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Climate Change Open Letter

Dear Everyone

Think Globally and Act Locally

Hillbrook began with a strong focus on sustainability and it has remained a vital part of our philosophy. It is expressed in our curriculum, outdoor education program and many student environmental groups and initiatives.

The science of climate change has become abundantly clear in the last decade or more, and the moral imperative for decisive action has become even stronger, despite ongoing and often divisive public discourse. The positive impact of renewable energy, waste recycling and other ‘green’ initiatives now seem beyond argument.

However, we often see the politicisation of climate change which, in many cases, has become more about opinion and tribalism, rather than rational and considered debate.

For complex issues, it is a rare thing to have all the relevant knowledge at our fingertips, and it’s even more rare that this information remains unchanged.

As a school and as educators who accept the reality of climate change, we have always valued the importance of rational debate. This approach results in deepening the discourse by providing a broader outlook. When you take a fixed position on something your view narrows to see only what is in your immediate proximity and this can make change much more difficult.

At Hillbrook we consider that climate change caused by humans is an urgent issue, particularly for the generations to follow.

To support this, our community has implemented the following:

  • Our Outdoor Education Program has a strong emphasis on students connecting with the environment around them and their impact on it. Every Outdoor Education experience is guided by the motto of “leave no trace”.
  • Working towards zero net energy through school-based education programs, the installation of photovoltaic panels and low energy lighting.
  • Dedicating the natural environment of Hillbrook to Land for Wildlife.
  • Working towards zero waste by using compostable packaging in the Tuckshop and setting up innovative Waste Hubs throughout the school.
  • Collecting rainwater for use with toilet systems and irrigation.
  • Rehabilitating the creek that runs through the school grounds and into Kedron Brook.
  • Participating in the annual Clean Up Australia Day.
  • Encouraging active student environmental groups who meet weekly - Environmental Club, Creek Revegetation Group and Green Justice.
  • Embedding themes of sustainability throughout the curriculum.
  • Publishing weekly articles in the Hillbrook newsletter that highlight ways for more sustainable living. These articles are inspiring many of our families to change everyday habits.
  • Hosting Sustainability Day every two years where local community members come together to share their collective knowledge on sustainability.

We are now rapidly reaching our zero net energy target as a school. Our composting and recycling efforts are beginning to have real impact and our landfill is now a fraction of what it was a year ago.

We are continually looking at our supply chains and reviewing our resource use.  We hope to begin engaging with the circular economy ideas in 2020 to further our aim of becoming a carbon neutral school.

Now is the time, in the words of a former Board member and Chair, “for Hillbrook to nail our colours to the wall”.  While we are doing so much as a community, we need to advocate more widely for the changes we wish to see in the world. If we do nothing in this area, our efforts are diminished.

Some of our students are taking their first steps in this area of advocacy through their participation in our environmental clubs. They will be writing to our politicians, asking what they are doing to combat climate change and what their priorities are. 

We encourage all of the Hillbrook community to continue questioning organisations and businesses about what they are doing in regard to recycling their waste, water conservation and energy use policies. Public discussion and voting with our feet will ultimately result in changing business practices.

Advocacy needs to be matched with personal action, the first without the second means nothing.

The upcoming School Strike 4 Climate on 20 September is an important opportunity for those who want to match their individual actions with significant advocacy. Given that we finish school early on the last day of term, staff and students who wish to attend the rally, have the ability to do so.

We encourage everyone to “think globally and act locally” … our future is in our hands.

Yours sincerely

The School Leadership Team on behalf of Hillbrook

Am I a good custodian of our land?

Friday 31 May 2019 was Hillbrook's 32nd birthday and our Principal, Mr Geoff Newton, shared these words at our Foundation Day Celebration.


"Today I would like to talk about one of the things we believe at Hillbrook; everyone can lead, and that leading is making a positive difference in the lives of others. I would like to blend that with part of our acknowledgement of country as we celebrate Reconciliation Week.

At the heart of every Acknowledgements of Country is the phrase “The Custodians of the land upon which we now assemble”, and on our Foundation Day I ask; What does this really mean?

