Mercer and Emily See received the problems in late October 2003 and have been preparing for the tournament since then. Trying to understand the behaviour of a flame under a chimney, designing a fountain to achieve maximum height or determining why white light transmitted through egg white looks red, have become daily topics for discussion. Brisbane Girls Grammar School has a proud tradition in the event having been Australia ’ s first representative in 1998 and providing all the team members in the Australian Team that finished second in 2001. The tournament also provides an incredible opportunity to meet students from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. With nations from North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Europe all coming to our School it is also a rich experience for the teams and the numerous students that have volunteered to be guides and helpers. Can you help? The IYPT programme provides many opportunities for corporate sponsorship, individual donations or donations in kind. If you would like more information on this inspirational event please go to or contact Mr Alan Allinson on 3332 1300.

Caitlin Wilson - 2003 Australian Team Captain & 2003 Year 12 Grammar girl


Staff Profiles Mr Alan Allinson, Head of Physics

Serendipity is a well-known phenomenon in Science. It occurs when fortunate discoveries are made by accident, like the discovery of penicillin and Velcro. Another recognised case of serendipity was the appointment of Mr Alan Allinson as Head of Physics at Brisbane Girls Grammar School in 1995. Mr Allinson has depth as well as breadth of knowledge. His success can be attributed to that enviable combination of intelligence and dedication. Today, Mr Allinson ’ s colleagues describe him as extremely generous with his time and resources, and feedback from students indicates how much they appreciate the extra time and effort he puts into all of his classes. Mr Allinson ’ s particular talent lies in the area of getting the best out of students. He has sought to integrate into Junior and Senior Courses the most up-to-date data collection and analysis technology available to secondary schools as well as establishing beneficial tertiary and industry links. Mr Allinson has played a key role in all aspects of the development and implementation of curriculum in the areas of Junior Science and Senior Physics. He has made significant contributions to the development of our curriculum philosophy and policy, and has designed relevant units based on these platforms. Laurence Houseman once said, “ A saint is one who makes goodness attractive. ” which inspired John Trimble to comment that, “ Surely, a great teacher does the same thing for education. ” It is certainly what Alan Allinson has done for Physics at Brisbane Girls Grammar School.

Mrs Ruth Lang, Dean of Curriculum With a Masters degree in Educational Studies and extensive experience in curriculum leadership including roles as a foundation Principal and foundation Deputy Principal, Mrs Lang was appointed to the newly created role of Dean of Curriculum at Brisbane Girls Grammar School in January 2003.

Mrs Lang combines her Dean ’ s role with teaching Junior Science and Senior Biology.

The philosophical foundation upon which the curriculum is reviewed, designed and enhanced is that learning is a personal event which is nourished through quality teaching, focussed interactions with peers and genuine engagement in the curriculum. When speaking of this philosophy Mrs Lang says that “ A Brisbane Girls Grammar School education should ultimately provide a solid foundation for personal well being, ongoing academic endeavour, flexibility and the ability to work both interdependently and independently ” . The teaching staff at Brisbane Girls Grammar School is committed to delivering a curriculum in a supportive classroom environment, which is broad, liberal and relevant to the needs of today ’ s learners. The Habits of Mind initiative in Year 8 is an example of a set of skills, which are applicable well beyond the classroom setting and into adulthood. Mrs Lang ’ s priorities include the enhancement of opportunities for girls to develop intellectual quality, a futures orientation, a connectedness to the local community and global village and openness to continuous learning through rich, meaningful and diverse school experiences.


On the 21 November last, the School community packed the City Hall to mark the annual Speech Day and celebrate that vital connection between personal and common interest and the commitment to implementing imaginative responses to new concepts and circumstances, which across 128 years have made Girls Grammar a consistent leader in the education of young women. The Principal, Ms Amanda Bell addressed these aims in outlining the new Strategic Design ’ s plans for future directions as both affirming and building on all that is good, essential and valuable in the Grammar tradition. “ To be respected internationally as a leader in the education of young women and professional teaching practice. Proud of our Grammar tradition we are a secondary School that establishes the educational platform for young women to contribute confidently to their world with wisdom, imagination and integrity. ” Speech Day Nil Sine Labore! Set your goals and strive; Dare to let your dreams take wing and soar.

