History

Beaconhills College opened in 1982 in Pakenham with just 34 students and now has a thriving community of around 3000 students across two campuses.

Our story

The idea of a local, independent, Christian school came from a group of parishioners at St John’s Anglican Church, Upper Beaconsfield in 1980. By March 1981 a steering committee was formed, with John McConchie appointed as Chairman.

The College officially opened in 1982 with just 34 students and five staff. Frank Millett was the founding Principal until 1988. John McConchie remained as Chairman of the College Board until 1986.

As the local community grew, so did we! By 1988 the College had 388 students and 30 teachers, blossoming to more than 1000 students a decade later. Little Beacons Learning Centre was established in 2007, moving onto the Pakenham Campus in 2013.

2003 marked the realisation of our vision to become a multicampus College, with the opening of Beaconhills in Berwick. By then we had 190 staff and 1636 students across both campuses. As the College’s international program flourished, in 2019 a modern new boarding residence next to the Pakenham Campus opened. Beaconhills is currently the only school in the Casey/Cardinia region offering boarding.

In 2020 a second Little Beacons Learning Centre opened on the Berwick Campus, making both campuses Early Learning to Year 12. Today the College has around 3000 students.

1980

1980

The Steering Committee

Pictured (l-r) Linda Weatherhead, Rev. Bruce Mackay, John McConchie, Rev. Roger Rich, Sue Bradley and Roy Walden. This group, including Carole Clark, met 50 times over 11 months during 1981-82.


1981

1981

The Foundation Principal Frank Millett

Foundation Principal Frank Millett addresses the future Beaconhills students at St. James Church in September 1981.


1982

1982

The College’s Opening Day

The College’s opening day on February 3. This is the official group photograph of the initial 34 students, taken by Ian Thomas of the Pakenham Gazette.


1984

1984

Our First Exchange Student

Ruiko Tanaka from Japan was the College’s first exchange student, the start of what would become a thriving and successful international program.


1985

1985

Our First Duke of Edinburgh Camp

Teacher Robert Leone introduced the Duke of Edinburgh scheme to Beaconhills and the program quickly expanded to many exciting destinations.


1989

1989

The New Headmaster Rick Tudor

Arriving with great enthusiasm and drive, Rick Tudor took up the Headmaster’s position in term 2, 1989.


1991

1991

Roofing for The Quad

A new roof across the quad between the Senior building and Room 8 made full College assemblies possible in all weather – albeit a bit breezy at times.


1994

1994

The Opening of the Pakenham Campus Junior School

This photo shows the official party at the opening of the Junior School in February 1994, attended by Archbishop Keith Rayner (pictured third from right).


1997

1997

Tony Sheumack, The New Headmaster.

Tony Sheumack, pictured (right) here with outgoing Headmaster Rick Tudor, joins the College from Girton Grammar in Bendigo.


1997

1997

A Technology Upgrade

They might look like dinosaurs now, but in 1997 the College took delivery of 15 'state of the art' original Apple computers


1997

1997

The Expansion of the Junior School

The College moved and restored old buildings from the Pakenham Consolidated School to the expanding Junior School. The process blocked the Princes Hwy for some hours on a Sunday morning.


1999

1999

A New Chapel

St Pauls chapel arrives from North Clyde, to be restored and used for House Chapel Services from term 2 in 2000.


2001

2001

A Second Campus at Berwick

The College purchases 16.45 acres of land to establish a second new campus at Berwick, originally called the Village Campus (later changed to Berwick Campus).


2002

2002

The Village Campus Takes Shape

Construction of the new Berwick Campus, which opened in 2003.


2005

2005

The Beaconhills Cadet Unit

The Beaconhills Cadet Unit, pictured here in 2005, became very popular and in 2006 expanded to include students from both campuses.


2009

2009

The Performing Arts Auditorium

The new Performing Arts Auditorium at the Pakenham Campus, named the Lois Maghanoy Centre for Performing Arts, provided professional standard facilities for performances. An adjoining administration centre was later added, which opened in 2011.


2013

2013

Global Beacons Centre Opens

The creation of a vibrant two-way hub for international students, the Global Beacons Centre, marked a new chapter in the College’s flourishing international program.


2014

2014

The First Reconciliation Breakfast

Pakenham Campus hosts the inaugural Reconciliation Breakfast, which was a great success. The College subsequently launched a far-reaching Reconciliation Action Plan, outlining its commitment to reconciliation.


2015

2015

Solar Power

Extensive solar power installations, part of wider environmental initiatives, are now across both campuses, making Beaconhills one of the largest solar-powered schools in Victoria.


2015

2015

Little Beacons at Pakenham Campus

A modern, new on-campus Little Beacons Learning Centre opens at Pakenham, having moved from its offsite location in nearby Toomuc Valley Rd.


2018

2018

A New Year 9 Centre

The old Year 9 Centre at Pakenham finally makes way for a magnificent new centre.


2020

2020

COVID-19 Arrives

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a new era of schooling, with the introduction of masks and temperature checks in 2020, along with periods of online learning as part of restrictions.


2020

2020

Little Beacons in Berwick

Little Beacons expands to the Berwick Campus, with a new centre, mirroring the centre at Pakenham, opening its doors at the start of 2020. Both campuses are now Early Years to Year 12.


2022

2022

New Executive Principal Stephen McGinley

In March 2022 the College officially welcomed New Executive Principal Stephen McGinley to the role, during his official commissioning service.


2022

2022

Beaconhills College's 40th Anniversary

Members of the College’s founding community – parents, staff and students – gather to celebrate.


2022

2022

40 Years and Four School Leaders

From left to right, new Executive Principal Stephen McGinley and previous headmasters Tony Sheumack, Rick Tudor and Frank Millett.


  • 1980
  • 1981
  • 1982
  • 1984
  • 1985
  • 1989
  • 1991
  • 1994
  • 1997
  • 1997
  • 1997
  • 1999
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2005
  • 2009
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2015
  • 2018
  • 2020
  • 2020
  • 2022
  • 2022
  • 2022

Eight Houses

Beaconhills has eight Houses named after patrons who played a significant role in the College’s history. The House system provides a strong structure for pastoral care, giving a sense of belonging and connection. And of course the spirit of House competition prevails in numerous events throughout the year, from swimming and athletics to debating, public speaking and performing arts festivals.

College motto

The College motto – Lux Luceat – meaning Let your light so shine was adopted when the College was formed, with the Latin version suggested by interim Principal Nigel Creese in 1989.

It’s an appropriate name for a school that has always endeavoured to be a beacon for its students and the wider community. Students have a broad range of opportunities to follow their interests – and help light the way for others.

Logo

In 1981, John McConchie presented his idea of a College logo in sketch form. It was developed into the official logo which was used until 2002, when the original concept of the beacon shining on a hill was kept, but modernised.