Trinity Anglican School was the vision of a local Cairns couple, Ben and Naomi Wilson.
With the help and determination of many past and present individuals, Trinity Anglican School has become the beautiful dual-campus school that we have today.
Some reflections on the very early days (1980 – 1983)
By Naomi Wilson
In October 1980, Naomi Wilson put into place the emergence of Trinity Anglican School when she approached Bishop John Lewis about the possibility of the Diocese constructing and operating an Anglican High School in Cairns.
This proposal was warmly received and at Bishop Lewis’s request, Naomi wrote a proposal on November 28, 1980 which was presented to the church with a subsequent motion being put forward to Synod on March 10, 1981 that “a school be established in the area, subject to a survey”. This was supported by the Diocesan School Board.
What followed from this apparently simple idea for an Anglican school in Cairns, was the emergence of an independent school – here today because of the work of many tireless, committed people.
The following timeline of events paints an early history of Trinity Anglican School’s emergence and recognises the unsung heroes who we can thank for what we have today.
On May 22, 1981 a local forward planning committee for Trinity Anglican School was established in Cairns.
The committee was formed to “investigate the feasibility of forming a school in the Cairns/Mulgrave area under the patronage of the Church of England”.
Chaired by Archdeacon (now Bishop) Tung Yep, the committee included Rev Sandy Marshall (later the inaugural School Chaplain), Ben and Naomi Wilson, Dr Digby Hoyal and Pam Hill. Father Chris Bullock, Principal of All Soul’s & St Gabriel’s School attended offering support and information whilst representing Bishop Lewis and the Church Schools’ Board.
Following the establishment of the planning committee, a concept plan was drawn up by September of 1981. An approach was made with the Diocese to undertake the appeal and engage engineers and architects. In November, Mr Kevin Bury, Deputy Principal of All Soul’s & St Gabriel’s School, was nominated by the Diocese as “the first Principal of the proposed Anglican School in Cairns to do the ground work and prepare submissions for the School’s opening in 1983”.
During this planning stage, an Advisory Committee responsible to the Church Schools’ Board was set up, with the Bishop as President and the Principal, Mr Kevin Bury, as Chair. The members of the Advisory Committee included Ben and Naomi Wilson, Rev Canon A.N. Marshall, Mr I Millyard, Dr D. Hoyal the Venerable G. Tung Yep, (now Bishop) and Mrs. E. Stephenson. Mrs Naomi Wilson was appointed to the Church Schools’ Board.
The School Council was elected in 1982 with Ben Wilson as Inaugural President. An appeal was launched under the joint Chairmanship of Mr Peter Cominos and Mr Noel Cannon, and the current site was identified and purchased, with its dedication occurring on March 21, 1982.
The building physically began to take shape in August, and the Hon. David Thompson MP laid and dedicated the Foundation Stone on 20 November.
Following the dedication, the inaugural Trinity Anglican School Board was named and appointed with their first meeting being held at the school on February 9, 1983.
The first School Council members were Mrs Naomi Wilson, Mr Peter Cominos, Mr Noel Cannon, Dr Digby Hoyal and Mr Jeff Pezzutti. Ex officio members were the Bishop of North Queensland, the Diocesan Registrar, and Archdeacon Tung Yep as the Bishop’s representative whenever he was unavailable.
A proud Kevin Bury opened the school doors on January 24, 1983 and welcomed the first 125 pupils in Grades 7, 8 and 9.
The opening service was held on the current site of the Bishop Centre, which was at the time an open, concreted, undercover space with no sides. Sadly, Kevin was not to see the full fruits of his devoted commitment to TAS. He retired due to illness and later passed away. His legacy as the inaugural Principal, however, lives on. He was succeeded by Mr Ted Hook in June 1983. Mr Hook remained for a short time of service.
Trinity Anglican School was officially opened on May 28, 1983 by Mrs Daphne Davis, a major financial supporter of the new school. The school was built with firm foundations, supported by the TAS families, the community, the Mulgrave Shire Council and local politicians – all of whom worked tirelessly to have the school ready for the children.
Although the badge has altered slightly, the same essence exists. It still bears the same motto “teaching them to observe all things”, and students still sing the same Psalm “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help – my help cometh from the Lord”.
This will continue for yet another 30 years and beyond – building further strong foundations for those who pass through the gates.
Thank-you to all the unsung heroes for their commitment and their vision, and congratulations for the support and perseverance of “those who come behind” to bring to Cairns a school of which we can all be proud.”