Beaconhills College 1990-1994
Cathy Smith nee-Howell began her teaching career when she came to Beaconhills College in 1990. During her five years at the College, she was responsible for developing a very high standard of performance in the performing arts, especially in drama, dance and productions. Between 1990 and 1994, Cathy was responsible for three outstanding Rock Eisteddfod productions and two highly successful musicals.
The three Rock Eisteddfod productions were ‘The Fall of the Berlin Wall’ (1990), ‘Media Manipulation’ (1991) and ‘Bushfire’ (1993). These productions culminated in the College’s best-ever result in this competition, a 5th place in the Premier Division in 1993.
The two musicals were ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1992) and ‘Barnum’ (1994). Cathy produced these outstanding shows at a time when the College had limited performing arts facilities.
Cathy was also responsible for the establishment in 1990 of the House Drama Festival and the College’s first participation in the Globe Theatre Festival and Theatresports competitions.
Cathy left an indelible mark on the College’s Performing Arts program as a result of her commitment, enthusiasm, energy and professional demands and her ability to organize and enthuse a broad team of participants and helpers, including students, staff and parents. Her achievements laid the foundation for the College’s ongoing success and high reputation in Rock Eisteddfods and musicals ever since.
Beaconhills College 1985-2008
Ted Fankhauser worked at Beaconhills College for 24 years as the College’s Business and Finance Manager, however, his involvement with the College went back to its earliest days when he enrolled his children in 1981 to attend the new and untested school.
As a consequence, Ted participated in the early working bees, including the painting of the original building; he was present on the College’s opening day on February 3, 1982; and he joined the College Board soon after, assisting the Chairman John McConchie with the College accounts on a voluntary basis until his appointment in 1985 as the Bursar.
Ted has thus been a very important contributor to and participant in the College’s development and growth since it opened in 1982, and his position as a Board member from 1982 to 1985 and then as Board Secretary from 1985 to 2008 gave him an unusually intimate insight into and knowledge of the College’s first 25 years.
For a number of years, Ted was very involved with the Sailing program on weekends and during Camps Week and he continued to be actively involved in weekend working bees.
Ted’s long experience, insights and knowledge of the College ensured that he was in a position to offer wise advice to all Beaconhills Headmasters and help direct the College’s steady growth and development, especially during the challenging pioneer years. Ted will be long remembered at Beaconhills for his unstinting service to the College over its first 28 years.
Beaconhills College 1985-2003
During his time at Beaconhills College, which grew from 270 students in 1985 to a multi-campus College with 1638 students in 2003, Garry Black held many significant positions of responsibility and played a key role in the development of the College.
Garry was initially the Geography and Year 10 Co-ordinator from 1987 to 1989. In 1990, when the College moved to the full House system, he took on the dual role of the foundation Head of Millett House (1990-1991) and Senior Master (1990-1995). In this latter role, in conjunction with Jill Wilson as Senior Mistress, he oversaw the House system, especially the pastoral care role of the Heads of House. In 1992 he also became responsible for the new Special Programs unit which was established to assist students who had a variety of learning difficulties, a precursor to the Beacon Centre.
In 1996, Garry was appointed Head of the newly-created Year 9 Centre, using the year to prepare the launch of this very innovative program. When the Year 9 Centre opened in 1997, it was the first on-campus Year 9 Centre in Victoria. During the next seven years, until 2003, Garry was totally dedicated to the development and refinement of this exciting venture, culminating in numerous awards for its ground-breaking projects.
During his 18 years at Beaconhills, Garry typified the dedication to and care for the College’s students that increasingly attracted parents to enroll their children at the College. In particular, Garry encouraged all students, whatever their ability, to overcome obstacles and achieve their personal best.
Beaconhills College 1988-1997
Michael Lawrence worked at Beaconhills as a P.E. teacher for ten years from 1988 until 1997. For eight of those years, he was also the Sports Co-ordinator and, during that time, he established the College as a sporting power in both GIS and SIS competitions. In fact, over the ten year period, the College won over 150 team pennants as GIS or SIS champions as well as 18 major SIS or GIS sporting carnivals, five of which were achieved in full-strength competitions.
Michael himself was a very dedicated and successful sportsman, representing Frankston in VFL football as well as Hawthorn U19s, running five Melbourne marathons and competing in many triathlons over seven years, eventually winning his way to compete in the world-famous Hawaiian Ironman triathlon in 1996, which he completed in a time of10 h 25m.
As a result of his own dedication and success, Michael was able to encourage a broad range of athletes at Beaconhills to join his various training groups and dramatically improve their performances. Perhaps the best indication of this achievement came in the strong SIS Athletics competition where the College perennially finished 8th, including in 1991, before improving to 5th in 1992, 2nd in 1993 and finally claiming the prize three times in 1994, 1995 and 1996.
Michael was also the foundation Head of Leaver House from 1990 to 1991 and, as in his work with the College’s athletes, he was able to inspire and encourage all students he came into contact with during his time at Beaconhills to new levels of achievement.
Beaconhills College 1986-1997
Mike Brewin started his career at Beaconhills College in 1986 when he took up the position of Director of Studies. With his strong background in Economics and Legal Studies with VISE (VCAA), the Principal Frank Millett appointed Mike as Assistant Principal in charge of Curriculum. Mike held this position (later known as Deputy-Headmaster/Curriculum) for the next 12 years until he left Beaconhills at the end of 1997 to take up a position as Headmaster of Newhaven College on Phillip Island.
