From humble beginnings

11 March 2020
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It’s nearly 40 year ago since Beaconhills College opened its doors. What enormous change the College – and the local community – has witnessed over that time.

I recently had the pleasure of hosting a tour of Pakenham Campus with some of the College founders, including foundation Principal Frank Millett and his wife Joy (also a former staff member).

We hosted four of the five original staff members and six foundation parents, all who played a significant role in those early years. It was fascinating to hear of some of the struggles and sacrifices these pioneers endured to start a new Christian school in Pakenham – without the broader community support or government funding.

  • Barb Birch ran a tuckshop at lunchtime once a week for the first few years. Derek Birch looked after maintenance issues from home and at school. Their son Peter took broken furniture home on the bus
  • Lynne Tivendale established the uniform shop and ran it as a volunteer with Joel Hosking from 1981 till 1995. Her husband Malcolm built most of our outdoor equipment and seating
  • Joy Allan oversaw planting and gardens and led the parent working bees
  • Ros Robinson took on all sewing tasks, making the original banner and flag as well as classroom furnishings
  • Bill Duncan, with wife Chris, ran most Physical Education and sports events for the students in the first two years. Colin Burns, a current staff member, was the first PE teacher appointed in 1984.

Frank Millett envisaged that Beaconhills would be a “small school”. He regards our development and expansion as nothing short of remarkable. From a block of land bought with a “$50 deposit and a promise to pay the rest later”, it is indeed an incredible success story.

  • Yesterday, Frank and Joy returned to meet Millett House staff and students. Frank Millett was also made life member of the Beaconhills College Board, the fourteenth person to earn that acknowledgement.

Frank Millett shaking hands with College Deputy Headmaster, Stephen McGinley.

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