Swan Christian College Houses
Students will be allocated to a House upon entry into the College. The House system will provide a support structure for Pastoral Care, sporting and cultural activities within the life of the College. When a student accepts membership of a College team, group or society, he or she accepts all the commitments involved in that membership, for not to do so is a mark of little respect towards the other members of the group concerned.
Sports carnivals are organised at a House level and an interschool level. These are considered important events in the College calendar and participation in these is an honour. Attendance is compulsory at House Carnivals. The Houses at Swan Christian College are: Bell, Bennett, Kennedy, Mungulu and Shenton. These Houses operate through sporting activities and cultural activities.
Each House is coordinated by the Head of House and House Captains. House Competitions Each year there is a Swimming and an Athletics carnival organised on a House basis. Each House selects its competitors through competition before the Interhouse Competition. Other activities, such as fun runs and the lunchtime House competitions are organised on a House basis. Other House Activities include Debating, Drama and Chess Competitions.
History of the College House Names
The names of our Houses come from important Christian leaders in Western Australia’s history.
Albany (Peter) Bell
- Businessman and Benefactor (b. Perth, WA, 24 April 1871; d. Perth, WA, 14 September 1957)
Albany Bell’s mother, Jane Bell, was a foundation member of the first Church of Christ in West Australia and young Albany was among the first new members to commit his life to Christ. He was baptised in the Swan River in March 1891. He commenced business in Fremantle as a confectioner. A good businessman, he soon had several branches in the city and other towns. He later established a chain of restaurants around Perth. Albany Bell made money only that he might use it to God’s glory.
Throughout his life, he was most generous. His gifts enabled church buildings to be built and furnished, combined church activity to be undertaken and other Christian enterprises to be extended. Mrs Bell was his strong supporter and their hospitality was legendary. Interstate and international visitors were liberally entertained in their home. Albany Bell was not only successful in business; he was also a highly respected member of the community and served as a Justice of the Peace (JP). He was a foundation member of the YMCA and the Silver Chain Nursing Association in WA and a member of the Perth Hospital Board. It was written of him ‘the great and chief responsibility of life is to spread abroad a knowledge of the truth of Christ’. His faithful allegiance to the local church saw him as secretary, chairman, deacon emeritus and Sunday school superintendent in which capacity his enthusiasm and initiative were an inspiration.
He was also active in state and federal conference spheres. From the inception of Conference, he was a prominent member of the Home Missionary Committee and was four times Conference president. A good speaker and an able debater, he made valuable contribution to all Conference sessions. Albany Bell always had the wellbeing of the Aboriginal people at heart and contributed generously towards improving their lot. His greatest single contribution to the Aborigines was his gift to the Board of a valuable fertile property at Roelands. On this tract of land, a largely self-supporting mission station was established and it now has a large grapefruit orchard, which gives financial support to the Mission. One of his many achievements was his dedicated service in the cause of the Aboriginal people by whom he is remembered with lasting gratitude, affection and respect.
Mary Montgomery Bennett
- Teacher of Aborigines (Mt Margaret, 1932 - 42)
Mary Montgomery Bennett was an educated lady who spent her childhood in Queensland. Mary’s father leased a large tract of land, which he called ‘Lammermoor’. He was kind and fair to the Aboriginal people who worked for him, and his daughter absorbed these attitudes. Later, living in London she met and married a naval captain, who was killed in action during World War I. She returned, heartbroken, to Australia. Without children herself, she adopted the whole Aboriginal race. These people became her family, and she showered them her love, her material resources and unswerving efforts for their upliftment.
In 1930 Mrs Bennett wrote The Aboriginal as a Human Being and dedicated it ‘To my childhood friends, the Australian Aboriginals’. At this time, WA government policies regarding the Aborigines were molded by the anthropological thought that the Aborigines of Australia were the ‘missing link’ in Darwin’s theory of evolution. On the other hand, Mrs Bennett held strong views that these people were precious in the sight of God, and capable of anything which any other human being could do. Her Christian beliefs were the foundation for these views. It was inevitable that she and the government would come into conflict.
