What Founders Day represents, 97 years on

Why is the tradition of celebrating Founders Day at Carey important? How does this tradition at the School help our community? Is Founders Day relevant to Carey in 2020?

Traditions are not static – they evolve over time. Change is necessary for growth and is often a positive force. New generations bring new thoughts and ideas, new ways of doing things and new ways of seeing the world around us.

On Wednesday 12 February, we celebrate Founders Day and the men and women from the Baptist Union and the Baptist community who helped create Carey Baptist Grammar School in 1923, for the education of boys. If not for the inspiration and enthusiasm of individuals such as Revd Tranter and the tireless fundraising efforts of Revd Cartwright, it is not an exaggeration to say that Carey may not be in existence today.

Nonetheless, the early days of the School were a financial struggle shadowed by debt that was at times intense. Promises of donations at the end of 1923 fell short and an overdraft was authorised. Further cost-cutting measures were implemented, including the Carey community’s labour to build cricket pitches and a tuck shop, which was helpful in creating a sense of community and ownership of the new school.

The settlement of the purchase of the property known as Urangeline was officially celebrated and endorsed on 9 December 1922 at a well-attended garden party, where many of the guests wore the Carey colours of black, gold and blue.

The School opened on 14 February 1923 with 69 boys, three of whom are absent in the official photo. The continued celebration of Founders Day has evolved alongside the School community and now includes the arrival of Inaugural Girls in 1979, 41 years ago. The move to co-education is widely viewed as one of the best decisions the School has made.

In 2020, we can reflect on the changes the school has been through, and use Founders Day as an opportunity to not only celebrate the beginning of our school, but its journey to becoming the progressive, inclusive and highly successful school it is today. From just 69 students in 1923 to 2500 students today, we can certainly be proud of our heritage.

The traditions that change and adapt through the generations are the ones that survive. Traditions such as the celebration of Founders Day reinforce the values customs and beliefs passed down from generation to generation. At Carey, this is potently symbolised in the figure of the torchbearer. The evolution of our culture and traditions is part of what makes us such a strong, caring community, who values the legacy of the Founders of Carey, and in recent times the courage of their convictions to include the education of girls from 1979. In 2020 it makes sense to reflect on and embrace new traditions that brought our community to where it is today.

For references in this article, please contact the Carey Archives office.

Joanne Horsley, Archivist
Community Engagement