Home' Focus : Focus Magazine Summer 2016 Contents A new era is about to commence at Scotch Oakburn College with the
exciting news that the College will start construction of its new Centre for
Science and Mathematics in January 2016.
Science has always been synonymous with knowledge, creativity and
innovation, and its history is the history of mankind. Our inquisitive nature
has meant exploring and experimenting with our surroundings, from first
harnessing fire to the invention of simple machines such as the lever, the
incline plane and the screw – all of which I saw in Year 3 classrooms in
November – to the mastery of flight, the creation of the internet and so
The dichotomous history of Scotch Oakburn College is woven through
with scientists and Science teachers. In 1886 Mr G Thornton Lewis was
appointed the first Headmaster of Methodist Ladies College and, having
obtained science equipment, he pioneered Science education for girls
in Tasmania. Elementary Science and Physiology remained mainstays of
Science education at MLC up until the Second World War.
Meanwhile at Scotch College, the appointment of Mr W. W. V. Briggs
as Principal brought about the regular teaching of Science and in 1925
Mr Eric Scott, polymath and ichthyologist of renown, was appointed to
teach Chemistry and Mathematics. Scotch lacked a laboratory and so
with the help of the Ladies’ Committee the first laboratory was built and
used from 1928. Physiology was also taught and various donations of
equipment, such as a microscope, aided in the teaching of Science.
Both schools, MLC and Scotch, proceeded to build laboratories in
the early 1960s. MLC built Biology and Physics laboratories, to add to
their existing Chemistry laboratory. During this period Scotch College
built the Rowallan Laboratory, comprising a lecture theatre, Physics and
Chemistry laboratories. These were added to in 1968 with the building
of two laboratories – Biology and General Science. In 1970 Oakburn
College opened the Leigh Cook Laboratory, named after the past
Principal, Reverend Cook.
After amalgamation in 1979 the laboratories at the Elphin campus
morphed into Junior School classrooms whereas the original laboratories
at the Penquite campus remain as the College’s dedicated Science
laboratories to this day. However, they no longer meet the standards and
requirements we have of learning facilities for our students now and in to
the future and so the College is embarking on a project to provide a new
Centre for Science and Mathematics and a home for our Year 9 and 10
students that is in sync with our progressive nature.
Science and Mathematics have never been more important, both in
their own right and as project-based learning gains greater recognition
in our curriculum. Our new Centre will provide the facilities and the
environment to enable the teaching and learning in these key areas to
flourish like never before. Science and its associated technologies have
the ability to alter the way people live, communicate and transact in
every facet of our dynamic modern world, whilst Mathematics provides
skills that are vital for a range of applications, including the analytical,
technological, quantitative and economic.
Facilities are one element that helps create culture, and the Centre’s
home for Years 9 and 10 will provide this group with a facility they are
proud of and can call their own, a facility that matches those which are
enjoyed by Years 6, 7 and 8 in Middle School and Years 11 and 12 in
the Robert Dean Senior Student Centre. It is fair to say that is currently
not the case, yet we know engagement in schooling across Years 9 and
10 is absolutely vital for our students’ future. Those students deserve
facilities that will encourage their creativity and ignite their passions in new
and exciting ways, that will maintain their innovative and entrepreneurial
bent so they can continue to ‘think outside the square’, solving problems
with bold and creative solutions.
We know that students rise to the expectations we have of them and
for their sake we must be unashamedly aspirational for what they can
achieve. This new facility reflects Scotch Oakburn College’s commitment
to an offering of 21st Century learning spaces that will keep us at the
forefront of education nationally. As our Foundation chair, Selena Palmer
says, “Our students of today and tomorrow deserve no less”.
Our Foundation will play a vital role in bringing the new Centre for
Science and Mathematics to life, and in cooperation with the College
Board it will run a major capital campaign to ensure our full vision for
the new Centre is achieved. It is a major investment in the College’s
future and that of our students. As our Chairperson of the Board of
Governance, Christine Arnott, has said, “Scotch Oakburn is the school
that our students deserve and Launceston needs”.
We have already received major pledges of support from a number
of Life Members of the Foundation and to those who have already
demonstrated your generosity and given to the project, I sincerely
thank you on behalf of the College. This generosity has given us the
confidence to proceed, with construction starting in January 2016. We
will then launch a public campaign in March where you will be invited
to see the plans and learn more about the new Centre for Science and
The Centre recycles, extends and wraps around the existing St
Andrews buildings and will be finished in early 2017. Then our existing
outdated science laboratories will be refurbished to provide modern
learning spaces by May 2017 to complete the development.
Thank you for your support across 2015. We have a wonderful
community at Scotch Oakburn and I am both honoured and proud to be
your Principal. I am equally sure we’ll all feel even greater pride when we
complete our magnificent new Centre for Science and Mathematics and
further enhance our reputation as one of Australia’s finest schools.
Principal, Scotch Oakburn College
Centre for excellence and opportunity
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