Mrs Bennett travelled widely, and in 1932 settled at Mt Margaret Mission (a station of the UAM) in the goldfields of Western Australia. Here she found an environment where her gifts, her initiative, and her intense ambition for the Aboriginal people, could effectively flourish. At first, she added spinning and weaving to the crafts already being taught. One day, while speaking with R S Schenk, the superintendent, she asked what was the greatest need of the Aboriginal people. He replied that after the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the essential need of every human being, the most important need was education. On the spot, Mrs Bennett replied ‘Then I will be your teacher’. From that day on ‘school’ took on a whole new meaning at Mt Margaret. Mary scoured the world for new teaching methods, and these forgotten children of the desert had the benefit of teaching techniques not introduced into Australia until years later - and that at a time when Aboriginal children were barred from State schools in Western Australia. The children responded and the results were quite remarkable. However, the main reason for her success stemmed directly from her belief that each child was created by God in His image. She made each child feel his or her innate worth in the Saviour’s eyes, and his or her ability to achieve anything.
To the children of Mt Margaret, where she did her most significant work, she was awesome. In spite of ill health (she was diabetic) she was not a lady with whom you could mess around, as the government found to their great chagrin. However, that was only one side of her. Her pupils saw the other side of her, but the government never did. She loved her students, and they knew it, and speak of her with great affection even today. In tandem with her heavy teaching load, Mrs Bennett had a prolific correspondence with government and welfare groups, which promoted changes in legislation about the Aboriginal people and their treatment. In her later years, Mrs Bennett lived in Kalgoorlie, a friend to her ‘adopted’ family to the end. She was a remarkable lady, whose impact on her world is still being felt today.
- Baptist Minister (b. Oxley, Victoria, 1868; d. Pingelly, WA, 26 April 1929)
Born the sixth child of farming parents, Kennedy commenced training at the Victorian Baptist College, Melbourne, in 1893. During his training, he served as a Home Missioner at Hopetoun, Wimmera North district (1895), Kerang (1896), and also at Hoddle Street Mission (now Abbotsfield Baptist Church), Melbourne. In response to the appeal for help by Rev A S Wilson of Perth at the Victorian Annual Assembly of 1897, Kennedy took up the pastorate of Katanning Baptist Church in February 1898.
In May of that year, he married Ada Greenslade of Melbourne, the first Baptist wedding in Western Australia. His wife had trained for missionary service at Mrs Warren’s Missionary Training Home, Melbourne. Two children were born to the Kennedys. Kennedy had a deep concern for people in developing agricultural districts of the Great Southern region of Western Australia; by means of a horse-drawn Gospel Van and Gospel Tent and in conjunction with Home Missioners he pioneered this work in a number of towns. He held pastorates at Katanning (1898-1901), Boulder City (1901), Narrogin (1902-07, 1909-11, 1923-24), Woodanilling (1907-09), Pingelly (1911-13), Midland Junction/Bellevue (1914-15) and during World War I was YMCA chaplain at the Blackboy Hill army camp (1916).
In later years deteriorating health curtailed his pastoral involvement, and he spent some five years working with farmers in agricultural areas and the hills district. A preacher of the Gospel, Kennedy was a born leader who enthused others. During his pastorates along the Great Southern line, church buildings were erected at Katanning, Narrogin, Woodanilling, Pingelly, and Maracoonda, with Kennedy advocating self-help and personally participating in their physical construction. He encouraged Home Missioners to follow his own practice of maintaining a Christian presence in the community by participating in civic affairs.
- Aboriginal Community / Church Leader (b 1925; d. Derby, WA, 21 February 1978)
Alan Mungulu’s parents Njimand and Ruby had traditional upbringings as Worora Aborigines in the Kimberley region of the north-west of Western Australia. Njimandum visited the newly established Port George IV Mission as a youth and when the Rev J R B Love rejoined this mission at a new site, Kunmunya, in 1927. Mungulu’s father worked closely with him, building the first Aboriginal occupied house, working on the translation team and encouraging his people to settle disputes peacefully and to cease painful rituals.
