Category Archives: Senior Library

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2017 TEDxYouth@BGS

Last Friday, 200 students and guests enjoyed the culmination of months of planning and hard work when they attended our second TEDxYouth@BGS, held in the Forum.  TEDx is a worldwide program, consisting of locally organised TED events where local speakers can showcase their ideas and inspiring stories, and we were very proud that two of our staff members – Scott Jones, Physics Teacher and Rick Pendleton, Swimming Coach – and three of our Year 12 students – Ashmit Vyas, Sam Souyave-Murphy and Edmond Chang – were all willing to share their ideas with a global audience.

Our event represented an outstanding achievement, not only by the speakers, but also by the team of students who worked tirelessly in the background to organise the speakers, the performers, the program, the website, the ticketing, the marketing, the parking, the catering, the AV, the recording, the photography and the overall smooth running of the event on the day.

We were also extremely fortunate to have the help of a speaker coach this year, Carl Lindgren, who has been involved in TEDx since its worldwide inception, and who generously gave up hours of his time to help create a wonderful event that Brisbane Grammar School can be proud of.

To access the website, click here:

To access the photos, click here:

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The 2017 Tea Duel Competition – Duel you Fool!! …and they did!

Under the expert eye of our Tea Duelling Tiffen Master, Mr Michael Moloney, the second annual Tea Duelling competition was as intense as it was tumultuous. The last week of a long busy term is a perfect time for Year 12s (and teachers) to let down their hair. On the teacher’s team, we had a perfect blend of youth (Amy Busuttin and Julia Brereton) and wily experience (David Hills and David Carroll). On the boy’s team there was a galaxy of sporting and academic talent from the Dux of School, Joshua, to resident sporty types Olly, Will and Hugo. On the last Thursday lunchtime of term two, the players were ready to rumble.

The action was fast and furious. The crowd that packed the Learning Commons alternated between elation and despair. There was shock after schlock. Just when the crowd thought they had seen it all, pandemonium ensued when one of the biscuits turned out to be made of acrylic! Mr Dan O’Kane was given the red card – disqualification – without a doubt the most controversial moment in the entire history of Tea Duelling at Brisbane Grammar School. The competitors were stunned but had to carry on. In the semi-finals, Ms Brereton beat Olly while Phillip used a “half-drop” with stunning poise and timing to edge out Ms Busuttin. Mr Moloney’s cups of team may have been losing their heat but the Tiffen Master was on fire! The grand final pitted Ms Brereton against Gareth and the winner was…..Ms Brereton!! Congratulations to all who took part!!

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Our annual Tea Duel has been postponed!!

Due to Cyclone Debbie, the Tea Duel will now be held at the end of Term 2!!


Our second annual Tea Duel competition is fast approaching, with lunchtime next Thursday 30 March in the Library Learning Commons, the time and place of the big event!

Mr Russell, along with Berkeley and Tom of the Spirit Committee, have put together a ‘Breaking News Story’ which takes aim at our most controversial contestant from last year  – who has again entered the competition this year! This is a must-watch for any Tea Duel enthusiast… or anyone with a sense of humour!  The Library is also very appreciative of Mr Carroll’s good sportsmanship for taking part in the video interview.

For anyone not familiar with the eccentric sport that is ‘Tea Dueling’, last year’s promo video is included below.  This helps explain the rules somewhat, but just be aware that the day it mentions is from 2016! If you are a BGS student planning on attending the event,  make certain you come along next week on Thursday 30 March.

Happy Dunking!

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Somerset Literature Festival 2017

Each year Somerset College devotes an enormous amount of time and energy to organising the Somerset Celebration of Literature, a festival run over three days for schools and two days for the public, and it’s always a great place to listen to new and favourite authors. This year, some of our Year 9s and Year 6s enjoyed a day at the festival, with the Year 9s listening to Mark Smith, Shivaun Plozza, Fleur Ferris and Allison Goodman, and the Year 6s listening to Lance Balchin, Lucas Proudfoot, Matt Stanton and Professor Frankie Falconette.

Mark Smith grew up on a farm and at age 15 he’d never read a book.  He read Catcher in the Rye when recovering from falling off a horse, loved it and went on to become an English teacher and writer. The Road to Winter is book 1 of a trilogy, and is an Australian survival story set in a post-apocalyptic future. Mark’s advice to writers: Write what you know and are passionate about; take risks and persevere.

Alison Goodman creates vivid, believable worlds in her books, and has written fantasy (Eon and Eona), historical (Lady Helen) and science fiction novels (Singing the Dogstar Blues). She also likes to involve the five senses in her stories, and her example of her husband having a cortisone injection in his heel where the needle broke off was definitely told very vividly!

Shivaun Plozza realized she wanted to be an author and looked for different ways of achieving this, again and again until her book Frankie was published. Her advice to writers: Push through every single failure, as often the most determined and most stubborn authors get published.

