Principal's update Term 4 Week 9

Thursday, 07 Dec 2023
Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let your joy overflow! And let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near. Don't be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. 
— Philippians 4:4-7

As we approach the end of another remarkable school year, we are filled with immense pride and gratitude for the incredible journey we've shared. This year has been particularly exciting as we have celebrated our 30th Anniversary. This milestone anniversary has been a time of reflection, celebration, and renewed commitment to the values that have made our college a cherished community for generations.

School Improvement Goals: A Resounding Success

This year, we are thrilled to announce that we have completed 195 of our school improvement goals. These objectives were crafted with the intention of providing the best possible learning environment for your children, and it is with great pride that we can say we've made significant strides toward enhancing the overall educational experience at BDC.

Link to SIP2023:

From innovative teaching methods to the introduction of cutting-edge technology, we remain committed to fostering an environment where every student can thrive and reach their full potential.


As we bid farewell to this final week of the school year, we find ourselves reflecting on the outstanding achievements and memorable moments that have unfolded during our signature events. It is with great joy and gratitude that we extend our heartfelt congratulations and appreciation to everyone involved.

Secondary Presentation Ceremony

A special thank you to Mr Doyle, our dedicated secondary teachers and to the admin hub staff. Your commitment and tireless efforts have not only enriched the lives of our students but have also made the Secondary Presentation Ceremony a truly remarkable event.

Primary Presentation Ceremony

To our exceptional primary school teachers and specialists, your unwavering dedication is truly commendable. We extend our deepest gratitude for your commitment to nurturing our young minds. A sincere thank you to the students for their hard work, turning the Primary Presentation Ceremony into a celebration of accomplishments and growth. A special thank you to Mr Smith and to the admin hub staff.

Congratulations to our award recipients. 

2023 Principal and Scholar List

2023 Secondary Award Recipients  

2023 Secondary Effort Awards

2023 World Option Commendation Awards Recipients

Year 6 Graduation

Congratulations to the Year 6 graduating class of 2023! Your active participation in the Graduation Service and the Graduation Dinner marks a significant milestone as you transition from primary to secondary years. These rites of passage events hold a special place in your journey, and we applaud your achievements with pride. Thank you to Mr McNeil and our Year 6 teaching team.

Christmas Service and Carols

A warm and sincere thank you to Reverend Lisa and all the talented performers who contributed to the Christmas Service and Carols event. Your efforts have brought joy and festive spirit to our BDC community, making this time of the year truly special.

To all the students, teachers, staff, and parents who played a role in making these events successful, your collective efforts have not gone unnoticed. Your passion, dedication, and hard work have created lasting memories for our community.

A special welcome to Reverend Lisa Williamson who was officially installed as the Chaplain of Bishop Druitt College by Grafton Archdeacon The Venerable Tiffany Sparks representing The Right Reverend Dr Murray Harvey, the Bishop of Grafton. Reverend Lisa has already made a positive impact on our community working with families and supporting the faith formation of our community.

Cambodian Service Learning Tour

I would also like to wish our Cambodian Service Learning Tour group well. They departed on Wednesday afternoon for a 15-day experience. The students will spend time in Phnom Penh (Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Killing Fields, Mekong River cruise and some markets and temples), Saen Monourom (Conservation park with rainforests, waterfalls and elephant sanctuary), Ban Lung (in our sister school Krou Yeung), Siem Reap (Angkor Temples and service groups). This year we have 21 students on this adventure and we wish them well.

30th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women in the Diocese of Grafton

On Saturday I had the honour of representing our BDC community at the 30th Anniversary of the ordination of Sister Linda Mary and Rev Jan McLeod at the Cathedral in Grafton. This significant event seems strange noting that in 2023 half of the ordained clergy are women but 30 years ago that was simply not the case. I wished to write something to reflect the bravery and vision of the Diocese at the time and in subsequent years but Rev Gail Hagon wrote an inspirational sermon and I’ve asked permission to publish it here.

Celebration and Challenge

Exodus 3:1-6
Ephesians 4: 1-7 and 11-17
John 15: 4-17

We gather and listen in the name of the God who creates, redeems and sanctifies all things. Amen.

So let's celebrate — after all there’s no doubt that celebrations are good for us, they help us to reconnect, to reminisce, to laugh and to honour, all essential elements for motivation as we prepare for what comes next — and there is always a next - for we are called to be a pilgrim people. Like Jesus we belong on the road, always listening and always moving towards where God calls us to be. In his book, “A long walk to freedom” Nelson Mandela writes: “remember to celebrate the milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” What a great quote for us to embrace today.

