PAC’s Sesquicentenary Year in Review

Author: Jenny Daly, PAC Sesquicentenary Project Manager.

As Prince Alfred College’s 150th Anniversary year draws to a close, it is timely to reflect upon the many achievements, activities and opportunities provided by this historic milestone.

Throughout the year, the Prince Alfred College students, staff, families, Old Scholars, wider communities and associated organisations have enthusiastically embraced all aspects of the celebration.

The festivities commenced on Friday 18 January, 2019 with a commemorative morning tea to recognise the first day of school for Prince Alfred College exactly 150 years prior.  The event took place at the former Pirie Street Lecture Hall (which was the interim location for classes while building was being finalised at the Kent Town site) and specifically recognised those students and families that were there on day one of school.  An impressive number of these early families have maintained a strong, supportive connection with the College and are now 4th, 5th or 6th generation PAC families.

In February the focus was on staff, both past and present, with a Staff Reunion Family Day which saw over 300 people enjoy an afternoon of fine food, entertainment and comradery. All in attendance were gifted a special issue Sesquicentenary Pin to acknowledged the hard work and commitment they and their predecessors have provided to the College across its rich 150-year history.

March saw the hosting of PAC’s first International Women’s Day Luncheon which recognised the vital role that women have and will continue to contribute to the success of the College. Over 220 attendees enjoyed a highly entertaining address from comedian Fiona O’Loughlin followed by a hotly contested debate on the topic of: “It’s been 150 Years….is PAC overdue for a female Head of School?

A long-awaited highlight of the Sesquicentenary year was the official opening of the new Boarding House on 20 June 2019, which was also the anniversary of the day the inaugural opening of the College. This event provided supporters, families and invited guests with an opportunity to view the newly opened state-of-the-art boarding facilities.

July, being the actual month that school commenced at the College in 1859, was the peak celebratory period offering a variety of key events commencing with the 150th Anniversary Gala Dinner at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Over 1100 guests took part in an outstanding evening of world class entertainment, quality food and beverages along with moving speeches and presentations.  Our student’s musical prowess was also well showcased with entertainment from a range of College Bands and Drum Corps in addition to a highly energised music from local and national dance bands.

The ever-popular and highly moving Old, Old Boys Assembly took place at the College the week after the Dinner on July 26 and was followed by the Sesquicentenary Service of Thanksgiving at the Wesley Church, Kent Town. Renowned organist and PAC Old Scholar, Prof. Mel Waters, joined with PAC and Wesley Church Choirs to provide an outstanding musical component to this historical service.

During July and August, the Preparatory School also had a strong Sesquicentenary focus via a display in the library that conveyed what an 1800’s classroom would have been like for our earliest students.

In September, music once again came to the fore with PAC’s Performing Arts Department presenting the Sesquicentenary Showcase which celebrated our 150th year with a set of performances from our highly talented students which included many eras and styles of music. PAC’s musical expertise was further highlighted later that month by a special performance by the Big Band at the Yorke Peninsula Field Days in recognition of the key role that SA’s regional areas have played in the growth of PAC’s boarding program.

October provided the opportunity to recognise a student led project that resulted in the creation of a Sesquicentenary Time Capsule to be opened in time for the College’s Bicentenary in fifty years’ time.   In late October PAC was very honoured to be offered a Civic Reception in recognition of our Sesquicentenary, by the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters. Hosted by Mayor Robert Bria and Councillors at the St Peters Banquet Hall.

The final official Sesquicentenary event was held on 28 November, in the form of a literary soiree featuring PAC 150 Book author, Rob Linn, who provided attendees with details on the inner workings of compiling such an historic publication.

Throughout the duration of the celebration there were also a variety of special projects undertaken such as the development of a dedicated Sesquicentenary Website,  publication of a  Sesquicentenary Calendar of Events, commissioning of the PAC 150 Book in both Classic and Premium Editions, the production of a range of quality 150thAnniversary memorabilia,  PAC 150 branding and promotion throughout the school campus, the writing, filming and compilation of two Sesquicentenary Videos and regular social media updates.

In summary, PAC’s Sesquicentenary celebrations, while undeniably epic, have been about so much more than just the events and activities.  It has been an amazing coming together of resources, time, talents, hard work, generosity and expertise of the entire College Community.

Jenny Daly
PAC Sesquicentenary Project Manager