February 14, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I warmly welcome you all to a new school year at Camberwell Girls Grammar School – our Centenary year. There is certainly an excitement in the air as we can now enjoy the many celebrations that we have been planning for almost two years!

Whilst we are excited about this year, I also want to acknowledge that it has been difficult both in Australia and overseas over the last few months. The impact of the bushfires has been, and continues to be extensive on our communities and our wildlife. I know that many families and individuals have supported relief efforts and we are planning to continue this support as a school. 

The reality is that many communities may take years to recover and with this in mind we are gathering the ideas of our students and staff to prioritise some projects that may require our support over an extended period of time. It is important that we don’t forget the work that still needs to be done when these stories are no longer being reported. We will certainly keep you informed of how these plans progress.

In recent weeks the Novel Coronavirus has also become a part of our everyday discussions.  The global impact has been significant as we have seen the implications of this virus unfolding. I want to thank so many CGGS families for their support as we have managed, and continue to manage, the staggered start to the year for a number of our students. I am also very grateful to our teachers for their care and support through their regular communication to their students.

Whilst the commencement of each school year is always special, this year, and on the 11 February, our formal start was extra special because we marked the date that our school commenced as St Mark’s Church School in 1920. We started in St Mark’s church hall with eight students and one teacher, Miss Dorothy Collier. It was a great privilege to welcome Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria and her husband, Mr Anthony Howard AM QC as our special guests at our Centenary Commencement Ceremony.  Bishop Genieve Blackwell officiated and Murrundindi conducted a Welcome to Country. 

The Governor generously spoke to all groups in our community, starting of course with our students. She acknowledged the importance of our school in the community and the significance of reaching such a milestone in our history. The Governor highlighted our commitment to service through our school motto Utilis in Ministerium, encouraging girls to take this commitment into their lives beyond school. In educating our girls to respond to a changing world, the Governor acknowledged the complexity of the future of work and organisations. She also acknowledged the work of those who volunteered their services to the important role of governance and laying strong foundations for the benefit of future generations, just as our forebears did.

I would like to thank the numerous staff, both teachers and professional services staff who ensured our Centenary Commencement Ceremony, led by Revd Helen Creed and Mrs Kate Daffy was such a success. In addition, I am very grateful to all of the parents who were able to share this special event with us.

This year we have welcomed a number of new teachers with extensive experience and interests to CGGS:

Mr Micah Wilkins (Head of Digital Learning and Innovation)
Micah is a very experienced teacher, VCE Assessor and leader in the digital space. In this new leadership role he will work across Ormiston and Senior School. Micah joins us from MacRobertson Girls High School.

Ms Rachael Miller (Head of Art and Design)
Rachael is a very experienced teacher, VCE Assessor and department head in art and design. She joins us from Patterson River Secondary College.

Ms Melinda De Haan (Senior School Learning Enrichment Coordinator)
As an experienced English and Learning Enrichment teacher and coordinator, Melinda joins us from Oxley Christian College.

Ms Leanne O’Doherty (Science and Mathematics Teacher)
Leanne is a highly experienced Science, Biology and Chemistry teacher and former department head who worked with our girls in their VCE Enhancement Program in recent years. Leanne joins us from Balwyn High School.

Ms Nikki Fowkes (Art and Visual Communication and Design Teacher)
Nikki is a highly experienced Art and Visual Communication and Design teacher and former department head who joins us from Korowa Anglican Girls’ School.

Ms Sally Spencer (JS Library Teacher)
Sally joins us as an experienced teacher from Bulleen Heights Special School.

Mrs Michelle May (JS and SS Learning Enrichment Teacher)
Michelle is a highly experienced Learning Enrichment teacher and has been a casual replacement teacher at CGGS in recent years.

We were also delighted to welcome back from leave Revd Helen Creed, Mr Ian Lyell, Ms Eleanor Wood, Mrs Jane Bergamin, Ms Peipei Liu and Ms Jessica Huggett. I would like to welcome Miss Cassandra Semple, Miss Jacqueline Harrington and Mr Jordan Smith as our Deakin Associate Teachers for 2020.

In addition, we welcome a number of new staff to the reception locations in our school. Ms Cathy Horskins is the morning receptionist and Mrs Pauline Sistanis is the afternoon receptionist for the main Senior school reception. Ms Samantha Bullen covers the Student Services Coordinator role in Senior School.

Ms Angelina Rizzuto has commenced as Laboratory Technician and we welcome the following music tutors – Mr Jordan Keily (Percussion), Ms Heather Pisani (Flute), Mr Joel Sena (Clarinet and Saxophone) and Ms Emily Uhlrich (Voice).

I am also pleased to report that during the holidays we have completed the renovation of our Biology and Chemistry Laboratories and preparation rooms, refurbished the Administration Bathrooms, constructed new changerooms and offices in Senior School, completed extensive landscaping at Ormiston, painted the front gates and completed planned and preventative maintenance.

During the holidays we also installed 96 high efficiency solar panels at Junior School and the Early Learning Centre. In addition to this installation, preliminary works also commenced at Senior School for the installation of 272 high efficiency solar panels. We are expecting that the Senior School installation will be completed over the Term 1 holiday period. In working with our supplier, Gippsland Solar, we have been fortunate to procure 400w panels and it is predicted that the solar installation will reduce our C02 emissions by 4.05kilotonnes over a 25 year period. This is a very exciting project and has been very well received by our students.

In 2020 we give thanks to the Founders of our school who dreamt of a school, particularly for girls whose hearts, minds and spirits would be nurtured. A school based on enduring Christian values and a motto that articulates our commitment to service. Throughout the decades this vision has been realised by the members of Council, Life Governors, Principals, staff, students, parents and grammarians who have contributed to this community to build the school that we have today. 

What a great privilege it is to lead such a remarkable school.

With best wishes for the year ahead.

Debbie Dunwoody


Australian Government Collection Notice
We wish to inform all families that the Australian Government Department of Education and Training is conducting its annual collection of student residential addresses. The school is required to provide this information to the government to inform Commonwealth school education policy and funding.

Please be advised, that the school will provide student residential addresses to the Government, however names are not provided.

For full information related to this data collection, click the buttons below.