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Foundation Headmaster

In the 50th year of Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, we look to share historical stories from throughout the years that have been important in shaping the School to what it is today. Dr Eric Speed reminisces about this appointment as our Foundation Headmaster, and shares his experiences and the role he played in shaping the structures of our beloved School.

In 19711, I was employed by the Education Department of WA as a lecturer at the Teachers’ Further Education Centre. My assigned tasks included the editing of the existing correspondence course in Educational Administration, grading the assignments and lecturing senior teachers who had aspirations to be promoted to administrative positions.

It was at this time that a friend of mine suggested that I should apply for the recently advertised position for a Foundation Principal of a yet to be constructed Anglican Kindergarten to Year 12 co-educational day and boarding school in the Bunbury area. I submitted my application and out of a field of 28 applicants, I was offered the position.

I took up my appointment as Principal from August ’71 even though there were no completed buildings onsite, no scheme water and almost all of the 70 acres still covered with trees and bushes. My initial tasks were endless, with only one other person to help me. That person was June Reilly, the Foundation Bursar, who also acted as my Secretary. She was absolutely outstanding and I would not have survived without her help.

During the first few months, I visited almost every parent at their home and I also established a Parents’ and Friends’ Society with five sub-committees. These strategies provided parents with the opportunity to ask questions and to become involved in the development of a unique style of Independent School.

There is little doubt that my duties were varied in that it included me having to deal with architects, tradesmen, education department personnel, ordering equipment and stock, appointing non-teaching as well as teaching staff and etcetera. I also spent a lot of time in keeping Bishop Hawkins well informed about what I was either planning or doing. He, more than anyone else, deserves credit for the school even existing.

The fact that the school has a strong linkage to the Anglican church recognises the important role that it plays in nurturing the spiritual aspect of a well-balanced education.

I am proud to have been part of the School’s development.

Dr N. Eric Speed :: Foundation Head Master

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