Headmaster's Blog

Thank You Dr Quarmby

Dr Quarmby has been the Foundation Headmaster of Wollondilly Anglican College for 17 years. His career in education spans 38 years. Today we honour him as our Foundation Headmaster, for his significant contribution to the College and the legacy that will remain following his retirement.

A number of students remember having their interview with Dr Quarmby where he asked what Footy Team they supported and offered them a lolly from his lolly jar. Below are some samples of student thoughts:

Good friend of my parents and is very talkative and is always up for a chat and handshake.

When I first came here in Year 5 he really helped me settle in and learn to just have fun and trust in God which really helped me at the start.

He is a great Headmaster. He will be dearly missed! For the little time that I have known him, he has been very nice and so friendly to all the students. He made this College a great place to be at and made it what it is now. WAC has become a great College and one of the best. Thank you for the great experience you have given me.

At my interview for the College, he asked what football team I supported and I said “Bulldogs” and he laughed and said good luck getting into this College, haha. Then he showed me his Tigers
Jerseys and he said he thought they are the superior team. He still accepted me into WAC.

Dr Quarmby started enrolling students in Term 2 2003 even before he was actually employed. With the College’s commencement in 2004, he had personally interviewed the families of 217 children for K-7. In that first year, there was 17 staff including him. Today only three of those Foundation staff remain at the College with him – Mr Schroder, Mrs Richards and Mrs Clark.

Over the 16 years Dr Quarmby and I have worked together we have developed a friendship that I believe will be enduring. During this time, I have relied on his wisdom and support and I have learned a great deal from him. My admiration for his qualities and what he has achieved for the College and this community is immense. He is a visionary leader who has explicitly communicated the Christian Purpose of the College as part of the College’s five Distinctive characteristics. He has always remained faithful to God and his leadership has focused on the main game – bringing the students and parents in touch with the Gospel, the importance of having a relationship with Christ and providing a quality education within a Christian Framework for our students.

He has developed and authentically led the College with this vision through careful planning, collaborative decision making, care and compassion for the staff, students, parents and the wider

The College has grown to its current state from an old farm and orchard with a dilapidated farmhouse and an old train carriage on the property. It is located where a school should never have been built because there weren’t enough people living in the area. The property has a mine across the road, a poultry farm next door and very few houses nearby. The College has become, as Dr Quarmby likes to say to everyone ‘one of the fastest-growing independent schools in NSW’. There are now 1115 students from Transition to Year 12 and 106 staff. We have state-of-the-art modern classrooms, fast broadband access, space and playing areas that are the envy of many other schools.

To be the Foundation Headmaster for a new College is an awesome responsibility. The demands of the role require a huge commitment of time and energy as well as great wisdom. Every decision that a Headmaster makes influences the lives of staff, students and parents. From the Master building plan, the staff employed, the students enrolled, working with government authorities and the Anglican Schools Corporation. To grow our College to where it is today is an amazing achievement. However, Dr Quarmby would be quick to point out with humility, that has been under God’s guidance and the support of many people.

Dr Quarmby’s vision for the College – is ‘For Christ’s Glory’. It honours God. God’s hand is in all that is achieved. Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain. This bible verse appears on the back of the Waratah Weekly each week. It is Dr Quarmby’s recognition of this that our College is richly blessed under the hand of God. However, God uses people to do great things and Dr Quarmby has been the instrument to establish a new College and develop the culture that exists today and which will continue in the future. Our three Themes of Excellence, Endurance and Eternity, our five Distinctives, the College Crest, College colours, uniform, the College Prayer, our five sporting Houses, our buildings and the names of our classes were all established and developed by him in the early years.

There were many hurdles to overcome in the early years. Building the College’s reputation for excellence against a backdrop of new buildings, economic downturns, managing student enrolments and the need to employ quality Christian staff to teach the additional classes were among those challenges. All this had to be managed while meeting tough financial targets and paying down the debt on the buildings that we needed for our growth. There are many occasions in delivering his vision that Dr Quarmby’s plans were rejected. The Flynn Collegiate and the WACA are just two examples of this. However, with prayer, persistence and a dogged determination, he went about finding solutions to the problems to achieve the outcomes that he thought were the best for the College.