Let’s do a quick scan of what humans have done on the Hillbrook site over time to get an understanding of custodianship. Recent activities include:

  • Elliot, Max, Ethan, Archie, James, Kell, Ben, Tim, Sophie, Theo, Amber, and Oscar along with Ms Nagle and Mr Larkin, continued clearing the creek area of weeds. They have done this over many weeks, and are building on the work carried out over 30 years of planting and tending this area.
  • Ms Johnstone and her group continue helping us recycle and reuse material that would otherwise go to landfill
  • Mr Cambridge, Ms Laws and others continue to provide habitats, improve our understanding of our wildlife and its importance to us.
  • Solar panels donated by the P&F reduce our carbon footprint.

Over 100 years ago a boy’s home was built on this land and boys like Bill and Jack played in the creek 100 metres from here. They caught freshwater yabbies and enjoyed exploring and swimming in Kedron Brook and Enoggera Creek, which often flooded the surrounding river flats.

Over 180 years ago during the 1840s, farming commenced here, the Enoggera Dam was built in the 1860s changing the surrounding natural environment and by 1880 Chinese immigrants farmed their market gardens and Enoggera was a thriving wine growing area. Hurdcotte was the name of the Homestead for one of the vineyards situated in the area.

In 1824 the first European explorer; John Oxley met the Turrabul people, close to where we are gathered today.

All the while the stately red gums, some of which remain along the creek today, grew and watched over these developments and will continue to do so, long into the future. 

But all this is just the tip of a very long history of human presence. Europeans have been settled here for around ten generations, in contrast to Aboriginal people who lived on the land around us for thousands of generations. This area was a significant place for Aboriginal people. There were important Bora grounds near here, where sacred ceremonies such as initiation rites were carried out.  The Enoggera Boras all seem to have faced Enoggera Hill suggesting its spiritual importance.

Image credit: Katherine Harries

Our school is adjacent to a large campsite that ran from the hillside on the Mt Maria site down to the flats beside Kedron Brook where we now play sport.

Let’s try to imagine life in those nearby campsites. This area offered excellent shelter, food and water.  Many animals came to drink at the brook and provided a plentiful food source.  For the Turrabul people, the creek also offered a place to build fish traps and fish from natural ponds. The rich rainforest vegetation provided an abundance of material to build and support a thriving community, one in tune with its surroundings.

It was close to major trading routes that linked the Bunya mountains in the north to the coastal areas in the east.  These trading routes are now Waterworks and Gympie Roads. 

Aboriginal Culture is an oral one which means much of their culture is told in stories.  Daily life included time set aside for those stories, much like a combination of our ceremonies and assemblies and classes. They served to remind and reinforce the important elements of their culture.

The Aboriginal people’s lives were focused on learning, spirituality, cultural activities, trade and care for the land of their ancestors, very different from our focus on accumulation of material possessions and wealth and the here and now.

This daily and community activity happened over thousands of years, much longer than the memories of the oldest trees.  But only now this country knows the value of their custodianship. Custodianship does not degrade the environment; it allows people to live and thrive with the resources available, only taking what is needed and giving back in equal measure. They were true custodians of the land, they did not claim or own the land, they held it in trust and passed on the benefits to future generations, as a gift to be shared and celebrated.

So let’s ask ourselves, what am I doing to be a better custodian of this land and this world?  What am I passing on to the next generation?

Changing our thinking and our habits now can make a big difference. It's time to start thinking about how we restore and improve our environment rather than use it without thought

When I switch on the A/C, rather than open a window or put on a jumper, am I being a good custodian?

When I throw something on the ground, rather than put it in the appropriate bin, am I being a good custodian?

When I use single use plastic bags, straws and the like, am I being a good custodian?

When I waste food am I being a good custodian?

When I change nothing and expect others to do my share, am I being a good custodian?

Our challenge as individuals, and as a community, is to be responsible for our actions and leave this land in a better state than we found it.

At Hillbrook we believe we can all lead, and good leaders know that they must accept responsibility for their actions, but they also know that they must uphold the integrity of their beliefs. If we all do this, then those who come after will see the value of what we have done. They can build on this and will see us, as the acknowledgement goes, as true custodians of the land on which we now assemble.

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing."


Bye, Leisa. With love … your hair.

Bye, Leisa. With love, your hair ... 

