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Reengagement Program Donation

Earlier this year, the...

John Thomas Retires

    In the past...

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Monday 25 May

Year 10/11 Swot Vac


Tuesday 26 until Friday 29 May

Year 10/11 Exams


Wednesday 27 May

Immunisations for Year 7 & 9


Monday 8 June

Queens Birthday Holiday


Wednesday 10 June

- Report Writing Day

- Year 12 GAT

- G'Day USA meeting at 6.30pm in the PSC Library


Friday 26 June

Last day of Term 2

2.30pm finish






















Reengagement Program Donation

Earlier this year, the Portland Secondary College received a cheque for $10,000.00 from the Portland Lodge and the Freemasons Foundation.

The much-needed funds went towards the College's Reengagement Program providing a student welfare coordinator and a literacy and numeracy assistant.


Chairman of the Portland Lodge Community Project Committee, Ian Berry, said the contribution to the school was invaluable.

"Some of the students in the program have been bullied and taken out of school for home schooling.  The reengagement program enables them to resume their education pathway in an environment free of judgement.


"Students who have completed the program often go on to continue their studies at university," Mr. Berry said.

The Portland Reegagement Program recently received $100,000 from the Andrew Jack foundation securing 50 places until the end of 2016.

Reengagement Program


John Thomas Retires


John Thomas Retires


In the past three decades, the landscape of Portland’s secondary education has undergone several serious metamorphoses, but the one thing that has remained consistent is business manager John Thomas.

Since joining the education department in 1986, John Thomas has seen many changes, including two schools merge into one, the development of several million dollar buildings, and worked with more than six different principals. While he stayed in the same role the entire time, his job title changed three times. Born to dairy farmers in Heywood in 1950, Mr Thomas attended Heywood High as the very first year 7 intake, before moving on to Hamilton Tech three years later to study civil engineering and then Swinbourne Tech in Hawthorn. His work in the mineral industry saw him bounce around Australia, but he settled down after marrying in 1970.For the next 15 years, he worked in the ever-evolving wool industry. It was here that he developed the skills to deal with the uncertainties of a changing work environment, and then moved on to using them in the education sector.These skills were quickly put to the test with the amalgamation of the Must St-based Technical School with the Julia St-based High School."The tech school had about 400 students, and with the merger in 1991 we grew to 800 students. On top of that were a lot of local apprentices who were undergoing study before the introduction of SW TAFE. "Welding together the two schools was a challenge; the tech school had their priorities as did the high school."While the students were quick to win over, the teaching staff and the community took a little longer to accept the change."I think we’ve done well welding them together."A myriad of portables was slowly replaced by major buildings, with a language wing, an enormous gymnasium and drama centre, and most recently, the four-school consortium Discovery Centre.Originally operating under Bill Pickston and finishing with Toni Burgoyne, Mr Thomas was the consistent factor as priorities changed over time.

As the business manager, he was the discerning factor that brought the school’s ideologies to life."The money that you get to run the school is a finite amount, and you need buffers for when an industry closes and you lose 15 students. You have to be realistic."Seeing first-hand the numerous changes of the secondary college has made Mr Thomas a wealth of knowledge, and already staff is beginning to understand how much they relied on him for even the little things."I had a phone call recently asking when the main circuit board was located. You accumulate knowledge that you never write down," he said.In retirement, Mr Thomas is suddenly finding more time to play golf and is currently planning a trip across Australia."I have no major plans as I’m just taking it easy at the moment. In the old days, I would have felt guilty ducking off and playing four holes on a Friday afternoon, but now I can spend the whole morning playing 18 holes."


To download a pdf of this article click here.


Photo courtesy of The Portland Observer.