During this period as the College’s longest-serving Head of Curriculum, Mike oversaw the first Year 12/HSC classes at the College, beginning in 1986 and led the College through the major changes from the HSC to the VCE system in the years 1990-1992. During his time at the College, Mike ensured that Beaconhills offered a broad range of VCE subjects for students as well as a clear pathway of curriculum development from Years 7 to 12.
Mike was also an outstanding teacher in the Business Studies faculty and he is fondly remembered by students and staff for the authority, experience and ‘gravitas’ he brought to a very young school.
Mike Brewin is remembered within the Beaconhills community today for his major role in ensuring a very young school built strong curriculum and academic foundations for its future.
Beaconhills College 1991-1999
Howard Brown joined Beaconhills College in 1991 as the first fulltime Deputy-Headmaster of the College. In this role, from 1991 to 1999, he oversaw daily organisational matters, the timetable, assemblies, examinations, classroom facilities and a wide range of annual events including photographs, Presentation Nights and Year 12 functions.
Howard was also a highly-regarded teacher of History and Geography and took a keen interest in the promotion of these subjects. He was responsible for the preparation of a wide range of teaching resources for all Victorian schools, especially in Geography, and he later served for a number of years as the Head of the GTAV. Past students fondly remember Howard for his passion and creative strategies as a classroom teacher.
Howard is particularly remembered for bringing to the College a great ‘sense of occasion’ in his role as Master of Ceremonies at many College functions, including Year 12 Society Dinners, Anzac Day services and Debutante Balls.
Howard Brown made an enduring impact on the life of a young school which expanded rapidly during his time as the Deputy-Headmaster, especially upon the lives of the many Beaconhills students who still remember him for his humour, wit, wisdom and compassion.
Beaconhills College 1987-2006
Lesley Thomas joined Beaconhills College in 1987 as a Laboratory Technician and Library Assistant. She continued to work as the Laboratory Assistant in the Science Faculty until her retirement in 2006. During these years, she saw the school grow from a student population of 270 with two Science rooms to its current status with many classroom laboratories and large preparation rooms at both campuses – Lesley, in fact, contributed to the design of both Science facilities at the two campuses.
Lesley also became very involved in Occupational Health and Safety at the College in 1995 being elected as the first staff representative, a role which she held at the Pakenham Campus until her retirement. She also acted as the OH & S co-ordinator across the two campuses from 2003.
Lesley’s involvement at the College has also included her role as a parent, with daughters Alison and Catherine completing their education at Beaconhills. In 1994, she was one of the first staff to support CO-ID and our schools in Bangladesh and has been a sponsor of children since then. She has also been a blood donor since 1997 when Red Cross visits to the College commenced.
Lesley Thomas is remembered as a highly committed member of staff for 20 years who unstintingly and enthusiastically supported fellow staff and the College programs in many ways, both through her formal positions and through her desire to be a member of a caring and dedicated school.
Beaconhills College 1982-1997
David Curtis was a foundation staff member of Beaconhills College in 1982. He was appointed to teach the English and Languages classes, including French and Latin – he continued to coordinate the French program until 1992. His skills as a church organist were invaluable in the early years at assemblies, church services and Speech Nights.
In 1990 David was appointed as the foundation Head of McConchie House, a position he held for two years. David was one of the key College staff leaders in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, which began in 1984, leading many expeditions to the Victorian High Country, Tasmania and the Snowy Mountains. In his final year at the College, he initiated the outdoor education program in the new Year 9 Centre.
David contributed greatly to the establishment of the raw and untested school with his strong background in a wide range of areas, including the classics, bushwalking, formal learning situations, school ceremonies and church worship.
Beaconhills College 1982-1994
Dot Wiltshire was a foundation staff member of Beaconhills College in 1982. Dot was appointed by Frank Millett to teach the History and Art and continued to teach these subjects until her retirement in 1994. Dot was always a creative teacher and is well-remembered for her annual Year 7 ‘Egyptian Days’ which featured the costumes and food of ancient Egypt.
In 1983, Dot was appointed as the Year 7 Co-ordinator and Transition Co-ordinator, taking on the role of the College ‘mother’ for each group of new students who entered Beaconhills. As part of this work, she introduced the ‘Peer Support Scheme’ to encourage the older students to care for the new Year 7 students.
Dot’s passion and commitment to Beaconhills played a very significant role in the College’s growing positive reputation in the community through the early years. She has continued to keep in close touch with many of the College’s pioneer students and families.
Beaconhills College 1982-1989
Joy Millett was a foundation staff member of Beaconhills College in 1982. Whilst appointed on a half-time basis, she in fact worked for the College full-time from well before the College’s official opening through the first year. For the first two years she combined the roles of office and Principal’s secretary, school nurse, co-ordinator of the parent volunteer scheme and College Librarian. Once a secretary was appointed in 1984, Joy was able to work as the College’s first full-time Teacher-Librarian until she departed in 1989 to move to Kormilda College in Darwin with Frank. This required Joy to undertake further studies to qualify for the position, a course which led to a lifetime of formal learning, including indigenous languages.
Joy’s most lasting contribution to Beaconhills came in 1986 with the construction of a College Library, a building which she helped to design.