Hillbrook’s Receptionist and Student Support superstar Leisa Bye is shaving her head at assembly on 26 April 2019 to raise money for Ovarian Cancer.

We had a chat with her to find out why this cause is so close to her heart and how the Hillbrook community can support her.

Leisa, why are you shaving your head?

Cancer has affected those that I love so much throughout my life. In 2015 I lost my 32 year old sister-in-law, Cathy, to brain cancer, who sadly left behind 2 sons who were only 4 and 6 at the time. In 2012, I shaved my head in Cathy’s honour.

Back then, I did it for the ‘World’s Greatest Shave’ campaign and raised $7,500 for Blood Cancer. This time, I was able to choose (thanks to the Hillbrook Giving Tree Foundation) the Women’s Cancer Foundation (WCF), and I have chosen for it to go towards clinical trials for ovarian cancer.

Are you also going to donate your hair?

Yes, I will be donating it via ‘Hair for Heart’ through Variety – it’s ‘just’ long enough for donation.

Why did you choose ovarian cancer to raise awareness for?

For a few reasons. The biggest being Kristen Larsen, a past student who graduated in 2009.  Kristen was diagnosed 5 years ago with ovarian cancer and thanks to clinical trials, such as the one that she is currently on, she is able to spend more time with her loved ones. Clinical trials are a way forward towards hopefully one day discovering a cure for cancer – and in this case, ovarian cancer, where the survival rate isn’t strong. If she is well enough, Kristen will be attending on the 26th to do part of the shave.

The second is my own background, and my extremely high risk of becoming a statistic.

The third is to bring awareness to a cancer that isn’t at the forefront of awareness. Gynaecological cancers aren’t as ‘well-known’ as cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Anything else you want to share?

I have WCF teal ribbons (for ovarian cancer) available for $2 at reception if anyone would like one. I will be presenting on Chapel the week of 18-21 March,  to let them know my why and to bring awareness to cancer, not only ovarian. I also want to show them that the support of our loved ones can make such a difference to those who are suffering. I understand that this may be hard for some of our students to attend, due to personal reasons, and if any parents wish for their child to not attend that presentation we understand.

Stay tuned for the fundraising link, I’d love to surpass my fundraising amount from 2012 and then some!  

If you would like to know a bit more about ANZGOG (Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group) the cancer research organisation behind the trials, please visit their website for more information.

How Green is our Tuckshop?

How Green is our Tuckshop

We truly believe everyone wants to be kinder to the environment, but just how many of us regularly stick with our good intentions?

It’s not because we don’t care, it’s mostly because we are busy. Many of us are working full time, bringing up children, caring for older parents and trying to find a sliver of time for ourselves.

And, if you are a student, you are also busy with school work, sport, other extra-curricular activities, chores and friends.

So, what do we reach for when we need to eat on the run? Convenience food. It’s not necessarily unhealthy food, but it’s packed in single use containers. We grab and go. It’s convenient.

The problem is, single use packaging is creating massive recycling and landfill challenges for the entire world. We are literally drowning in it.

We are also drowning in the terminology. Recyclable. Biodegradable. Compostable. What do they mean. Are they all the same? Are they all good for the environment?

Recyclable – sounds awesome. Who doesn’t feel smug when you put something in the recycling bin? But do you know exactly what can be recycled? And if you get it wrong what impact can that have? We’ll explore recycling in more depth in a future article.

Biodegradable – means the item can break down, but there’s a catch – it can take years. Wood is biodegradable, but it takes a very long time for wood to break down.

Compostable – like biodegradable it means the item can break down, but here’s the gold, it takes 12 weeks or less!  And the nutrient rich compost it creates can be used to help plants thrive.

At Hillbrook we are always looking at ways we can leave a smaller footprint on the environment – solar panels, worm farms, recycling, native bee hives and now - fully compostable packaging for all items we prepare in our Tuckshop.

At the start of this school year we made the decision to package food in plant based disposable containers, bags, cups, lids and cutlery. From Monday all wrapped baked goods, cooked and cold foods will be in Vegware.

This move will significantly reduce the landfill waste from the school. All food scraps and compostable packaging will now be disposed into special bins which will be collected and taken to an industrial composting site by BioPak. We are also looking at the possibility of having the composted product returned to the school for use in our gardens.

