My wife and I are currently renovating an old “workers’ cottage”. As part of that project, I have been investigating its history. The land was originally owned by a Mr Louden, but was then subdivided and the block we have bought was purchased by Sarah Jarvis in 1910. I can only assume that the house was built shortly after that. Buying an old home and restoring it to what it once was places you on a continuum. We are not the first “custodians” of that property, nor will we be the last. We are just part of the story.
The land on which St Paul’s School stands was originally a camp site for the local indigenous people. In 1886, European settlers came into possession of it and farmed the land for the next 70 odd years. St Paul’s School is the current custodian.
Sixty years ago this year, a “foundation stone” was laid marking the beginning of the third custodian’s story of this land. But instead of a foundation stone, Mr NR Henry, a pathologist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, was commissioned to create a unique sun dial to be the “foundation stone”.
On 5 November 1960, in front of a crowd of some 1500 people, the Governor of Queensland unveiled the sun dial. The next day, the Courier Mail reported the then Education Minister as saying, “St Paul’s is certainly starting off being different”. It would seem we have lived up to those words!
The sun dial is a wonderful metaphor. Its purpose is to tell the time. This particular sun dial also tells the day, the month and the year. But it only works if it is in the light.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus declares: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
We were designed with a purpose in mind. I have come to realise that that purpose can only be truly fulfilled if we are standing in the light of Jesus.
2020 is going to be a great year of celebration: 60 years of remarkable Faith, Learning and Community on 125 acres in Bald Hills.
Dr Paul Browning