South Australia’s Westminster School is proudly celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
In honour of the milestone, numerous celebrations are being held throughout the year, and a Jubilee theme is being reflected in the school’s regular annual events.
Principal Steve Bousfield said the 50 year milestone was a defining moment for the school and provided a formal opportunity to reflect on where the school had come from and what it had to look forward to.
“During the past 50 years the school has grown from 143 boys, housed in a modest classroom block, to become a leading provider of education to over 1200 [co-ed] students,” Mr Bousfield said.
“Those who have shared in the journey have seen the school grow from a largely underdeveloped expanse in 1961, to the outstanding established school it is today.”
Despite the school’s current success and record enrolments in recent years, there was a time when reaching 50 years seemed doubtful.
“In the mid 1970s, the school’s first headmaster, Douglas Forder, retired after falling ill,” Mr Bousfield said.
“It was a turbulent economic and political period and, like many independent schools at the time, Westminster needed to advance enrolments to secure its future.
“A new headmaster, Michael Murray, was appointed and coeducation was introduced in 1978.
“This new direction allowed for a broader curriculum and activities, and growth in student enrolments.
“Westminster was revitalised as a coeducational school and has not looked back since.”
Mr Bousfield attributed the school’s overall success to the original efforts of its Founding Fathers.
“The incredible vision, passion and leadership of our founding fathers meant the school started with a strong, focused and supportive community, which is still very evident today,” he said.
“We have been blessed with strong governance and dedicated staff who have kept the founders’ legacy alive.
“As in the past, the school continues to be served by outstanding people who are committed to the ongoing success of Westminster and upholding the reputation that the school has deservedly earned.”
So far the school has hosted a variety of commemorative activities ranging from official opening day anniversary celebrations, to a fun fair and jubilee golf day.
Westminster Old Scholars’ Executive Officer Peter Trenorden said attendance at the events had been excellent.
“We have been extremely pleased with the attendance at our Jubilee events so far and have welcomed the return of a number of school community members and families from throughout the school’s history,” Mr Trenorden said.
“It is clear from discussions I have had, that Old Scholars, past staff members and families who attended these events have thoroughly enjoyed them.”
Mr Trenorden said while the Jubilee events had already been a great success so far, the best was yet to come.
“There are many more events to come, including the Gold Class Ball in October, which is sure to be one of the most impressive events to be held by the School in its 50 year history,” he said.
As a former student from the class of ’77, Mr Trenorden has had a long association with Westminster, and the school’s milestone is of particular significance to him.
“The Jubilee is especially meaningful as I am the same age as the school,” he said.
“My father was a foundation teacher and my mother was actively involved in supporting the school for over 25 years.
“As a student, old scholar and now as a parent and employee, I have seen the school grow and mature yet I feel it has never lost what existed from the very beginning, that is, a real sense of community.”
The next events on Westminster’s Jubilee calendar will be The Old Scholars’ Day and Dinner on July 29, followed by the Jubilee Jam gala concert on August 13.
The full program of events can be found online at www.westminster.sa.edu.au/information/jubilee_events.