Previously, food scraps and much of the packaging went into landfill. This is a big tick for the environment and for sustainability at Hillbrook.

The packaging we are using is all made from plants – industrial, non-food-grade corn and the cutlery from bamboo. The entire corn plant is harvested and every part of it is used. It is also grown using sustainable farming practices without excessive pesticides and water use. You can read more about it here.

All of the packaging is clearly marked with a green leaf symbol, and our staff and students are being educated every day with our environmental club monitoring the bins and the Tuckshop area.

We are still separating recyclable items, we are also recycling soft plastics and of course we are collecting food scraps for our worms. Our new compost bins are adding another important layer to the sustainable practices our staff and students are currently following.

One of the things we love so much about our new packaging is that it starts off life as a plant and 12 weeks later ends up back in the ground helping to grow more plants. That is truly sustainable and makes everyone at Hillbrook happy.



What Makes a Great School?

What do parents hope for when they send their children to high school? The 3Rs, yes, but what else do they want?

The recently released Independent Schools Queensland What Parents Want 2018 Survey, revealed the top five reasons Queensland parents choose a school:

  1. Preparation for students to fulfil their potential in later life
  2. The high quality of teachers
  3. School seemed right for child’s individual needs
  4. Good discipline
  5. Teaching methods/philosophy

Missing from this list, and in fact from the top ten reasons, is a school with high OP results. Yet league tables from OP and NAPLAN results feature highly in recent media articles about Queensland’s best schools. Unfortunately, this measurement boils down the complexity of human development and learning to a mere number.

At Hillbrook we believe the measure of a school is much more than academic results. A great school has inspiring and engaged teachers who prepare their students for life outside school. A life that is more than the final number they achieve, and more than the career they choose.

Great schools have an inclusive and organic culture and provide students with a carefully considered balance of academic skills and strong personal values.

Every student who joins the Hillbrook community is afforded the same learning opportunities; we are non-selective and don’t offer scholarships. Each of our students is offered a place based on the order in which they applied and they all study towards earning an OP. Why? We believe the creative mix of challenge and support provided by our curriculum, together with committed teachers, enables our students to learn to their potential.

We agree wholeheartedly that a strong academic program is essential to provide a basis for the next stage of their life journey … but grades and OPs alone do not prepare a student for the future. From our experience, combining spiritual, physical, arts and academic lessons with important life lessons, will. 

At Hillbrook we believe education is a journey and schools are about potential, not product. Education is not as simple as learning a set of rules to live by and the acquisition of knowledge, it’s far deeper and broader than that.

In 1987, the founders of Hillbrook had a vision about teaching that went beyond the classroom. When it came to programs such as Outdoor Education and Philosophical Inquiry, Hillbrook has led the way. Art, Drama and Music are as important as Maths, English and Science in providing a balanced learning experience. Our music program is well supported with over 50% of our students participating. Hillbrook continues to invest heavily in ensuring these programs remain relevant and provide our students with important personal and interpersonal skills.

A thoughtfully designed outdoor education program challenges our students physically and mentally, building resilience, developing trust and teaching leadership skills. One of the key learnings from outdoor education is “what to do when you don’t know what to do” which flows through to enhance problem solving skills in the classroom.

A few years ago, a group of Hillbrook students were on their Senior self-guided bushwalking expedition when one of the teachers fell and broke her ankle. Some of the students were trained in first aid and were able to provide initial emergency care by immobilising the ankle and keeping her calm. They were in an isolated area and needed to activate an EPIRB device which then initiated a helicopter rescue. Once their teacher was airlifted from the site, the students had to find their way out and back to the campsite to the other group waiting for them. Throughout the process the entire group remained calm and considered, they worked together and cared for each other and their teacher. This type of lesson cannot be taught in a classroom, nor measured with a numerical ranking, yet it’s one that will stay with those students, and their teacher, for the rest of their lives.

Another important lesson outdoor education teaches is a greater understanding and appreciation of the environment, and the need for all of us to tread lightly upon it.

Philosophical Inquiry encourages students to think deeply about issues, to listen to other perspectives, to question, to search for answers and to be fair and open-minded. It empowers them to make their own decisions and form their own opinions, even if they differ from others.

