Mr Matthew said he worked with a “terrific team” in the six months before the school’s opening in January 1990.
First principal Stephen Matthew was at Scotch College, Adelaide, contemplating a move to Queensland, when he saw an advertisement in The Australian newspaper for a Foundation Principal on the Sunshine Coast.
Speaking at a ‘Legend’s Lunch’, held in 2019 with some of Matthew Flinders Anglican College’s key supporters and initiators, Stephen said, “I thought, ‘where’s Buderim’, and got the map out. ‘Oh, that’s where the ginger comes from,’ he recalls.
Mr Matthew said he worked with a “terrific team” in the six months before the school’s opening in January 1990. “It was an exciting time to have buildings ready for the kids for the first day,” he said.
Mr Matthew said the spirit of the parent body in the early days needed to be acknowledged. He recalled two, of countless, examples of generosity in these years. “Parents came to me and said we would like to organise a flagpole – the official opening by the Governor is coming up and we need to have a flag pole. A couple of years later, parents organised lights for the oval. I salute the movers and shakers of those early years of Flinders.”
Founding Chairman of Matthew Flinders Anglican College, property developer Rod Forrester, holds Stephen in high regard. He recalls Stephen’s vision from the early days, even before the school was built. “It was Stephen who had the vision for the school and the way it would be,” Rod said. “The vision he created was all about educating the whole student. He used to say, ‘It’s not just academics – our students also need to have the opportunity to explore music, the arts and sport’.”
“He explained to parents considering joining Flinders for its founding year that the motto for the new school would be: faith, skill and endeavour. That resonated with everyone locally. They felt that it was going to be better than a normal school. That ‘whole child’ focus has clearly been continued now,” Rod said.
“Academics, music and the arts, sport and community service were a very strong part of Flinders when we were there in those early years, and I know that after Stephen retired in 1999, the next Principal, Anthony Vincent, kept it going,” rod said. “Anthony was very strong in that regard as he had spent two years as Stephen’s deputy, learning and understanding the vision.”
The focus on ‘quality education for the whole child’ continues with Stuart Meade as Principal today.
Read more about Stephen’s contribution to the College’s foundation here.
Stephen’s first Principal’s Report is shared below.
First Principal’s Report
The Investigator, 1990 by Stephen Matthew
“It was Stephen who had the vision for the school and the way it would be. The vision he created was all about educating the whole student. He used to say, ‘It’s not just academics – our students also need to have the opportunity to explore music, the arts and sport’.”Rod Forrester, Founding Chair, Matthew Flinders Anglican College