Mungulu was baptised with his parents and sister, Elkin, on Easter Sunday 1929. He attended the mission school and in addition to literacy, attained skills in woodwork and leatherwork. His father intervened to prevent his initiation. As a young man he worked as an engineer on the mission lugger, the Watt Leggatt. In the late 1940s, he became seriously ill while on the lugger at sea and was taken to Cockatoo Island and then Derby Hospital. While in hospital he perfected his skill in pearl shell carving. He was transferred to Perth where a diagnosis of poliomyelitis was confirmed. For the remainder of his life, he was very restricted in movement. He married Gudu, a Worora girl, in 1950 and they had five daughters and one son. The mission was moved to a new site, Wotjulum, in 1951 and there he conducted a school class for beginners. Because of limited employment and educational opportunities the mission was moved again in 1956 to Mowanjum, a cattle station close to Derby township. Mungulu encouraged the people by comparing this move to the exodus of the people of Israel. He preached frequently in the mission church, conducted classes at the Derby school and looked after the mission store. In 1958 he was ordained as an elder of the Presbyterian church.
In 1972 the church handed over control of the station to the Mowanjum Community Incorporated and he became chairman, a position he held until his death. In 1974 he attended a six weeks course at Aurukun Mission in North Queensland and was authorised to administer sacraments. He conducted his first baptism on 20 July 1975. The proximity to Derby brought increasing social problems to the Mowanjum people and he faced great pressure as a community and church leader. He was sustained by the faith he had been nurtured in by his father and J R B Love. In a sermon in 1977, he referred to broken objects and lives and wrote that ‘there is one thing that can’t be broken and that is the Word of God. God does not break His promises’.
Despite physical disabilities which confined him often to a wheelchair and the pressures of community life, he displayed great care for all people, understanding, patience, wisdom and love, qualities sustained by his regular practices of Bible reading and prayer. He contributed to the development of a handcraft industry at Mowanjum through his delicate carving of designs on emu eggshells, pearl shells and boab nuts. He shared his deep insights into both Aboriginal and White Australian cultures, and a large gathering of government, civic, church and community representatives paid tribute to his contribution to church and community at his funeral on the 27 February 1978.
Sir George Shenton
- Wesleyan Businessman/Politician (b. Perth, WA, 6 December 1840; d. Perth, WA, 20 June 1909)
Young George Shenton carried on the excellent reputation of his pioneer father George Shenton and became even more notable in the life of the growing colony. He served for many years as a member of the Legislative Council and at one time was the Speaker. In 1880 he became the first mayor of Perth and was later knighted for his services to the community. Sir George formed a company called Shenton Elder & Co, which later became Elder Smith & Co. Like his father before him, Sir George was totally committed to the Methodist Church.
Upon his father’s unexpected death he took upon himself the business and financial responsibility for the building of the new church on the corner of William and Hay Streets. He honoured his father’s promise by donating one thousand pounds to the Wesley Church Building Fund. He saw too that his father’s wish that the new church be called Wesley Church was fulfilled. Later, in 1875, he ordered and donated to the church the first pipe organ in the colony and later still, in 1909, just prior to his death, he donated a second and larger pipe organ to Wesley Church, which is still in regular use. Another gift of the Shenton family was the magnificent stained-glass memorial window in the chancel of Wesley Church.
Sir George Shenton and his family were faithful members of the church and it is on record that at the stroke of 10.45am by the Town Hall clock on Sunday mornings, he and his wife, leading all the members of their considerable family, could be seen stepping towards Wesley Church almost in procession. Shenton continued the strong influence of the Methodist community in the city of Perth and shaped the civic life of the city. A committed Christian and family man, his faith and work influenced all levels of community.