Wesley College Melbourne Australia
Wesley College Melbourne

Principal's Lines

7 January 2019

Our College theme for 2019 is ‘change and continuity’, a fitting point of reflection as we prepare to welcome Wesley’s 17th Principal, Mr Nick Evans (OW1985), at the beginning of Term 3. Mr Evans is currently the Deputy Headmaster and Head of Senior School at Melbourne Grammar School, and previously held leadership positions at Wesley as Head of Middle School and Head of Senior School at the St Kilda Road Campus.

It is my great privilege to support the College as the Acting Principal and Head of Campus, Glen Waverley in Terms 1 and 2 of 2019.  Mr Evans will be the fifth Principal I have worked with in my time at Wesley, a period in which there has been significant change but also continuity across the College.

When I began teaching at Wesley there were approximately 850 students in grey day suits, accommodated at the St Kilda Road Campus, then known as Prahran. The students at Prahran at the time were all boys. I arrived at Wesley in 1981, about halfway through David Prest’s principalship and about four years into the incremental introduction of coeducation, which started in 1978 at the Glen Waverley Campus Prep School, now known as the Junior School.

During my time at Wesley, the pace of change has endured under each Principal’s leadership, with continual infrastructure growth at all sites and the expansion of our offerings as part of a true education.

Throughout this period of growth and change, the values of the College have remained steadfast. This continuity is expressed in the many practices and traditions that maintain and grow a set of shared experiences fit for our time and purpose.

Our strategic vision, encapsulated in Framing the Future of Wesley, outlines the desired attributes of a Wesley graduate. The boys of 1981 in their grey suits would recognise the values and the ethos of what is now a mature coeducational environment. They would endorse and live the values that underpin coeducation: respect for others, respectful relationships and respect for the diversity of our students and their talents. On the surface, the Wesley of 2019 may seem vastly different from the Wesley of 1981, but at its heart it remains true to our founding values, celebrating the many ways success can be achieved.

They say the only constant is change. Prof Wilfred Frederick penned the words to the ‘Song of Sport’ and established Wesley’s first outdoor education site, Chum Creek in 1953. Dr Tom Coates oversaw the purchase of the Glen Waverley site and the beginning of a new campus in the mid-1960s. David Prest introduced coeducation, which saw the doubling of the College and the expansion of outdoor education and the arts. Glen McArthur further enhanced the arts, particularly at the Elsternwick Campus, and introduced the Heads of Sport structure. David Loader established Wesley at Clunes, the residential setting that has been a life-changing experience for Year 9 students since 2000.

Dr Helen Drennen expanded the IB programmes across Wesley, oversaw the development of state-of-the-art facilities, including the Moubray Street Precinct and the reintroduction of boarding at Wesley. In partnership with the Bunuba people of the Fitzroy Valley in Western Australia, Helen created the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School that has gone from strength to strength in its eight years of operation.

Behind this change and growth are dedicated teaching and general staff, and supportive parent bodies that have turned the vision of our College Council and leadership team into a reality. The College is a dynamic and positive place to be, it looks to the future but always values its traditions and history. I am sure we will all take great interest in the next chapter of this great Australian school.

Richard Brenker

Acting Principal

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