Of course, while the buildings and structures are important, it is the people that are the highest priority. A key aspect of Dr Quarmby’s servant leadership has been to build relationships within the College, the local and global community and employ committed staff who have willingly followed his vision. Our Working Bees, P&F charter, Country Fair and Family Chapels have largely been about building a sense of community. Our involvement in ANZAC Day commemorations, the Thirlmere Festival of Steam, WAC Kids Care, Arnhem Land and Vietnam Mission Trips, the relationships with our sister school in Germany are all examples of establishing links beyond the gates of our property.

Dr Quarmby’s vision has included providing an environment for students to pursue excellence in their learning, through sport, creative and performing arts as well as the many other opportunities for our students. He will leave an amazing legacy and he has influenced the lives of so many people in this community. Since 2004 he has influenced over 2370 students, 1700 families and employed 186 staff. Part of his vision was to convert people to support the Wests Tigers. While I am not sure how that met a vision of pursuing excellence, it did reveal his passion and enthusiasm for Rugby League and even greater passion for the College.

We are still deciding what to do with the Wests Tigers shrine in his office.

What can our students learn from Dr Quarmby’s example? They can learn that if you have faith in God, establish a vision with clear goals, plan carefully and use the skills of the people around you,
challenges can be overcome and great things can be achieved. I think if you ask him what he will miss, he would say he will miss the people the most. The students, the staff and the parents in this community. I know he is finishing with a sense of sadness but there is probably a sense of excitement too with what lies ahead.

Dr Quarmby on behalf of the staff, students and parents of the College we thank you for your years of leadership and service. We wish you and Mrs Quarmby rich blessings for your retirement and the many opportunities ahead of you both as you move into a new chapter in your lives. We will miss you but you won’t be forgotten.

Numbers 6: 24-26
May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.

Dr Quarmby – Fun Quiz

1. Name 2 other schools where Dr Quarmby has worked before WAC?
Elderslie, Picton High School, Broughton Anglican College

2. What is Dr Quarmby’s teaching specialty?
Science Teacher – Physics

3. What is the College motto on the badge?
For Christ’s Glory

4. List the three themes of the College (Hint: all begin with E)
Excellence, Endurance, Eternity

5. List the five ‘Distinctives’ of the College.
Christian Education, Towards Excellence, Pride in Belonging, Community Engagement and Involvement, Education for Life (a Second Education).

6. The College Colours are Black, Green and White. What does each colour represent?
Black – from the Coal Industry,
Green – for the local Olive Farms,
White – for the White Waratah.

7. Name the College Mascot.
Wolly the Wombat

8. What is the number plate on Dr Quarmby’s car?
Wolly 1

9. Which NRL team does Dr Quarmby support?
Wests Tigers

10. Who was the well-known politician who officially opened the College in 2004?
Prime Minister John Howard.

11. Name the first buildings to be constructed and opened at the College.
There were two: Gumnut Cottage. (It is now called White Cottage) and Sturt.

12. What is the official name for the front Playing Field?
The Winning Field. Why was it called this? The property was owned by the Winning family.

13. Dr Quarmby loves to use acronyms to name places, roles or activities. What do the following letters stand for:
WACA Wollondilly Anglican College Arena
WASP Wollondilly Anglican Sports Performance Academy
EDGE Excellence and Distinction in Gifted Education Academy
SLIC Secondary Learning Innovations Coordinator
PLIT Primary Learning Innovations Teacher

14. All the classroom buildings and the College Administration building are named after people. What do they all have in common?
All named after Christian pioneers.

15. When the College opened in 2004, approximately how many students were there and which Year groups were enrolled.
There are 217 students from Kindergarten to Year 7.

16. Estimate how many students have attended the College over the last 17 years and how many staff have been employed.
There are 2370 students and 186 staff.


Mr Ian Croger
Acting Headmaster