Fleur Ferris was a paramedic and police officer from the age of 19 years.  She grew up on a 10,000 acre wheat farm and was a survivor of the Ash Wednesday bush fires. She always liked writing, and after her ordeal she wrote about the fires. For her, writing worked like medicine and speeded up her recovery. She has published three books: Risk, Black and Wreck. Fleur’s advice to writers: read widely and write about small incidents.

Lance Balchin is an artist who, through the medium of Photoshop, has created some amazing creatures in his book Mechanica: a beginners field guide. This is the first in a series of books, each page of which consists of a complex illustration and description of a mechanical creature.

Lucas Proudfoot held the audience in the palm of his hand through song, humour and storytelling. He played the didgeridoo, guitar and stomp box whilst encouraging the audience to learn more about indigenous cultures. Student David Butler took to the stage and performed the hula to the delight of other BGS boys in the Hall.

Matt Stanton has published a number of picture books for young people but his latest book is aimed decidedly at middle school readers. Called Funny Kid, the book tells the tale of Max, the class clown who is running for class president. Matt’s presentation had the audience rolling in the aisles and our boys are keen to grab a copy of the book when it is released.

Professor Frankie Falconette is a character brought to life by actor Nadia Sunde. Frankie is a Harry Potter enthusiast who brings to life the characters and creatures from the books. Her presentation included a reading of her favourite part of the first book in the series when Harry goes to Diagon Alley. There were also games to play and trivia questions for eager readers.




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Author Peadar O’Guilin ‘calls’ in to BGS

On Tuesday this week we were very fortunate to have Irish author, Peadar O’Guilin, visit our Senior Library to talk to three classes of Year 9 boys, while on tour to promote his new novel, The Call.  He had just arrived from the Perth Writers Festival, and is now on his way to Sydney and Melbourne to promote his book there.

Based on a mix of Irish mythology and horror, The Call tells the story of a brutal feud between the Sidhe (aka malevolent fairies/banshees) and humans. The Aes Sidhe, ancient rulers of Ireland, were banished to the greylands (a type of hell) many years ago after being defeated by humans, but now they have found a way to get back at humans by ‘calling’ every teenager into the greylands for a deadly game of survival. Each teen is only gone for 3 minutes and 4 seconds in human time, but this equates to 24 hours of terror and torment in Sidhe time. Normal schools no longer exist, and each remaining student learns only how to survive in the greylands. Many come back maimed or mutilated; many never come back at all – but one girl is determined to survive.

Read more about his book, or come to the Library to borrow a copy.


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Our OverDrive eBook Collection has grown

Here are a few series that have proven to be popular in hard copy and so, to help us keep up with demand, we now offer these great series as part of our OverDrive collection. 

Magisterium –  By Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Think you know magic? Think again. The Magisterium awaits . . .

Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial.  Not Callum Hunt.  Call has been told his whole life that he should never trust a magician. And so he tries his best to do his worst – but fails at failing.  Now he must enter the Magisterium.  It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister. And Call realizes it has dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.  The Iron Trial is just the beginning. Call’s biggest test is still to come . . .

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: The Iron Trial, The Copper Gauntlet, The Bronze Key.

Empire Series – By Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurst

Enter the mysterious and exotic world of Kelewan… Mara, the youngest child of the ancient and noble Acoma family, is about to take her pledge of servitude to the goddess Lashima when the ceremony is disrupted by news of her father and brother’s death in battle. Despite her grief, as the only surviving member of her house, Mara must now take up the mantles of Ruling Lady. But she soon discovers betrayal at the heart of her family’s loss, and the Acoma’s enemies have brought her house to the brink of utter destruction. Daughter of the Empire is the magnificent first book in The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts. Mara, an inexperienced political player, must draw on all her wit, intelligence and cunning to navigate the ruthless Game of the Council, regain the honour of House Acoma and secure the future of her family. But with assassins waiting around every corner, it might take everything Mara has simply to survive.

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: Daughter of the Empire, Mistress of the Empire, Servant of the Empire. 

The Belgariad – By David Eddings

Myths tell of the ancient wars of Gods and men, and a powerful object – the Orb – that ended the bloodshed. As long as it was held by the line of Riva, it would assure the peace.  But a dark force has stolen the Orb, and the prophecies tell of war.  Young farm boy Garion knows nothing of myth or fate, but then the mysterious Old Storyteller visits his aunt, and they embark on a sudden journey. Pursued by evil forces, with only a small band of companions they can trust, Garion begins to doubt all he thought he knew…

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician’s Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, Enchanter’s End Game.

Serpentwar By Raymond E. Feist

This is the first book in the bestselling Serpentwar series. A nest of vipers is stirring… Ancient powers are readying themselves for a devastating confrontation… A dark queen has raised her standard and is gathering armies of unmatched might. Into this battleground of good and evil a band of desperate men are forced, whose only hope for survival is to face this ancient power and discover its true nature. Among them are some unlikely heroes – Erik, an illegitimate heir denied his birthright, and his friend Roo, an irrepressible scoundrel with a penchant for thievery. They are accompanied by the mysterious Miranda, upon whom all must wager their lives.

