Bishop Druitt College - The Primary School

Thursday, 10 Nov 2022

Late 1993 saw the appointment of the inaugural Principal Mr Victor Branson. Head of History, Trinity Grammar School, Sydney who set about interviewing teachers ready for a February opening the following year. Out of 200 applicants, an experienced teacher Michael Edwards was appointed to coordinate the Primary School and teach Years 5/6. Two first-year-out teachers were selected; initially, Elizabeth Holland who taught Kinder & Year 1 and Naomi Lunn taught 2/3/4. Naomi wrote the College Prayer. As the enrolments grew, Sue Hogbin was employed from the beginning of Term 2 as an extra teacher and the classes were reshuffled. Elizabeth then taught Kindergarten, Naomi taught Years 1 and 2, Sue taught Years 3 and 4, Mike continued with Years 5 and 6. Linda Morgan was a relief teacher employed mid-year to teach remedial reading, Library and GATS with Sonja Sommer teaching languages. Sue left at the end of 1994 and Linda was appointed full-time and taught Year 2 in 1995.

In January 1994, enrolments ran to 37. At that time no Independent school could qualify for government funding if the enrolment did not reach 50 by census day (in August). Between the 9th of January and the beginning of the term, one of the teachers along with secretary Lyn Mercer helped put in place the programs, resources and policies necessary for the reception of the students. Stuart McIntyre was appointed groundsman and many of the trees and all of the shrubs were planted by “Mr Mac”. Len Tyzack was appointed Bursar and Debbie Smith was head cleaner.

As Mr Branson said, “To my surprise new enrolments began to emerge. By the first day the numbers had grown to 57. God be praised. On the first day we organized a welcome for all the wide-eyed children. We had an opening ceremony using as the text Jesus' words: "suffer the little children to come to me". We planted trees, one for every child.

At that time we were offered the opportunity to start an after-school care program for which I employed a wonderful young graduate teacher Sharon Habgood. New children were arriving by the day and continued to flow until by late July we had 100. Halfway through the year we created a new class and also appointed Linda Morgan to the staff.

A highlight of the year was the Foundation Day when the school was officially opened by Les Murray Australia's greatest poet, who reflected on the power of education for creating a future for children. That evening at the first Foundation Day Dinner, Les read some poems and entertained the crowd with his wit and wisdom. Another tradition was started with the Arts Festival run by Margaret Ackland who believed that the children needed an opportunity to display their talents” and Margaret was the first editor of the school magazine, “Etcetera”.

Next: The commencement of the Secondary School.

Inaugural Principal Mr Victor Branson