ANZAC Research



 Students ensure Portland ANZACS live on

 Students ensure Portland ANZACS live on


The individual stories of 13 Portlanders who fought at the Gallipoli campaign a century ago are coming to life again, thanks to the research efforts of Portland Secondary College students and their teacher.Six PSC volunteers ranging in age from 12-15 are taking on the complex task of finding out as much as possible about 13 young Portlanders who posed for a photograph just before embarking from Egypt to the Turkish coast in a costly and ultimately futile effort to attack the enemy in what was seen as their ‘soft underbelly.""Each student chose one of the soldiers in the photo," teacher librarian Jan Colliver said. "We have confirmed the identities of 11 of the 13 in the picture, which has been up for a while on the wall here at the library.


During that time, other students have posed questions about those 13, and our team will try to get the answers."Mrs Colliver said four of the 13 troops died at Gallipoli, two in the carnage of the first day.Tegan Barrington, 15, is a year nine student. She chose Leonard Papley, one of the two who died in the first assault, now commemorated as Anzac Day."I’m using the AIF website created by the Australian Defence Force Academy," she said, "and material from the National Archives. I’ve found out before the war he was a carpenter living in Percy St. He went to school at All Saints."She said her research has given her a much better understanding of the Gallipoli campaign than she had before this centenary year.The soldier of choice for Tom Drew, 12, is Murray Keiller."So far I have learned he was a labourer before the war," Tom said. "He was lucky – he came home in 1915. There was a very high death toll and I certainly would not have wanted to be there and have to try my chances."The average age for those 13 soldiers from Portland was about 22 or 23, just 10 years older than Tom is today.One very valuable resource for the youthful research team is a site called Trove. This is where thousands of pages of vintage newspapers can be found, including hundreds of editions of the Portland Observer and Guardian dating back to the 1850s.Mrs Colliver said the students will closely inspect those digitised pages during their research leading up to Anzac Day.


Also at the research session was Brad Jasper, a PSC student selected with 18 others from Victoria to attend the dawn service at Anzac Cove in Turkey this year.Thanks to sharp-eyed Portland Observer readers, there’s been further confirmation of another soldier in the photo. George Moore, who lived in Heywood, has been positively identified by his great nephew Frank Moore. He is contacting Heather Clark of the RSL, who is coordinating local commemorations, to supply more facts about his great uncle.


To download a pdf of this article click here.


Photos courtesy of the Portland Observer.



2015 Prospectus


Prospectus 2015 cover copy


The 2015 Prospectus is now available

Click here to download. 


Blue Whale Research



Marine Science Scholarship Program.pdf


Four students from local high schools are taking part in a unique marine science scholarship program studying iconic blue whales in their feeding habitat around Portland.Portland whale research organisation, Blue Whale Study (BWS), is offering The Researching the Blues Marine Youth Scholarship for the second consecutive year."This is a great opportunity for local young people to learn the ropes in the Bonney Upwelling," said BWS director Dr Peter Gill."They will learn boat handling at sea, the basics of marine ecology, and whale research methods in this exceptional marine environment. "The scientific objective is to photo-identify as many individual blue whales as possible".


Portland Secondary College students Margy Doherty, 17, and Emily Booth, 16, have joined Heywood and District Secondary College’s Kane Mueller, 14, and Bayview College student Shelby Bridgeman, 16, to tackle the research project. The students were selected by their respective schools. Endangered blue whales arrive from their winter breeding areas in tropical waters in October or November to feed in the cold water upwelling, and spread out to feed along the continental shelf between Bass Strait and the eastern Great Australian Bight, until May.


The wind-driven Bonney Upwelling draws cold, nutrient-rich water onto the continental shelf, providing food for a complex marine food web that includes krill, baitfish, rock lobster, abalone, squid, gannets, muttonbirds, penguins, and a variety of seals, dolphins and whales.The Bonney Upwelling is one of only four confirmed blue whale coastal feeding areas in the Southern Hemisphere, outside Antarctica. The others are off Fremantle, Western Australia, off the west coast of New Zealand, and off the coast of Chile, South America.The tall blows and silver backs of blue whales can often be seen in the distance from cliff sites such as Cape Nelson and Cape Bridgewater, and along the western Great Ocean Road. They are the only land areas in Australia to regularly view feeding blue whales.


To download a PDF of this article click here.


Photo courtesy of the Portland Observer.


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