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: Shadow of a Dark Queen, Rise of a Merchant Prince, Rage of a Demon King, Shards of a Broken Crown. 

Lord of the Rings By J.R.R. Tolkien

Continuing the story begun in The Hobbit, this is the first part of Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, featuring the definitive text and a detailed map of Middle-earth.  Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power – the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring – the ring that rules them all – which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.  In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.  J.R.R. Tolkien’s great work of imaginative fiction has been labelled both a heroic romance and a classic fantasy fiction. By turns comic and homely, epic and diabolic, the narrative moves through countless changes of scene and character in an imaginary world which is totally convincing in its detail.

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King.

The Iron Druid – By Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbours and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old — when, in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old! Not to mention: he draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power — plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic butt and deliver himself from evil.

– Goodreads

Books available in the series: Hounded, Hexed, Hammered.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyBy Douglas Adams

On 12 October 1979 the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor (and Earth) was made available to humanity – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and his best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed with the big, friendly words: DON’T PANIC.

The weekend has only just begun…

 – OverDrive

Books available in the series: The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long and Thanks for All the Fish; Mostly Harmless. 

The Phoenix Girls By Brian Knight

When thirteen-year-old orphan Penny Sinclair moves to the small town of Dogwood to live with her godmother, she expects her life to become very dull.  She doesn’t expect to find a strange talking fox roaming the countryside near her new home, a kindred spirit in her new friend Zoe, or the secret grove where they discover the long hidden magic of The Phoenix Girls.

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: The Conjuring Glass, The Crimson Brand, The Heart of the Phoenix. 






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Duke of Edinburgh Volunteers

Each year we have students volunteering in the library as part of the Service requirement for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.  These students assist with returns, collate statistics, help with displays, and search online for book summaries and cover images of new books. They also learn how to cover and repair books.

They quickly become independent workers, knowing what jobs need doing and working efficiently and diligently with all tasks. They are a great assistance to the library staff, allowing the staff to concentrate on other duties.

Written by BGS Library Technician Bernadette van den Hout

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Books and friendship combine in the BGS Book Clubs

The fantastic reading culture at Brisbane Grammar School is reflected in some of the extracurricular activities provided by the libraries.  BGS is lucky enough to have three different active book clubs for students to join throughout their time at Grammar, and these are a great opportunity to engage with books and other boys in a relaxed and social setting.


The Senior School’s Aficionados Club is available to boys in Years 9 & 10. This club discusses both books and movies, and meets in LC309 every second Friday lunchtime. Members are all offered the opportunity to attend the Somerset Festival of Literature later this term, and there is also the possibility during this year that the club will meet with other schools in the area for shared discussions.  If you are interested in joining, contact Ms Oxley.

Years 7 & 8 students may join our Inside Story Book Club which meets every Friday during lunch in the Centenary Library.  Members of the club in the past have represented BGS at the annual Readers Cup Competition, have assisted in organising Library activities such as the ever popular Library Legends and have had the opportunity to meet once a term with St Joseph’s College (Terrace) for a shared book club.  Should you wish to become a member of this club please see Ms Smith in the Centenary Library or attend one of the meetings on a Friday.

The Middle School Library holds meetings every Tuesday during lunchtime for The Lunch Bunch.  Each term Ms Palmer will run activities focusing on a particular topic; currently the boys are learning about coding, while in Term 2 The Lunch Bunch will take the form of a book club.  This club is for Years 5 & 6 boys. Should you require any more information, or if you would like to join, please see Ms Palmer in the Middle School Library.

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Year 8 Poetry Slam

Tuesday lunchtime this week saw a flurry of activity and a buzz of anticipation in the Forum as Year 8 boys streamed in for our second annual Year 8 Poetry Slam. As part of their English classwork, each of the boys had to write a slam poem in class then, as a class, they voted on the best one to be performed at the year level competition.

To set the scene, the first poet off the rank was Keng, last year’s winner, who performed his winning poem for this year’s cohort. Nine of our Year 8s then performed in quick succession, with Mr Kobez, Keng and one of the Year 8 students acting as judges. The quality of the boys’ poems and presentations was outstanding, and set the bar high for next year’s competition! Taking out first place was Abineash, with Charlie placing second, and Dillon in third place.

A big thank you must go to all of our contestants for making this such an enjoyable event, as well as to the Year 8 English teachers for their excellent work in coaching the boys to write and perform at such a high standard.


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Snitch and Broomstick Races in the Learning Commons

Last Friday three teams of teachers pitted their skill and speed against the boys in in our inaugural Snitch and Broomstick Races in the Learning Commons. Teams of two had to start at the Forum end and put on a gown, hat and tie, then ride a broomstick to the Library doors while carrying a golden snitch in a spoon. There, everything had to be swapped over to their partner who then ran back to the other end.


Mr Irvine and Mr Hows from the PE Dept, Ms Bruerton and Mr Jones from the Science Dept and Mr Celm and Dr Barrie form the Economics/History Dept were all great sports and competed valiantly, but no-one could match the speed and technique of our winning team, Year 12 students Davis and Mitchell.