Magis News

Dr Annette Pedersen - Magis & Ignatius Centre Coordinator

On Thursday 21 June we held our Magis Carnival for gifted Years 11 and 12 students. Students from Sacred Heart College, Iona Presentation College, Prendiville Catholic College, Newman College and Mercedes College joined our students to discuss some complex philosophical propositions. The theme for the Carnival was "ethics" in relation to class, race, gender and technology. Students were given the topics to think about some weeks ago. After small group discussions all the students joined a round table discussion on an unknown topic. They considered CRISPR genome editing in the light of the Holocaust and pondered; "Do people living in the present have more value than future persons". The students delighted teachers with their insightful, intelligent questions and statements. It was difficult to find a place to stop discussion and the students are all keen to have another such opportunity.

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On Friday we celebrated the Magis Mass. It was good to see so many of our students attend this community event. This week Magis students were busy with College events including the Year 9 Social on Tuesday night. Magis students again were DJs and provided technical expertise to ensure the event was a success. Any student from Year 7 to Year 12 is welcome to attend Magis Production meetings where they can have the opportunity to learn these skills. Meetings are advertised on SEQTA. On Saturday 2 July our Magis Debating Team leaves for the Jesuit Debating Carnival at Loyola Senior High School in Sydney. The Team met with Old Boy William Paparo for a tutorial on Monday. William was Captain of the first team we sent to the Jesuit Debating Carnival in 2013. We wish our students luck and look forward to hearing about this wonderful experience next term.


Magis History Project

Harry Denman-Francis

In the Magis project Year 9s with a partner from Year 12 have studied on an individual time the John XXlll College history about Aboriginal peoples known as the Wadjuk Nyungar people. After this research, the Year 12s will then write a book. With this experience we also gain knowledge of the people who once controlled these lands. We hope to understand how they had survived for so long until colonisation started, leading to white men or Europeans controlling this land known as Australia. We don't necessarily learn about Australia, but we learn about this region we know as Claremont and the central bilateral area. The goal for the Magis project is basically learn about the area we live in and use that information to write a newsletter or a book.

Information on the pre colonisation:

Pre colonisation, the Wadjuk Nyungars controlled the area of Claremont and the metropolitan area. As they controlled Claremont and the metropolitan area they had paths that would lead them to each place. (Which was a very smart idea as they did not have roads or signs telling them which way and how far to go). Not only did they have a smart way to know where they were, but they were also very good at hunting for food known as bush tucker. Using their very clever brains they had created things that would help them catch bush tucker by using boomerangs and spears.

What was very interesting to know was that before the colonisation the people had been very kind to one another (the Europeans and the Aboriginals), then one thing lead to another and Europeans started killing the Aboriginals. Even the diseases that the Europeans had brought with them would end up killing the Aboriginals as they were not used to and did not have any medical information about the new diseases.

Even their government, known as their tribe, had a smart way of having a stable tribe. The tribe had three classes of the tribe, the chief, the elders and the workers (hunters, builders, etc.). The tribes in Claremont and the metropolitan area used these classes as they were very successful in the ways they put into action. We sort of use this way even today as we have the royalty, then people in parliament and then the all day workers (teachers, builders, architects, etc).

That is what we have learnt so far in our project. There is another 2 terms to come, to learn about the magnificent ways that people had lived back then (pre-colonisation) in Claremont and the metropolitan area.

Penny Dwyer

Gabi and Alison went to the State Library of Western Australia to further research the Swanbourne and Claremont area for their end of year project. From their visit they came across a number of photos from 1901-1914 which included Claremont's Hospital for the insane. The two were also able to interview Pamela Mikus, who had previously written a thesis on the history of Graylands as a suburb. She was able to provide the Year 12s with insightful information, such as references to books to help further their research. Pamela's original hope in creating the thesis was to find out more about the story of Mr Grey, however as her research continued she came to find that none of her original story was true. The more research she did the more intrigued she became in completing her study.

Lucy Jenkins

1931-1960 was a key era in the development of the Claremont area. Many significant events occurred during this period that have made Claremont the area it is today.

An example of this is Claremont Hospital's serious overcrowding issues in 1993. It is reported to have housed 800 males and 528 females in a report on 30 June 1993.

In 1952 the general Claremont area had a bad odour problem. It was experienced for a short period due to the sewerage treatment plant. This particular sewerage treatment plant is in the same location today as in 1952.

A key group in the period of 1931-1960 is the Claremont Voluntary Aid Detachment, also known as the VAD. This group was founded in 1909 with the help of the Red Cross. Military authorities did not accept the VAD at the front line in WW2. This led to their predominant setup based in Claremont. Their tasks included cleaning and kitchen duties. They also commonly dealt with bathing wounded patients. The members of the VAD were conservatively dressed females who were not married. This was due to the fact that married woman were responsible for caring for their husbands and their households.