Hillbrook has made an intentional decision to run with a philosophy of shared leadership across all members of the community. We believe everyone should learn how to be a leader and be provided with opportunities to do so. Leadership comes in many forms and everyone is capable of leading.  For our students it’s important to know they can make a difference in the lives of others simply by taking the lead, regardless of their position.

Here at Hillbrook there is a collective responsibility for the well-being of our students. All teachers and support staff take responsibility for all students, and also for each other. “Students who are part of a community where they see leadership teams and staff caring for one another are being shown how a successful community operates. Collective responsibility for the staff as well as the students is a strong example of an organic culture in action.”  Harvard educational psychologist Robert Kegan (1994)

Hillbrook is a people-centred school where we create a close-knit community among our teachers, support staff, students and parents. This type of community fosters trust and respect and provides a positive and supportive culture that allows our students to take the risks that result in real learning. “A ship in the harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” John A Shedd.

So, how does this translate in the world beyond school? What skills are employers looking for when they interview potential employees. Are they interested in a high OP or GPA? Or is it more than that?

The Australian Chambers of Commerce and Industry conducted major exercise to find out what employers want. The outcomes showed that employers overwhelmingly want the following skills above technical skills:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem Solving
  • Self-management
  • Planning and Organising
  • The use of technology to execute tasks
  • Initiative and Enterprise
  • Leadership

A Human Resources Manager from a National Law Firm revealed that while an OP and a GPA score is important, it doesn’t stand alone. A candidate with a lower GPA and more life experience with work, community and travel is more likely to gain an interview, and ultimately a position, than a candidate with a GPA of 7 and no life experience other than study.

Independent Schools Queensland have conducted four What do Parents Want Surveys over the last 12 years and each one shows overwhelmingly that, more than anything else, parents want schools to identify and nurture the potential of their children.

And this is what parents hope for when they send their children to school.





Uniform Shop has moved

The Uniform/Stationery shop has now moved in preparation for the buliding works due to commence in December.

If you need to visit the shop, it is now located in the Marcellin Centre, 340 South Pine Road, Enoggera. You can access the shop from the main school entrance, however it is quite a walk. It’s much easier to drive along South Pine Road (past Hurdcotte Street) and park in the Marcellin Centre carpark – it’s located on the left and clearly identifiable with blue signs.

Download a map to help you find your way.

Unless you have a Year 7 fitting appointment, uniform shop hours remain unchanged:

Monday: 12pm – 2pm

Wednesday: 8am – 9am 

Friday: 8am – 9am


QUT Awards 2018

Congratulations to Year 11 student Ryan Best for his amazing efforts and commitment to his studies in Engineering Technology this year. Ryan has impressively, attained A level results on all pieces of assessment and so has been awarded with the QUT Dean’s Award for Engineering Technology. This prize is awarded to the overall top achievers in each year level of Senior Engineering Technology at Hillbrook. Along with receiving a certificate of recognition, Ryan received a $50 JB Hi-Fi gift card. Kirby Fahy is the recipient of the Year 12 award, a $100 gift voucher, for finishing the course at Hillbrook with incredible academic results (VHA 8). She has demonstrated A levels of achievement on all pieces of assessment, in all criteria and impressively, was the recipient of the Year 11 award last year, for her brilliant academic results! Kirby should be extremely proud of her achievements and acknowledged for her commitment to her studies. We wish her all the best with her intended dual degree (Maths/Science) at UQ next year. Also in Year 12, Finn Pohlner has been recognised for his high results over the whole 2-year course. Finn is on track (OP pending… fingers crossed) to be accepted into a dual degree – Engineering/Industrial Design at QUT next year. This is very fitting given his exit results in Senior Graphics (VHA 4), Engineering (HA10) and Technology Studies (VHA 4) at Hillbrook. If successful, Finn will receive The QUT Dean’s Award, a $3000 study stipend as a result of his high school Engineering achievements. Congratulations to all three students on their successes in Engineering Technology and we thank them for their dedication and enthusiasm for the subject.

School TV – Exam Stress

Exam Stress – Special Report

Students in their final year of school are considered a high-risk group for depression and anxiety. Sleep deprivation, diet and social media are some of the biggest issues faced by this group of teens. Therefore it is vitally important that a student’s mental health is looked after as well as their physical health. 

