Bob Whiteway Resource Centre

Opening Speech  

2018 Community Day

Presented by 2018 Year 7 student, Jordan Davies 

We as the Foundation students of Beaumaris Secondary college are connected in a unique way to our predecessors the alumni of Beaumaris High School that opened 60 years ago on this site. Thank you to all the alumni who have joined us for the special day today.

Teachers are at the core of education they promote curiosity with challenging questions, they are optimistic because they always have hope in our future, they respect how we learn and who we are and they encourage excellence by helping us be the best we can be.

So, it is fitting that we are honouring a teacher who did that for so many students in his career. Mr Bob Whiteway began teaching at Beaumaris High School in 1965. His career as an educator here spanned 37 years. He taught PE, Geography and initiated Economics at the school which he taught for a further 5 years. His main focus was his Geography classes and in 1972 he began the now famous ‘Skin Diving Program’ in term 1 for year 10 students. Many of his past students describe how it opened a new underwater world for them, inspiring their interests in coastal and underwater environments. The course finished with an exciting dive into the wreck of the Cerberus (back before 1993 when you were allowed to dive in it!

Mr Whiteway brought a unique teaching approach to the classroom creating excitement and enthusiasm with the students for example creating ‘theatre’ in a darkened classroom with candles to explain the solar system or taking the classroom outside in the local environment which he loved, to teach the children through first-hand experience which has inspired our teachers to continue the Beaumaris tradition of using our local environment.

One of his students Melissa Treverton wrote:

“He made us laugh, he made us think and he made us wonder. His passion for education was infectious both in and out of the classroom and more often than not that classroom was Ricketts point. He was one of those teachers who changed lives. Changed them by modelling what it was to have a deep passion for something that you valued; By believing in and valuing the ideas brewing within the young minds of his students and by showing us that you never stopped learning in life.”

Beyond the classroom, Mr Whiteway is a long standing and well-respected member of the community of Bayside. He is well known in the community through his lifelong passion for the environment & in particular, his dedication towards the coastal and marine environment. Some of his achievements are:

  • Life Member of Marine Care
  • Life member of the Black Rock and Sandringham Conservation Association–President for 5 years
  • Life member of Sustainable Population Australia (Vic president for 5 years)
  • Instrumental in the creation of the Rickett’s Point Marine Sanctuary
  • Victoria Coastal Award – Lifetime Achievement
  • Bayside Citizen of the Year – 2003
  • OAM 2013 – Contribution to conservation and the environment

In addition, he has produced numerous works in his fields of passion:

  • Film – Coastal Wildlife of Sandringham
  • Educational booklets on coastal life
  • He published his First book in 2015 “Teacher Inside Out” which is an account of his time teaching at Beaumaris High. His 2nd book “Teacher Down Under” follows his adventures with his students on the ‘Skin Diving Program’ is about to be published.

Those 2 books will definitely be in the Resource centre that is named after him. Mr Bob Whiteway is certainly deserving of this naming and I would like to invite him up to say a few words and unveil the plaque.