Where it all began

By Mrs Annette Carter, College Historian

On 30 April 1983 at 3pm, the foundation stone for Radford College was laid and dedicated by the Right Reverend Cecil Warren, Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn. This symbolised the start of construction at Radford College. Among the guests were family members of Bishop Radford, Anglican clergy, invited dignitaries, prospective parents and students as well as St John’s Ambulance (as there were concerns about the safety of the site) and the Curtin Boy’s Brigade who helped seat the guests. Prime Minister Bob Hawke had been invited but had sent his apologies as he had other commitments on that day.

In a slightly convoluted way, Bruce was seen as a fitting location for the new school, named “Radford College”, because Prime Minister Stanley Bruce laid the foundation stone of Canberra Grammar School, a school established with the help of Bishop Radford.

Prior to the foundation service, there had been long discussions about what kind of stone, the inscription, the location, whether there needed to be a special trowel or prayers, and thoughts about how to protect it from vandalism. Interestingly, the stone was temporarily sited for the service and the photos and then removed and placed where it currently sits outside the science labs.

Foundation Stone Science Buildings
The Radford College foundation stone

As part of the service, there was a bible reading, hymns, and a speech by Dr Tom (T.B.) Millar who then introduced the newly appointed Principal, Jock Mackinnon who also gave an address.

Millar initially spoke of the rare privilege of being part of the beginnings of such a venture and said that “education in its widest and deepest meaning is one of the ennobling activities of mankind. We here today are the beneficiaries of the efforts of those Australians who have taken up this work before us. We have the good fortune and bear the responsibility to be pioneers of a new enterprise, and to help shape it according to our best desires.”