Keeping things in perspective for students and parents alike, can help prevent everyone getting overwhelmed. Although this final year is important, it is not necessarily the most important year of your child’s life.

There are many strategies that students can implement to help themselves. Parents can provide support, not only emotionally, but also practically by keeping their child well-nourished and encouraging physical activity.

In this special report, parents will find useful tips to support their child during this often stressful time. We hope you take time to reflect on the information offered here and we always welcome your feedback.

If you do have any concerns about your child, please contact Sue Forbes (School Counsellor) for further information.

Click here to view your special report.

Silver medal for Casey Atkins

Voted by her peers on the last day of school to be the most likely to win gold medal at the Olympics, Casey Atkins (Hillbrook 2016 graduate) was selected in the Australian team in 2018 for the Triathlon World Championships held in September and podiumed with the silver medal position.

Competing in the Olympic distance race of a 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run, Casey collapsed over the line to take out the silver medal after leading for two and a quarter hours of the race, only to be passed in the last km of the run leg by a competitor from Mexico. Thirty minutes in the medical tent saw her remember her name and be back up and ready to support her team mates.

The Silver Medal gives Casey automatic qualification for next year’s World Championships in Switzerland.

Her dad Steve said “Between her second year of an Exercise Physiology Degree at the University of Queensland, working and a six day a week training and race schedule, the supportiveness and life preparedness that Hillbrook imparts in their students has always been appreciated.”

Giddy Up!

Along with her horse, Gus, Hillbrook Year 7 student Alexis was among 600 students from schools across three states who competed in the Interschool Horse Extravaganza (ISHE) in Tamworth. They came 5th overall in the Showjumping and 12th on the one day event (ODE). Congratulations Alexis and Gus!

University Myths Debunked

The Five Most Common University Myths Debunked

There are popular myths about university study some of which are:

First year uni doesn’t count – False. At most universities, first year results contribute to your final grade point average (GPA). Your GPA is of interest to future employers. Furthermore, your first year GPA (if good enough) can be used to be competitive for entry to your preferred course if you didn’t get straight into it from school. You can apply for scholarships once you get to Uni and your GPA is important when applying for these scholarships.

I’ll be paying off my HECS-HELP debt for the rest of my life – False. The HECS-HELP loan scheme helps you pay your part of the cost of the course you are studying (called ‘Student contribution’).  You begin paying it through the Australian Tax Office as part of your income tax once you have completed your course and are earning a threshold amount ($51,957 for 2018-19). You don’t pay interest on your debt but it is indexed each year to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index. 

I’ll never find a job after graduation – Competition for jobs is high. However, you can increase your employability while you are studying by gaining work experience in the field in which you want to work. This not only looks good on your resume, it gives employers a chance to see what sort of worker you are. Don’t wait until your final year at uni to start looking for jobs. Access the uni Careers and Employment services and programs early during your studies.

If I don’t make friends during O Week, I never will – For those who don’t know, O Week is Orientation Week which is usually the week before lectures begin. This is an important week as the information you receive will introduce you to the support services and other activities available. You will have many additional opportunities to make friends during your uni studies. If you’re not particularly comfortable starting up a conversation with a random in class, get involved in a university club or two.

Lectures can be skipped – Yes and No. Lectures are usually recorded and made available online, so technically, you don’t need to attend in person. However, there are a few reasons why you should get in the habit of going to every class. Attendance might form part of a percentage of your final mark. You’re paying to sit in that lecture theatre, so you might as well show up and enjoy it. Lectures provide an opportunity to make new friends and of course, impress a lecturer or two. Lecturers are great contacts for future employment.

School TV – The Anxiety Issue

In term 3, we hosted an informal EAC Unplugged evening where parents in our school community were invited to come along and explore the topic of anxiety and share how families navigate through these times.

Most young people today experience anxiety at some point in their life. Sometimes that slight rush of anxiety that occurs prior to an exam or sporting event, can enhance their performance. However, experiencing too much anxiety, over long periods of time, can be extremely damaging to their health and wellbeing. There is a difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ anxiety.

For those wanting some more information about the topic, we recommend check out the Anxiety edition of SchoolTV – Hillbrook’s digital wellness platform. This edition highlights the warning signs of ‘bad’ anxiety and the preventative measures parents can implement as well as what parents can do to teach kids the skills to cope more efficiently with their anxiety. To view, please click here.

