Reflecting on a legacy and embracing new traditions

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 2021?

Traditions are not static: they evolve over time. Change is necessary for growth and is often a positive force. Last year presented us with the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and, with that, change and disruption have been our constant companions. We have had to adapt to these difficult changes, often with great courage and determination. We have had to think of new ways of doing things and new ways of seeing the world around us. We have had to work together and be creative and adaptive.

Now that we have returned to school life, events such as the familiar Founders Day are both a reconnection and affirming assurance of our community.

On Founders Day, we celebrate the men and women from the Baptist Union and the Baptist community who helped create Carey Baptist Grammar School in 1923. 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 quite intense. Promises of donations at the end of 1923 fell short and an overdraft was authorised. Further cost cutting measures were implemented, including Carey community labour to build cricket pitches and a tuck shop, which was helpful in creating a sense of community and ownership of the new school.

Thankfully the struggles were overcome, and the settlement of the purchase of the property known as Urangeline was officially celebrated and endorsed on 9 December 1922, with a garden party attended by 2500 guests, many wearing the Carey colours of black, gold and blue.[1] The School then opened to students on 13 February 1923, with a cohort of 69 boys.

The continued celebration of Founders Day has evolved over time alongside the School. We are now fortunate to include in our celebrations the arrival of the Inaugural Girls, in 1979, 42 years ago. The move to co-education is widely viewed as one of the best decisions the School has made.

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 passed down from generation to generation. At Carey, this is potently symbolised in the figure of the torchbearer. This enduring symbol represents the evolution of our culture and traditions as a strong, caring community that values the legacy of the Founders of Carey and the courage of their convictions.

In 2021, we use this opportunity to reflect on and embrace new traditions that are inclusive of our entire School and make us the strong, connected community we are today.

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

Joanne Horsley, Archivist
Community Engagement

[1] By Courage and Faith, Stuart Sayers p11.