Every minute of the afternoon, encapsulated the realization of these goals. From the spectacular processional performed by the Symphonic Winds Ensemble, through the inspiring Occasional Address delivered by distinguished former Head Girl and Rhodes Scholar Dr Elsina Wainwright, to the sustained applause which recognized the outstanding achievements of so many girls in so many fields, what Dr Cherrell Hirst, Chair of the Board of Trustees, described as “ the seemingly bottomless pit of creative energy … which pervades every aspect of the life of the School ” was fully in evidence. That the best qualities of leadership in community must be exercised and modelled at every level and in every sector of School life was the unifying focus of Speech Day 2003. In her address, the Principal developed the theme that with privilege and opportunity comes the responsibility to look beyond ourselves. “ Brisbane Girls Grammar School community is vibrant, supportive, inclusive and diverse. Our sense of community involves caring about each other. ” Similarly Dr Wainwright urged every member of the school to strive to change things for the better. “ So why don ’ t you lead the charge? Each of us can make a difference in this world … There is still enormous scope to improve other people ’ s lives, and I believe it is one ’ s responsibility to try to do so … There is a lot that can be done to make a better world, and I believe there is a part for all of us to play. ” It would have been difficult to avoid being caught up in the unique spirit of what it means to be Girls Grammar. It shone through the words of the Head Girls as they spoke for the last time as leaders of the School. It was shouted in the last thunderous War Cry in the square. But nowhere was it more evident than in the thoughts and memories of a grandmother and Old Girl, Mrs Florence Buckley, who having just recently become computer literate herself, dedicated a new prize to encourage Grammar girls to take up the technological challenge of the future. Speech Day is more than an occasion for recognition and prize giving. It is more than another opportunity to put the School on well-deserved display. It is pre-eminently that one day of the year on which the whole Girls Grammar community comes together in all its many generations, roles and relationships to identify with a great and ongoing tradition of achievement and contribution to the life of our state and nation and to look forward with confidence and expectation to all that is to come. Jocelyn Knight and Kate Hogarth were the proud recipients of the Old Girls ’ Prizes. On receiving her Prize, Jocelyn wrote, “ Throughout my five years at Grammar, I have not only enjoyed my English studies, but have also appreciated the considerable contribution that the Old Girls ’ Association makes to the present and future life of the School. Having now left Grammar myself, it is clear to me why so many former students of the School would feel compelled to retain a tie with the school, and seek to be positively involved in helping succeeding generations to enjoy and benefit from their Grammar experience. ”


Information Technology Developments

Communications The School ’ s internet connection has been upgraded to a high speed link which is five times faster than the previous one. It also provides the ability to modify the speed of the link to meet variations in student demand thus resulting in a more cost effective system. The internet connection at the Memorial Outdoor Education Centre was also upgraded to a two-way satellite link which provides improved, more reliable access for staff and students. Security Security was enhanced through the purchase of dedicated hardware and the reconfiguration of existing network services and firewalls. These measures have been implemented to prevent hackers from obtaining access to the School ’ s system and to protect the School from unauthorised external access. These 2003 initiatives provide sound foundations upon which the School can build upon during 2004 and beyond. Such initiatives will cater for the increasing demand on the network by the School community and ensure that students have access to the latest technologies. The total commitment to IT spending during 2003 was in excess of one million dollars.

With a recognition of and a commitment to technology best practices across both the hardware and software sectors, Brisbane Girls Grammar School has undertaken a number of initiatives over the past twelve months to build upon the already strong Information and Communication Technologies foundations established by the School. Mr Richard Holden, Business Development Manager for IT solutions company Data #3 Limited said “ The advanced nature of the technology implemented clearly positions Brisbane Girls Grammar School at the leading edge of the private school IT sector. Data#3 Limited, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard all consider the School to be the reference site for the education sector ” . Infrastructure As IT now forms such an inherent part of all aspects of the day to day running of the School, there is an ever increasing reliance on the provision of an efficient and stable network system. With this in mind, the School has recently completed a major server upgrade project which included the migration to the latest versions of the Microsoft network operating and email systems. Another key component of this upgrade was the five-fold increase in storage space to meet growing demands and facilitate the continued integration of technology into the curriculum. Software and Hardware In addition, to addressing the increasing demand on IT facilities by the curriculum the School also undertook several classroom initiatives, some of which were specifically faculty based. The facilities in the music laboratory have been expanded and upgraded to include fourteen new midi keyboards and PCs which provides a better ratio of students to computers. PCs were also integrated into the new design of the science laboratories as part of the refurbishment. Individual PCs were deployed to some classrooms as part of the School ’ s commitment to provide PCs for every classroom. The School has also recently completed construction of a new computer laboratory and expanded an existing one, increasing the number of computer laboratories to a total of six. In line with the School ’ s three yearly IT replacement policy, a number of desktop PCs were upgraded to the latest models with flat panel screens.


Leadership in the Music Department

One of the most important tasks of the Year 11 girls during Term IV is to select the music captains for the following year. This is completed after a period of discernment, which involves the organisation of the Farewell Concert and an official voting process. The music captains for 2004 (pictured) are Sally Biggins (choral), Denise Cheung (band) and Francesca Hiew (strings). The year has started with much enthusiasm and anticipation for the musical year to come. Throughout the Year levels the participation rate has continued to increase, which demonstrates the great support

for the music programme. Music has proved to be an excellent activity for interaction across the Year levels providing many opportunities for girls to meet friends beyond their House and Year. The role of the music captains is to ensure that the students always feel involved and enjoy the groups they participate in. It is important that all students, especially the Year 8s, feel comfortable and valued in their ensembles. To achieve this, a positive and fun atmosphere is created by the music captains and staff. Many of the former music captains have become professional musicians and are practising in various parts of the world. We are indeed fortunate to have such a wealth of talent in the music department at Brisbane Girls Grammar School and the extensive variety of opportunities that enable girls to fully explore their talents.

