Vale Bob Whiteway

We were saddened to hear of the recent passing of a former Beaumaris High School teacher and active community member, Bob Whiteway. Bob has a legacy that reaches beyond his teaching at Beaumaris High School and extends to our current Beaumaris Secondary College in the form of our Bob Whiteway Resource Centre. Here is the history of Bob’s connection to our college and the community that was part of the Community Open Day in 2018.

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 and in particular, his dedication towards the coastal and marine environment. Some of his achievements are listed below:

• 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 Ricketts 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 Beaui High. His 2nd book “Teacher Down Under” follows his adventures with his students on the ‘Skin Diving Program’ is about to be published.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Bob on a number of occasions and his knowledge, passion and care for our community and environment was a central guiding force. On behalf of the Beaumaris Secondary College Community, we send our thoughts and condolences to the Whiteway family.

Debby Chaves