Past Staff

Brian Brown

inducted 2024 Service

At one of the staff farewell events in recent years, a staff member commented in their farewell speech, that if a nuclear bomb was to go off, the only things to survive would be cockroaches, and Brian Brown. Since his beginnings with the Emmanuel family, Mr Brown has been an enduring support to staff and students alike, no matter what the situation or challenge being faced. So it is with no surprise that it was an emotional farewell, as he began a well-earned retirement at the end of last year.

Before Mr Brown arrived in Warrnambool, his early years out of school saw him focusing on football, playing over 50 games professionally, first for Fitzroy (now the Brisbane Lions), then briefly for Essendon.

He was offered his first job teaching by Br John Wright at Parade College, an all-boys school, where he taught PE. After 3 years there, Brian was keen to get out of the city and returned to Colac for a teaching position at Trinity College, before moving on to St Ann’s College in 1988 as the Sportsmaster.

“The girls were passionate about their sport. It was pretty strong comp then.” He recalls, “I remember, there was two things: the netball was very strong; And the other team I did coach was a hockey team. I didn’t know much about hockey at all, but we had some really good players.”

Seeing St Ann’s through to the end, 1991 quickly rolled around - the dawning of Emmanuel College - and the opportunity to create some new traditions. Mr Brown remembers how he tried to get dance into the PE curriculum.

“When I was at Trinity, one of their traditions in Year 10 was an old-time dance, and the kids used to love it. We’d do old-time dancing for PE, and then by the end of it, you’d be having lunch time sessions training them up for the old-time dance social. They were great. The kids would have a blast. I tried to bring it down here, but no way known were they going to. Didn’t want a bar of it.”

A tradition that he and his students did kick start was the Emmanuel Day girls football match. “It was a lot of fun. I’d always coach the Year 11 Team, and McCluskey would coach the Year 12 Team. Invariably the Year 12s won . . . well sometimes they cheated . . . or paid the umpires or whatever . . . cos we came close a few times, but we could never get our nose in front. I think we did win one year, but there was plenty of flack from the Year 12s.”

Another iconic Emmanuel experience loved by the students that Mr Brown remembers were the Rock 2 Reef trips. “They were terrific trips. I went on 3 of them. I just loved the inland, and then the coast stuff . . . even the bus ride at the start was great. It was just a great time for the kids to get to know each other. The kids had a lot of fun, and you made really strong relationships with the kids.”

Perhaps more iconic than the trips themselves were the Red Faces Acts performed on the trip. “I certainly remember the first one!” he laughs. “We were at Uluru. And there was myself and Robbie Lee up on top of the camper trailer doing Priscilla Queen of the Dessert.”

Mr Brown also highlights the Sports Academy Camps as great experiences for the students, particularly the footy camps. “With our contacts we were able to get access to some really good AFL Assistant Coaches and they’d take kids for training sessions, and we’d go to a game. They were great trips.”

Mr Brown’s open and positive approach to working with students and staff, along with his drive to seek out what could be done better, made him a natural leader. From his early years as Sportsmaster, Mr Brown has since held the leadership roles of Year 9 Coordinator, Junior Campus Coordinator, Year 12 Coordinator, Sports Coordinator, VCE Coordinator and Deputy Principal – Students.

His leadership style has lived the advice he would give to students. “I was a great believer in kids getting in and having a go. To be able to do that, you had to provide a wide variety of opportunities, and encourage kids to be involved.”

A wide variety of activities were certainly backed by Brownie. From the Academy of Sport, to the choir, to chess, the Fun4Kids zoo, or merit points . . if it was something that got the students excited, Brian was too, and would help in some way to get it to happen.

“I enjoyed leadership, but I actually enjoyed going back and being a Homeroom Teacher. You have a significant influence on the students, and you don’t realise it at the time.”

Of all his achievements, he cites the development of Student Wellbeing to be one “that I’m pretty proud of”.

On commencing his role as Deputy Principal, and therefore head of Student Wellbeing, he went and completed a Master of Education (Student Wellbeing) at Melbourne University to improve his understanding of what could be done. As part of his studies, he did an action research project which resulted in Wellbeing rolling out the TOGETHER campaign.

Other Wellbeing projects Mr Brown drove during his time as DP were the rollout of the Respectful Relationships program, attracting the support of the Standing Tall program, and perhaps the most significant was his work with pastoral staff to develop the role of the Homeroom Teacher further.

However we all know what Mr Brown’s biggest love at Emmanuel was - McAuley House!

“I was always pretty passionate about my McAuley/Green House kids. Back in the early days of Emmanuel, I was heavily involved in it – and we had great success. Then it all fell away for a number of years. So I was passionate about getting us back up there.”

“I have to say that throughout my time here, we’ve been very fortunate, certainly with the leaders that we’ve had, and the staff we’ve had. Very fortunate. We’ve got great kids. Great kids.”