Another opening that was significant was the opening of the Claremont speedway.

More key dates in Claremont during this period include the building of the polo ground in the centre of Belmont race track, the building of Claremont oval grandstand in 1944, Claremont Lake used as rubbish tip in 1960, Claremont show grounds opening in 1954 and the Claremont speedway opening in 1946.

Julius Fleming-Wilson

This term in the MAGIS program my partner Johnny and I have been researching the Mt Claremont area history from 1960 through to 1975. We have been on a trip together to the State Library and learnt how to use microfiche to look at newspapers from the time. We also learnt how to surf the web for valuable information. Johnny also went himself for another visit to the Library which was a great way for him to get ahead with the project and grasp a better understanding of the history of the Mt Claremont region. The readily available technology at the State Library although outdated helped us majorly with this task.

One of the most interesting things we discovered was about the Eric Edgar Cooke trial which took place during our time. He was the last man to be hanged in Western Australia, specifically at Fremantle prison. Eric Edgar Cooke, nicknamed the "Night Caller", was an Australian serial killer. From 1959 to 1963, he terrorised the city of Perth, Western Australia, by committing 22 violent crimes, eight of which resulted in deaths.

Johnny and I have much yet to discover about our time period and about the Mt Claremont region in which our beautiful school is situated.

Karl Maluga

Together with my partners from Year 12, Rhys and Jarrad, we have taken a look into the time frame of 1975 to 1986 of John XXIII College history, with a special focus on the development of the land site, for the Magis History Project.

A good starting point for the research was the presentation by former Business Manager at John XXIII College, Des Hardiman, titled 'Taking Stewardship of the Land', in which the area of 25 hectares (62 acres) is referred to originally as 'Graylands' and then Mt Claremont in 1984. Pamela Mikus in her thesis 'Graylands: The evolution of a suburb', contributes a great deal to historic events, for example that Maria Gray owned many blocks of land, known as Swan Location 429, in the area, which she began to sell in 1896 under the banner of 'Graylands Estate'. First a hunting and gathering area for the Wadjuk Nyungar people (Mooro land people), from 1829 - 1900 farming and market garden areas, social housing for the 'unwanted' (psychiatric hospital) from 1903 to today and from 1960 to 1996 a landfill rubbish dump, referred to as the old Brockway landfill.

According to the Department of Environment Regulation records, this land, which lies between Brockway Road in the east, Stephenson Avenue in the west, the sporting complex to the north and school playing fields to the south, has been reported as a 'known or suspected contaminated site'. The groundwater beneath the site contains nutrients and some metals, such as iron and cadmium at concentration exceeding domestic non-potable use criteria as published in 'Contaminated Sites Reporting Guideline for Chemicals in Groundwater' (Department of Health, 2006). Some metals, pesticides and hydrocarbons were present in groundwater at concentrations that exceed Groundwater Investigation Levels for fresh waters and drinking.

Other than for analytical testing or remediation, groundwater abstraction is not permitted at this site because of the nature and extent of groundwater contamination. Landfill material remains buried beneath the site. The land use is therefore restricted to recreational open space. The site cannot be developed for a residential use or childcare centres without further contamination assessment. After the closure of the landfill, a one meter sand cap was installed over the former landfill area and only 75% of the site meeting the 1 meter depth requirement.

A powerful source of information is found in the book 'Beyond all Telling' by our very own Sister Anne Carter IBVM, covering the history of Loreto in Western Australia 1897-1997. In Chapters 34 'Consolidation', Chapter 35 'People, Progress and Problems' and Chapter 36 'In Defence', Sister Anne Carter provides a deep inside into the financial negotiations and considerations that led to the 'Strategy Plan' as well as obstacles that had to be overcome to buy the site. Dr Peter Tannock, then Director of Catholic Education of WA, stated that 'the generosity of the Loreto Sisters and the Jesuits in handing over their properties without cost should not be forgotten.'

I think that we have just touched the surface in our research and I am looking forward to contributing with my partners to this project.

Olivia Purnell

Bella and I received the most recent time frame, 1986 to present time. We covered all sorts of aspects of Mount Claremont including the amalgamation of St Louis and Loreto schools, the closing of the Claremont hospital for the insane and the Claremont murders. We have explored the different aspects of the formation of John XXIII College including the items of significance present in the College and the way that the College was set up. We researched into the different aspects of the Claremont hospital for the insane including how they were treated and what kind of noises where heard from the hospital. Finally we investigated the 3 Claremont murders that happened in 1996-1997. The deaths of Sarah Spiers, Jane Kimmer and Ciara Glennon has had the police baffled as they have not yet found the body of Sarah Spiers or the murderer who has killed these three girls.