Today we gather to remember and honour all those who challenged the Church in numerous ways to affirm the priestly vocation of women. We gather to celebrate that 30 years ago two females and three males were ‘shepherded’ here under police escort, not because they were delinquents, but because Bishop Bruce wanted to ensure that these people could stand together, on this holy ground, unhindered, and say: “Here I am.” For Sister Linda Mary and Rev Jan McLeod this meant they could step out of a place of exile, and take their place alongside others who had been called to priestly ministry, and to hear the Church declare them to be “fit for the office of Priest.’ Alleluia! This was a significant moment in time, and so our celebration today honours you both and your journey.

Since then some 30 women have been priested in our diocese, and if you haven’t listened to the series of podcasts that have been released recalling some of these women’s journeys to ordination and beyond, do yourself a favour and listen to them, for they remind us of how costly this journey was for some, and from where their support came. They also remind us of the diversity, the uniqueness, and the giftedness that women priests bring to the table, in fact half of our stipended clergy today are women, and 10 years ago now, Bishop Sarah MacNeil was consecrated as the 11" Bishop of Grafton, elected because we, the people of God, sensed her calling, and recognised the gifts that she offered were gifts that could empower us to move into something new together. Make no mistake, we women may approach things differently from our male counterparts, use different language and offer a different perspective at times, but all that does is show that gender diversity, along with other kinds of diversity, significantly improves us as a whole. It builds up the Body of Christ. Desmond Tutu stated: “Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realise our need of one another.” And we certainly need one another to be whole, and that too is worth celebrating. Over the last 30 years women priests have become part of everyday life, ministering with others, in a variety of ways, each offering their giftedness for the benefit of the whole. We are thankful that our callings have been recognised & affirmed, and that we are enabled to go and bear much fruit.

It is true that there is still much to attend to on this journey but for now let us give thanks that we are part of the worldwide Anglican Communion that has affirmed that God calls women to priestly ministry. Let us celebrate this with thankful hearts, remembering that the Spirit of God calls us all to work together in unity, with respect and humility, not with mere acceptance or tolerance, but with wholehearted delight, rejoicing in whom the Spirit of God calls.

As mentioned, celebrations are good for us, they contain elements that can motivate us for the “what next” ... and that’s part of our challenge today; discerning together where the Spirit of God is leading us now. The Anglican Church as I know it has never been one for resting on its laurels but has in fact acted on its convictions, admittedly sometimes a little slower than some of us would’ve like but we have acted. As a Church we have also found a prophetic voice on numerous issues. These facts, and others, make me wonder what the Spirit might stir up in us as the Church compelling us into action?

As someone who grew up in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Africa I was very aware of apartheid, and of the discrimination that existed between white males, and their female counterparts. I was also aware of those who had, and those who did not, those who were in and those who were not. I was also conscious that language was used to oppress, to silence and to marginalise people, and so when I see these issues becoming more prevalent again worldwide, and in the Church, it stirs something up inside of me that compels me to speak. Currently, conservatism and discrimination are on the increase, whether that be racial, sexual or cultural discrimination. We are also becoming more precious about our particular slant, as opposed to celebrating our diversity. We have become good in declaring who is in and who is out, without much grace in many situations. There is an emerging “push back” to the decision of ordaining women in some places, and in some places this right is still denied. Misogyny and patriarchy still exist, and our patterns of language still need attention. If we as the Church fail to address these issues or become complacent about them, then how can we speak to the world about Gospel imperatives with integrity and authenticity. How can we say that we are honouring our calling of being God’s people in the world, and giving voice to the things that are not of God? These are my burning issues, I wonder what they might be for you as you discern how to be God’s person in the world.

History confirms for us, that whatever issue we collectively discern to address as the Church, it will undoubtedly ruffle some feathers but I guess that’s far better than being burnt at the stake. We also know that the idea of challenge and change can make people dig their toes in standing fast to maintain the status quo. And yet our sacred stories remind us that if we are serious about transformation then we need to let go of old certainties and allow God to be God as we travel on the road ahead.