Visitors from Lycee Saint Paul Leadership is about creating a vision and values, and Brisbane Girls Grammar School has been a leader in language education since the School began. To make the theory of language learning into a living reality, to encourage communication and

human contact that are fundamental to language, this School has led the way in establishing links with schools in the countries of the four modern languages taught here.

This year we celebrate 15 years of contact and exchange with Lyc é e Saint Paul in Angoul ê me France, and in February we welcomed staff and students from this School for a two-week visit. Hosted by Girls Grammar families, their time here has included working with French classes in the School, studying some iconic Australian films, visiting tourist destinations in the area, and also establishing friendships with their Australian peers. Experiencing common ground as well as differences is an important part of understanding how we may be able to live amicably in a troubled world.


Water polo shows the way

This is not a accomplishment that comes accidentally or easily. The club was established by committed and fervent parents who, from the outset, set up an organization that was both sound and forward-looking. The club ’ s success and longevity is, in no small part, due to their and their successors ’ efforts. Their work is notably continued by the School ’ s co-ordinator of the sport, Mrs Chris Moore, herself a former Queensland water polo player. Her leadership is demonstrated by the ever-increasing number of teams, three of which can be accessed even before girls enter the school; the overseas trips; the recruitment of committed, skilled coaches; her involvement in the Metropolitan North Water polo and her innovative practices and ideas. The successful organization of the club has refined over the years and the professionalism that Mrs Moore has engendered have meant that the Brisbane Girls Grammar Water Polo Club is a model that other schools and clubs have emulated.

The sport, the camaraderie and the support of the club structure provide our students with the confidence and ability to be powerful advocates of women ’ s sport and physical activity, whether they are captains of the sport, a tactician in the pool, or an enthusiastic bench player. Water polo, as with all the sports at the School, endorses the principle that leadership is not the responsibility of the few but both an opportunity and an expectation of each member. Everyone has a role to fulfil; everyone has a contribution to make.

Sailing With little time to take a breath, Grammar commenced the season with teams either racing or training on the first Sunday of Term I. Girls Grammar has entered three teams in the Inter-Schools Team Racing competition, which is sailed out of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQYS). The sailors in the Development Squad are also training well and improving every week. This Squad was established a few years ago to allow new Grammar sailors to improve their sailing skills and to introduce them to Teams Racing. This Term we have eleven very eager young sailors and they will become the backbone of Grammar sailing in years to come. The club has had another highly successful season, providing the opportunity for 160 girls to play in 12 teams. But it is neither trophies nor premiership medallions that stamps the club as one of quality; it is the opportunities created for the girls to shine as leaders in and out of the pool that is our greatest success. For over 25 years the Brisbane Girls Grammar School Water Polo Club has been a leader in schoolgirl sport.

Junior sailing team with Ms Bell


Alumni & Art 2003 The pictured Alumni; Mrs Trisha Page, Prof Cheryl Praeger, Mrs Noela Medcalf, Mrs Lesley Davies and Dr Robyn Adams joined Ms Bell on Sunday 28 September, 2003 in Perth for a guided tour of The Pre-Raphaelite Dream: Paintings and Drawings from the Tate Collection shown at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, followed by afternoon tea.

2004 Victorian Alumni & Art On Sunday 16 May, 2004 Ms Bell will be visiting the National Art Gallery of Victoria for a tour of Darkness and Light: Caravaggio and his World with the Victorian Alumni. For more information contact the Secretary to the Principal on phone 07 3332 1436 or email

The School values its Alumni and looks forward to more opportunities to improve contacts and strengthen relationships with our traditional support networks.

STOP PRESS – Cathedral Concert, St. Stephens, 22 April 7.30pm. 129th Birthday Celebrating 105 years

The Old Girls ’ Association has reached this milestone through the continuing support of generations of old girls and the wonderful relationship that exists between the Association and the School. For information about reunions and the Old Girls Association visit the School ’ s website at


50 Year Reunion

40 Year Reunion (1963 & 1964) 4 September 2004 Contact Mrs Jill Sim tel 3896 3209 or 50 Year Reunion 31 July 2004 Contact the School for more information.

On 15 March Brisbane Girls Grammar School celebrated 129 years

The Class of ’ 53 had their 50 year reunion and tour of the School in October. Some had not been to Girls Grammar for 50 years, so they were amazed by the changes. The Library was especially admired.

Apology In the Spring 2003 Edition of the Grammar Gazette the results of the 80m Hurdles (B Div) were wrongly recorded, Tiffany Bourne was the winner of this event.

Open Day OPEN DAY 2004 Friday 20 August 4.30-8.30pm

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