We have come a long way from Tuesday 4 February 2003, when 128 students arrived at GMAS for the very first time. Today, GMAS is 'home' for over 1,200 students and 136 staff across four sub-schools.
How it all began
In September 1996, The Right Reverend Bishop Tom Wilmot (then a Reverend), was commissioned as the Rector of the Anglican Parish of Busselton. At this time, there was a distinct need for an Anglican school in the region.
Busselton and Dunsborough were growing in population and all existing schools were at capacity. A large number of Anglican families were enrolling their children in local Catholic schools.
Reverend Tom writes his recollection below:
"It was brought home to me by Catholic Father Leon Russell who stopped me in my tracks in the main street of Busselton one day in January 1997 with the question "when are you going to build an Anglican school?" Note the good Father only asked when the school would be built sooner rather than later, assumed and not negotiable!
With Father Leon's question ringing in my ears I formed the first school Steering Committee to explore the development of an Anglican School Commission school on the Cape. The ASC was an obvious avenue of development given their brief to establish low fee Anglican schools.
We met with the then CEO of the ASC, Michael Bromilow, who briefed us with a constitution, his vision and a time line for development. His caution was "you will need to commit a lot of energy to this project over a long period of time for it to come to fruition". Those words became our motivational touchstone over the many obstacles of the subsequent years.
Like all grand designs and big dreams, the idea of a school met with great acceptance and some resistance, both from unlikely quarters. Public meetings were held to raise community awareness and solicit expressions of interest from parents who may enrol children at the school."
The Steering Committee, guided by Michael Bromilow and chaired by Rev'd Tom were tasked with finding an appropriate site, engaging architect Darryl Way, creating a school crest and choosing a patron for the school.
The initial site for the school was centred around the Vasse township, but the eventual site of Yalyalup was selected with 15.2 hectare parcel of land, being developed by Nigel Satterley. The land was generously donated by the Campion family, the Godecke family, John Markham and Colin Heath.
This location on the high profile Bussell Highway, with it's links to Vasse, Dunsborough and Margaret River proved ideal.
The ASC appointed Ross Switzer as the first Principal of GMAS. He and his family relocating to Busselton from Cairns, arriving the day after planning permission was granted.
At the start of the 2003 academic year, GMAS opened its gates to 128 Foundation students. Each subsequent year to follow has seen GMAS grow from strength to strength.
Over the course of the years to come, the school campus expanded to accommodate several new builds including an Early Learning Centre and a Multipurpose Activity Centre (MAC).
Georgiana Molloy (1805-1843) is the patron and namesake of our school. As an early settler in the South West, Georgiana was of Anglican faith and an avid collector of botany.
Georgiana and her husband Captain James Molloy, first resided in Augusta before moving to the peaceful banks of the Vasse River near Busselton, at the house she knew as Fairlawn.
Georgiana's life as an early settler wasn't easy, however in the course of her journey, Georgiana awoke to Australia's natural beauty and discovered her own freedom. Being in the bush became her ''all consuming passion" as she developed friendships with the local Aboriginal community and collected plant specimens, preserving them with great precision and sending them back to England.
Georgiana's life is of inspiration for people living in today's world. The school's motto 'Rejoice in Service' reflects Georgiana's exceptional courage, kindness and faith.
The School Crest
The GMAS school crest is derived from an original design by the inaugural Chairman of the School Council, The Right Reverend Bishop Tom Wilmot and the family of the late George Webb.
The ellipse shape symbolises an egg and points to the Easter resurrection of Jesus, the creative nature of God and the fruitfulness of life.
The Bishop's Mitre and the two tabs symbolise the New and Old Testaments.
The black and white hands illustrate the open and trusting relationship between Georgiana Molloy and the Indigenous people who are the traditional owners of the land on which the school stands.
The hands are joined through the holding of a Coolamon which is an Aboriginal water vessel. The Coolamon holds life giving water and together with the flame, symbolises the Christ light, baptism and new life.
The Australian Christmas Tree flower is the species registered in the British Museum, by Georgiana Molloy.
The school motto 'Rejoice in Service' is at the base of the crest.
Merciful God, whose word called creation into being, call us through this school into your community of faith and to the fullness of Christ. May we who are nurtured here learn to rejoice in your service, we who are blessed here, become a blessing to others everywhere all the days of our lives. Amen.