So how can we celebrate this milestone today knowing that the “what next” for us will undoubtedly be unsettling for some, cause conflict for others, and perhaps even threaten our unity? Well our reading from Ephesians offers us these words: I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility, gentleness, patience, and to bear with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit. (Ephesians 4:1-3). Our calling as people of God is to live as God’s people in the world, being agents of the things of God, and to do so in ways that bear witness to the Spirit of God in our lives. In these words there is no hate speech, no triumphalism, no oppression, or discrimination. There is no use of a language that marginalises or silences. Rather they speak of being loyal to the one who calls us. The writer of Ephesians also reminds us of the need to affirm one another’s giftedness and it speaks to us of unity in diversity, that’s the idea that we achieve unity, not by diminishing or dismissing diversity, but by embracing it and in doing so strengthening ourselves as a body. I believe that these words could serve us well as we discern where the journey ahead is leading us as Church?

As priests, we have indeed been called to use our prophetic voice to remind the community of faith of our true calling and purpose, to remind us of to whom we belong to and how we are called to live. We have also been called to be that prophetic voice naming the injustices that exist, the discrimination that occurs, language that oppresses and we are called to be prepared to lead the community of faith into action. But relax, because thankfully the ordained are not called to do this alone! By virtue of our baptism each of us here have been called to live as a disciple of Christ, and speak up for what we know in our hearts to be right. As such it is our collective calling to be God’s people in the world and offer God’s response to the concerns in the world.

Being worthy of this calling will require us all to constantly dwell, to deeply abide in Christ, and allow the Christ to abide in us. For us to truly discern the road ahead we will all need to be grounded in God, listening deeply to God and to one another. For this is where our stability will come from.

And finally let us not forget the stories of our forebears, those who have gone before us as pilgrims on this journey. Those folk who sought God’s truth, and God’s wisdom in addressing the issues that faced them. Those folk, who once convicted had such a fire in their bellies, that they used their voices and their gifts to challenge the Church in response. I trust that we might have the courage of our forebears to tell our truth(s), to sing our song, and to dance with the Spirit on the road ahead, and of course I hope we will carry a bottle of champagne with us so that we can celebrate the milestones on the way!


Berenson, J.K (2010). “The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians,” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Michael D. Coogan.New York. Oxford University Press.
Chittister, J. (2019) Time is now: A call to uncommon courage. New York: Convergent Books.
Sydney Peace Foundation (2017) 11 pieces of wisdom from 1999 laureate Desmond Tutu to inspire change makers in 2017, Sydney Peace Foundation. Available at: https://sydneypeacefoundation.... (Accessed: 03 December 2023).
Ward, R.F. (2009) “Ephesians 4:1-16 — Homiletical Perspective,” in Feasting on the Word, Year B, Vol. 3, edited by David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.
Wyk, C.V., Wyk, C.V. and Bouma, P. (2009) Nelson Mandela: Long walk to freedom. New York: Roaring Brook Press.

This sermon was written and read by Archdeacon Emeritus Gail Hagon on Saturday 2 December at the Cathedral in Grafton - 30th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women in the Diocese of Grafton.

The podcast that is referred to in the sermon can be sourced from the following website:

2025 Scholarships

Applications for Academic Scholarships commencing in 2025 are now open and will close at midnight on Sunday 4 February 2024. The scholarships are awarded on the basis of a competitive examination conducted by ACER. Testing will be held at BDC on Saturday 24 February 2024. Scholarships are awarded by the Principal. You can read more about the academic scholarships here:

Application for Scholarships with a Special Focus commencing in 2025 will open early in Term 1 2024 and will close at COB on Thursday 28 April 2024. Applications will be reviewed by the Principal in Term 2 2024 and scholarships will be offered to successful candidates thereafter. You can read more about these scholarships here:

School photos

20% Discount on Sports & Co-Curricular Group Photos available until 5/12/2023.

Return to School in 2024

The school office opens on Monday 15 January.

The following year groups commence back to school on Tuesday 30 January 2024: Years K-7, Year 10 Mentors and Year 12.

Years 8-11 commence back to school on Wednesday 31 January 2024.

Wishing You a Joyous Christmas Season

As we bid farewell to 2023, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your continued support. The holiday season is a time for joy, reflection, and spending precious moments with loved ones. From our BDC family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Christmas season filled with warmth, laughter, and the joy of creating lasting memories.

May the holiday break bring you the opportunity to recharge and connect with those you hold dear. We look forward to welcoming everyone back in the new year, ready to embark on the next chapter of our school's incredible journey.

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Warm regards,
Nick Johnstone