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The 1980s – Building for Growth

In 2022 the School celebrated its 50 Year Anniversary. Opening on 8 February 1972, the School has imbedded itself in the community of Bunbury and the wider South West. As part of the Anniversary, the School worked with author Richard Offen, to publish The School in the Bush: A history of Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School 1972-2022.

The book includes many images and stories of students, parents and community members, who were all contributed to the growth of the School in the last 50 Years. While it is not a detailed history of all that occurred, it celebrates the achievements and milestones of our School from 1972.

This year, the Classes of 1982 and 1983 will mark 40 or 41 years since they have graduated. The below is an excerpt from Chapter 3 Building for Growth, which looks at the changes in the 80s.

‘With a significant rise in student numbers expected during the first few years of the 1980s, more buildings were required, so a further major fundraising campaign was launched under the leadership of Val Lishman and Mike Gollan. The plans was to build a house for the Headmaster, a further Housemaster’s residence, plus additional classrooms, laboratories, Library, administrative and staffroom space.

The School’s tenth anniversary in 1981 was a time for the School community to look back with pride on the rapid growth and good reputation earned in those formative years. Another milestone was passed during the year with, for the first time, three forms in Year 8.

The following year commenced with the opening of three new classrooms and a Science Laboratory. During the year a ten-bed boarding unit was built in readiness for an increase in boarding in future years and plans were progressing for a Practical Arts Centre.

Computer studies were introduced into the curriculum for the first time in 1982, with further growth envisaged- little did they realise at that time what a fundamental part computers would play in education in the years to come. The following year six Apple computers, each with a disc drive, joined the School’s three Commodores, enhancing student access from Year 3 to Upper Secondary. A three step program of Computer Awareness, Computer Programming and Computer Assisted Learning was developed.

Another project which began in 1982 was the creation of a new, larger oval for the School. The P&F was particularly active in this project, raising funds and running weekend busy bees led by the School’s Estate Manager who was also responsible for the care of the 30-hecatre campus. During this time, over 300 trees and shrubs were planted by students and the environment continued to be, as it is today, an outstanding part of life at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School.’

Excerpt from a School in the Bush: A history of Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School 1972-2022, by Richard Offen. Copies of the publication can be purchased by contacting the School on 9722 6000 or email The book is $75 with postage $15. 


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