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The Legacy of a Legend

When Ambrose Treacy established the first permanent Christian Brothers community in Australia in 1868, I doubt he had any appreciation of the legacy he would leave behind. A passionate educator, Treacy worked tirelessly in difficult circumstances, with limited money, to build schools across the country. His aim was to ensure that young Catholics, many the children of parents with limited means, had access to a good education.

By the time he had retired, Treacy was widely acknowledged for the pivotal role he played both in the training of teachers, and in the establishment of 27 schools across Australia. At a time when secondary education was for the rich, Treacy encouraged the extension of students – particularly talented students, preparing them for the civil service and matriculation examinations.

Last week, students at Ambrose Treacy College remembered the legacy of Ambrose – a man after whose example our College is named. Treacy believed not just in a Catholic education, but in a ‘quality’ Catholic education for boys. At ATC, the heart of education is based around strong relationships, rigour, high impact teaching and learning strategies and engaging learning.

Boys connect with learning which they see as relevant and ‘real world’. In honour of Ambrose Treacy, a number of our cohorts recently engaged in rich experiences, which were intended to build their interest and understanding. In the Junior School, students in Year 4 engaged in Grandparents’ Day and completed a ‘World of Maths Challenge’ building their understanding both of History and of Mathematics. They welcomed important family members for a class visits, led them on a Discovery Trail and shared morning tea. Following this, students completed a number of rotational activities including hands-on practical maths activities facilitated by the ‘World of Maths’ educators. It was great to see boys working collaboratively to solve problems like making patterns using parabolic curves!

Year 5s continued their Gold Rush immersion, further developing their understanding of the issues which led to the Eureka Rebellion by creating dramatic dioramas of scenes from the period. Boys built shoe box sized versions of the battle, Bakery Hill, panning for gold at the river, the assay office and the tent city. Well done to all boys on producing such imaginative miniature towns. Year 6s continued their Service Learning Project after their ‘Share the Dignity’ charity sleep out event. Share the Dignity is an Australian charity, committed to improving the lives of women and girls experiencing homelessness, poverty and violence. Our service learning centred around rotational activities: sorting and packing hygiene packs, making and decorating earrings and writing words of comfort and inspiration on gift cards. It was encouraging to see our year 6 students being purposeful in their mission and authentically connecting heart and hand for a worthy cause.

In the Middle School, students in Year 7 undertook an Arts Immersion, developing their musical, dramatic and artistic talents. The experiences were designed to enrich learning capabilities and extend their Arts curriculum learning. Boys were an audience for a professional live drama performance and participated in rotational drama, music and visual art workshops.

Students in Year 8 and 9 engaged with important social issues relating to the environment and sustainability. Year 8 explored Urban Development and Quality of Life issues associated with increased urbanisation, examining developments in West End. Year 9 visited the Botanical Gardens and Nudgee Beach, focusing on Biomes in the local region.


I thank all those involved in the organisation of Ambrose Treacy Day, who continue to build upon the legacy of a man who understood that education for boys must be relevant and engaging.

Kath Little
Dean of Learning