Mooting Mentors

It was wonderful to see Hillbrook parent, lawyer and mooting coach Mark Boge and University of Southern Queensland lecturer and mentor Julie Copley attend our assembly last Friday to help our mooting teams celebrate their success in this year’s USQ mooting competition. This year, there were 34 teams – the biggest competition yet!  Elijah Larsen and Jesse Graf showed great legal skills and bowed out just before the quarterfinals. Lydia Jensen and Mikala Sloots made a formidable legal pair and went all the way to the semi-finals. We are very proud of the efforts of both teams in this very challenging competition.

Excellence in Education Leadership

Congratulations to Hillbrook Principal Geoff Newton and teacher Tegan Baumgartwho have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to excellence in education at the 2018 Australian Council for Educational Leaders - Queensland Branch annual awards on Wednesday night.


Geoff was presented with the Excellence in Educational Leadership Award thatrecognises outstanding educational leadership across the teaching profession and contributions to advancing learning for students, colleagues and the Australian education system.


Tegan was awarded the biennialEmerging Indigenous Leader Award. This award recognises an Aboriginal or Torres Straight Island educational leader in the first five years of their formal leadership career and provides them with the opportunity to undertake professional learning in educational leadership. Tegan is a proud descendent of the Woolwonga mob from Victoria River in the Northern Territory and also recently gained National Accreditation as an ISQ Highly Accomplished Teacher.

School TV – The Sleep Issue

This month’s edition of SchoolTV is ‘Sleep’. Students today have extremely busy schedules, with ever increasing responsibilities at school and at home. Many kids, especially adolescents, are going to bed later and later and are at risk of sleep deprivation.

This affects three areas of a child’s development: psychological, physiological and psychosocial. All three are essential to a child’s growth, learning ability and overall wellbeing. Sleep is vital to a child’s overall health and is as important as diet and exercise.

In this edition of SchoolTV, parents will learn about the importance of sleep and how sleep deprivation can have adverse effects on a child’s health and wellbeing.

To go to SleepTV’s Sleep edition, please click here.

Athletics Carnival

Thank you to all our Sports Council Members, students and staff for their great efforts, without which the carnival would not have been so enthusiastic, happy and successful. Congratulations to all students and staff in Red! And a very special thanks to the HPE and Grounds staff for their energy and outstanding commitment.

Champion Debaters

Congratulations to our Year 8-1 Debating Team, comprising of Bailey, Owen, Andreis and Josh, who have moved on to the finals of Queensland Debating Union (UDU) competition. We wish the team well for the next round of the finals.

Adspace Winners

Recently two teams of Hillbrook Year 12 students attended the annual Adspace competition held at QUT Gardens Point. Adspace is a marketing and advertising competition that asks teams to creatively envisage and pitch an advertising campaign based on a provided brief by a real-life client.


This year, the client was the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and students were tasked with creating a campaign that communicated the message to their target audience that the reef was healthier than portrayed in the media, and to evoke youth to support the reef by making environmentally-friendly changes to their daily lives.


Our first team – Isabella, Zac, Lachlan, Corey and Regan came up with a very engaging and creative idea. However, it was our second team – Caitlin, Emily, Anna, Saskia and Ashlee, whose Instagram-based campaign and pitch blew away the judging panel and unanimously wonthe competition!


Congratulations to both teams for their excellent efforts.

Hillbrook 2020

We are pleased to announce plans for Hillbrook 2020 that will support the future growth and development of our school.

In consultation with BSPN Architecture, the School will embark on an exciting stage of growth with plans for new learning facilities and significantly more green space for our students and School community to enjoy.

Among the key features of the 2019 build will be a new Science and English block that will accommodate seven state-of-the-art Science laboratories and breakout spaces, new English classrooms and a new Cafeteria with a Café area plus extra ammenities. There will also be a library extension with a small auditorium. A new administration centre will create a warm and welcoming entry to our school. We will also increase the green space in our internal courtyard for the students and School community events.

It is anticipated the building works will start after school concludes in Term 4, 2018 and be ready for the start of 2020.

We are looking forward to this next Hillbrook stage, and will be keeping our School community well informed throughout the process.

