On Friday 26 April, we held an Official Opening for our Braemar College Woodend Campus. This Campus is the culmination of over 20 years of strategic planning. We structured the Official Opening to be held throughout the day as three separate ceremonies, creating the opportunity for all members of our internal and external Braemar Community to be involved.
The day began with invited guests being welcomed to the site by our student leaders for an official ceremony including addresses from the Head of Middle School, the College Principal, the Chairman of the Board, and our College Captains. The ceremony included the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by two student representatives; our youngest current Collegian, Oliver Lockens, and our older current Colegian, Darcy Twining. Many members of our College Community, including our first College Headmaster and his wife, past members of the College Leadership Team, local members of council and parliament, and representatives from the teams that were involved in the physical development of the Campus, were in attendance. Following the ceremony, guests were invited to take a tour of the campus, led through our contemporary learning and teaching spaces by Middle School student leaders.
Following the official ceremony, our entire student cohort (Middle School and Senior School) arrived at the Woodend Campus for a student-centric service. Aunty Vikki and Aunty Marilyn, Indigenous custodians of the Dja Dja Wurrang, welcomed the students and staff and blessed the new site with a smoking ceremony. Every single College student and staff member passed through the smoke as part of the ceremony. Aunty spoke of the significance of the land, water, and sky. A small rain shower passed over during the smoking ceremony, but it failed to dampen spirits as we celebrated our new Campus. Following the shower, a spectacular, full rainbow appeared over the property; Aunty shared that this was a “sign of positive energy and good luck”.
The staff and student cohort then shared a sausage sizzle lunch before the students participated in an activity that saw them standing in formation to create the word ‘BRAEMAR’ across the oval. The collaboration and celebration was captured by impressive drone footage that will be shared at formal College events later this year.
After the staff and students had departed home, the final stage of the Official Opening took place, with the Campus opened to the local community. This open afternoon provided the opportunity for those who had watched over the years as the dreams became plans, and the plans become action, to see the contemporary, architecturally-designed new home for Braemar’s Middle School. Over 100 visitors from surrounding towns (including some Old Collegians) attended throughout the afternoon and were led on tours by staff and student leaders.
We are very proud of our new Campus, with its exterior form and roofline modelled to match the form of the iconic Hanging Rock and Mount Macedon skyline that make up our home surrounds. The College motto is ‘many parts, one body’; that motto is now embodied in a multi-campus College, as we say ‘Two Schools, One College’. This motto of unity and belonging is a big part of the experience of those who attend, work at, or are in some other way part of the community at Braemar College. The structure of the Official Opening was specifically designed to reflect these many parts and to provide an opportunity for all to join in the celebrations and recognition of a new stage in the history of Braemar College.