6 October 2022

St Peter's Anglican College Broulee celebrates 20 years since foundation

Start the conversation
school students in front of a sign

St Peter’s opening day, with just 41 students and five teachers. Photo: SPAC.

More proof that time flies, the Eurobodalla’s youngest school is celebrating twenty years since its foundation. Starting with a sandy bush block in Broulee on the corner of George Bass Drive and what was then a brand new extension of Train Street, St Peter’s Anglican College has grown into a college of more than 700 students, catering to students from prep to year 12.

An independent school, one of eight Anglican schools within the Canberra-Goulburn Diocese, the foundation stone for the new school was formally laid on 5 October 2002 by Bishop George Browning. The school welcomed its first students in January 2003 with two permanent buildings and one temporary administration building.

READ ALSO How a slow trip to the coast can help bushfire recovery

Foundation staff member and current senior school teacher, Mr John Fraser easily recalled his first memory of the college: “I was driving down George Bass Drive on a visit to the coast in 2001 and saw a sign on the road announcing the site of a new school.

”I had been teaching at Radford College in Canberra for 14 years and felt ready for change so I put my name down with Reverend David Hill in Moruya. I was really excited to be part of the foundation of a new school.”

school children

St Peter’s very first kindergarten and year one students with teacher Jane McCloskey. Photo: SPAC.

John said the first gathering of the staff for the brand new school was a barbecue at the home of foundation principal Mr Mal McCallum. “There were just five of us, Jane McCloskey, Joy Griffin, Martin Staker, plus Sharon Thornton and myself.

“Canberra author and media personality Michael Archinal was also there to talk to us about the significance of starting something new and the importance of creating strong bonds – this stayed with me throughout the early years,” John said.

“By the time we had an open day at school, the kindergarten building was almost finished but the second building, ‘A Block’, was still under construction. I remember looking at the shell of the building and being told, ‘This will be your class room, John’, it was surreal.

“The very first day was amazing, we had a whole school assembly, with just 41 students, in the carpark, everyone was on a high.

“I had come from teaching 220 kids in my classes at Radford to being responsible for the whole curriculum for just 12 students, team teaching with Sharon Thornton. It was like a small country school.

“When we went on excursions, the whole school went in one bus, the atmosphere was like a big family.”

As student numbers grew, more buildings were constructed and the college expanded. The initial year 7 cohort completed their HSC in 2008 and the foundation kindergarten students graduated in 2015.

John said, “Even after 20 years I am still excited for the future of this school. In some ways 20 years seems like a long time but it has gone quickly.

“People’s attitudes to jobs have changed over the years and many don’t have a lot of loyalty to workplace and community but I have stuck at it even through some hard times because this really is the dream school.

“There will always be ups and downs but we have great staff, the kids are good and when I go to events like our recent HSC music night and see the quality of the performances and it is standing room only, it reaffirms to me just how good it is.

“I have invested in this place, it has been hard work but I would not swap it, I feel lucky to be a part of this school from day one.”

READ ALSO End of an era as Anne’s at Moruya serves last customers

St Peter’s alumni Cody Winward, who joined the college as a year 7 student, clearly remembered the whole school assemblies in the carpark and has fond memories of the early years of the college.

“I had come from a much bigger school in the area, so St Peter’s really did feel like a small country school,” she said.

“It all felt so new, the classes were small, and the whole school community, students, staff and parents were really close-knit; it felt like a big family in the beginning.”

Cody now works in her dream job, in costume design, a passion she discovered while a student at the school.

“I felt so supported, the teachers went above and beyond and I was given so many opportunities to express my creativity,” Cody said.

“When I think about being one of the college’s early students it blows my mind. I knew we were creating history, and at the time, I thought to myself, ‘One day I will look back at this and know I was one of the first to attend a school’.”

The college has been busy contacting past students, familes and staff for an event on Saturday 8 October to celebrate the 20 years since foundation.

Current college principal Mr Darren McPartland said, “It will be an amazing community event, and our first real gathering of alumni. I know there are a lot of people looking forward to seeing old friends and colleagues from the past.

“Considering the school started as a bush block and an idea, I am pretty proud to see how we are going these days,” Mr McPartland said.

“I think back to those people who put the effort into the establishment of the college, we are now reaping the rewards of their vision and hard work.”

Twenty years on, the college is entering a new phase of its history. St Peter’s has recently secured funding for extensions and new buildings for the site including a gymnasium.

“I see the gym as a facility for the whole Broulee community, a community facility shared with the school. It is exciting for all of us, and I am looking forward to our shared future.”

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.