What is the future of Philosophy in Schools?

During the recent school holidays, we headed to the beautiful and historic city of Fremantle to represent Hillbrook at The Future of Philosophy in Schools 2018 FAPSA Conference. Keynote speakers included Peter Worley (CEO and Co-founder of The Philosophy Foundation UK) and Professor Michael Hand (Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of Birmingham UK).


While there, we presented a 40-minute workshop entitled Thinking Adolescents: Engaging Adolescents in Philosophical Inquiry – A Whole School Approach. This showcased some of the wonderful work we are doing here at Hillbrook in the area of Philosophical Inquiry. Conference delegates were given the opportunity to experience an authentic Hillbrook PI lesson and this was met with rave reviews.


Our favourite part of the conference was hearing and meeting academics and educators from many parts of the world and taking on some of the philosophical questions and challenges ourselves. For example: Close your eyes and try to think of nothing(give it a go!).


The conference was run by FAPSA (the Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Association). FAPSA seeks to enrich and expand philosophy education in schools in Australasia. They also produce The Journal of Philosophy in Schools, thefocus of which is research into philosophy with school-aged children.If you are interested in reading the journal articles, they can be found here.


Tegan Baumgart(Philosophy Co-ordinator) & Amy Eberhardt(Philosophical Inquiry Support Teacher)

Hillbrook in Action

Recently we welcomed more than 1,300 visitors to the school for our annual Hilbrook in Action – Open Day. Our guests had a very hands-on day sitting in on lessons, participating in activities and enjoying the music and demonstrations on offer.

A very special thank you to all our student tour guides and parent helpers who are always such wonderful ambassadors of the school, and to all our staff who helped make the day such a successful event.

Theatresports Theatrics

Our Hillbrook “Hillbillies” have improv-ed up a storm advancing through to the Quarter Finals of the QLD Youth Theatresports Competition. Congratulations to the team, who did a fantastic job and thank you to all those who came to cheer them on!

Building plans a (virtual) reality

At the end of Term 2 Brisbane architects Brand + Slater dropped in to present a virtual reality fly around of the School Campus Master Plan building works. Designs include innovative and future-focused learning facilities, including a new Science and English building incorporating a new School Cafeteria, and a Library extension and a bigger, landscaped community space. The plans help to fulfil our desire for a balanced approach, and will retain the unique character of the school as a mid-sized, moderate-fee school with high teaching and learning expectations. The building works are scheduled to start during the end of year holidays. We are excited about this next Hillbrook stage, and will be keeping you well informed during the process.


In June we had the great privilege of hosting some of Australia’s most talented creatives at our Authors@Hillbrook. This year’s literary event featured top literary talent James Phelan (The SpyThe Agency), Christine Bongers (DustIntruder), Will Kostakis (The SidekicksThe First Third), Fleur Ferris (WreckFound), Paula Weston (The UndercurrentShadows) and one of Australia’s most well-known manga artists, David Lovegrove. Years 7 to 10 students signed up for a variety of workshops held by our guests to learn all the ins and outs of writing, illustrating, publishing and much, much more.

Thank you to all who were involved and our wonderful Library staff for putting on such a brilliant day. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event!


Mooting Victory

In Semester 1 our fabulous mooters tested their advocacy skills at the University of Southern Queensland’s Secondary Mooting Competition. Elijah and Jesse competed in a very close three-way moot with Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School and Corinda State High School. Lydia and Mikala competed against Bremer State High School. Both teams were well prepared and very impressive. Lydia and Mikala won their moot and have progressed through to the Quarter Finals. Elijah and Jesse gained the second highest score in their moot, and are reserves to progress through to Quarter Finals. All of our mooters should be proud of their efforts in this highly challenging competition.

Total Recall at School Reunions

Earlier this year past students from the Class of 2008 and Class of 1998 enjoyed a blast from the past at their 10-Year and 20-Year Class Reunions. More than 70 former Hillbrookians caught up and reconnected, enjoying a great night of music and memories at the Queensland University of Technology’s Botanic Bar. If you’d like to see more photos, search #Hillbrook08reunion and #Hillbrook98reunion on Instagram, and don’t forget to follow us at @HillbrookAnglican.

Hillbrook Anglican School