Home' Independence : Independence Vol 40 No 1 May 2015 Contents 16 INDEPENDENCE VOL 40 NO 1 MAY 2015
with Hume City Council delaying
and appeals to VCAT unsuccessful in
moving planning decisions forward,
we successfully prevailed upon the
Victorian Minister for Planning to
intervene. We finally settled the
purchase of Mount Ridley the day on
which the contract of sale was to lapse.
Construction began in September 2010.
There was optimism that the School
would open for 2011 at Mount Ridley,
but God had other ideas! Late in 2010,
the onset of La Niña mercifully broke a
10-year drought in the region but also
interrupted construction. Yet at Christmas
there was still a chance that we would
open at Mount Ridley for the new year,
and we packed up and moved out of
Sunbury. Then came the wettest January
on record, so back to Sunbury for Term
1, along with now nearly 500 students
and staff, all again ‘on the buses’.
As ever, we looked at problems as
challenges rather than threats, affirming
our mantra, ‘There will be a solution’.
We moved finally to Mount Ridley after
Easter 2011. By the end of 2012, we had
been on the magnificent site overlooking
our community for just four terms,
having converted a farm, horse stud
and a building site to a vibrant learning
community. What a journey! We had
picked up rocks. We had chased the mice
away. We frightened off the possums.
We planted lawns and trees and mowed,
mowed, mowed. New buildings from KL
Modular Systems arrived each summer to
accommodate measured growth. We built
our main oval based on the fill from local
road infrastructure works at the end of
2012. We scraped mud off everything. But
we were also settled and focused on the
learning journey of each child.
The first Year 12 class graduated
in 2012. By 2015, planned growth
brought the School’s enrolment to
850 students from Prep to Year 12.
Under the leadership of Board Chair,
Richard St John and Principal, Bill
Sweeney, the School is on track to grow
to a community of 1200 students.
As Australia’s school-aged
population booms and growth
corridors around metropolitan and
regional centres proliferate, great
opportunities exist for the birthing
of new independent, Catholic
systemic and government schools.
Governance, management, financial,
enrolment, curriculum, pastoral,
personnel, planning, legal, industrial,
construction and compliance demands
render the process of birthing a new
school or campus a great challenge. Our
experience at Hume Anglican Grammar
School shows that the challenge can
be met if development is driven by
principles that are adhered to and
guarded carefully by the Board, the
Principal and the school community
as gatekeepers of the vision.
Our vision at Hume Anglican
Hume Anglican Grammar is an open
learning community which is founded
on Christian principles and which
works in partnership with home,
church and community. Students are
inspired to discover and develop their
God-given talents, gifts, abilities and
character for a life of service to the
community in contemporary society.
Some of the principles guiding our
· Develop and own the vision,
which is a constant reminder and
encouragement of what the School
· If there is a parent governing authority,
the Board must be singing from the
same hymn book.
· Find the property in a location that
suits all, including the financiers
and the developers, and have a
business plan that encompasses
reasonable set up costs, with
contingencies well covered.
· To deal with local Council, VCAT,
public meetings, planning authorities
and local opposition, door knocking,
personal contact and engagement
with Council members and officers
and members of the local community
are essential. Most objectors caught
our vision, and some even ended by
enrolling their children in the School.
· Be prepared to make personal pleas to
members of parliament. We had huge
involvement of the legal profession in
the planning process, briefed by the
Diocese and the ADSC, but in the end
the Minister for Planning intervened
and gave approval for the project only
because we convinced other MPs to
add to our advocacy effort.
· Provide constant encouragement and
support to staff. Our staff had to move
the School from Dorchester Street
to Sunbury, then prepared twice for
uplift from Sunbury to Mount Ridley.
HUME Anglican Grammar ’s School Captains,
2012, at the School’s permanent site at Mount
Ridley Homestead in Mickleham, Victoria.
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