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St Gabriels Opening.JPG

St Gabriel Centre Official Opening and Blessing


Excerpt from Principal's Address:

I have overused this term of late, but I have described what has been achieved here, the creation of this environment in such a short space of time as a minor miracle. For those of you perhaps unfamiliar with the history of this building, it was once connected to the Underdale Campus of the University of South Australia prior to that site becoming our beautiful Flinders Park campus of Nazareth. This building was, among other things, the Universities distance education warehouse. Early last year when we first came to look through, it was effectively a number of unoccupied offices. I am sure that you would agree, what a transformation into the wonderful space we are in now in, all completed within a matter of 6 months.

Minor Miracles do not occur easily, and this facility is the result of the foresight, commitment and hard work of many people who are represented in this room and on behalf of the Nazareth Catholic Community, and in particular the staff and students who are blessed to spend each day working and learning in this building I say a very genuine thank you to each of you.

Thank you to our architects Stewart Caldwell and Hariklia Pontikinas from Russell and Yelland. You must be very proud of what you have been able to achieve here. Your vision and creativity is inspiring, and we greatly value our working partnership with you.

Thank you to the team from Kennett Builders. Effectively, all that you allowed yourself and your team was a few days leave over Christmas, which is appropriate for those from a place called Nazareth, and we are very grateful for your exceptional work. In particular, thank you to Ed Schulz, Scott Guthridge, Paul Jennings and Harrison Dewar.

Other people who I wish to thank include:

  • Simon Channon and Marcus Rolfe from Urban Regional Planning Solutions (URPS)
  • Melissa Mellon from MFY Traffic and Parking
  • The range of engineers and consultants who worked on this project including WGA , SECON, Chris Sale Consulting, Oxigen and Katnich Dodd
  • Key Suppliers AV Integration plus Woods Furniture / Keen Education Furniture
  • Thank you to the Catholic Church Endowment Society and the Archdiocese – in particular to Kyla Daly General Manager Property and Assets for your support regarding the land purchase, and to Andrew Neville Director Strategic Financial Services for supporting the funding of this project
  • Thank you to all involved CESA personnel including Paul Roocke and the Finance team and Paul Angley and Peter Smith from the Planning and Development Team, and John Favretto for your guidance and support


And of course, thank you to the incredible staff here at Nazareth, in particular:

  • the Facilities and maintenance team led by Richie Klaffer
  • The ICT team led by Robyn Ciccolella
  • And the Marketing & Communications team led by Victoria Richardson
  • Thank you to past Directors of Nazareth Catholic Community Michael Dahl and Ann Bliss for their vision and support
  • And thank you to Head of Flinders Park Campus Jeff Sochacki and the Nazareth leadership team
  • I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those involved in the preparation of this event including my PA Linda Parish for her faultless organisation, Joe Hicks and the RE team, and everyone else involved.

And last but by no means least I must acknowledge the outstanding work of our Business manager Mr Darren Bailey. The commitment, attention to detail and incredible work ethic that Darren brought to this project was one of the main reasons that we were able to pull off this minor miracle. Thank you, Darren, for all that you do for the Nazareth community including this project.

As Catholic educators, we instinctively know that the success of our community is not judged by the quality of the facilities however impressive they may be, rather by the quality of the relationships that exist within them. You may have noted the words above the reception area as you came in this morning. These words capture perfectly, on this feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the aspiration we hold for our community, We are called to love one another…

I spent some time last week asking our Year 12 students what they enjoy and value about this St Gabriel’s Centre, and whilst there were many things that they appreciate and are grateful for, one comment that resonated strongly with me when a student said that the best thing about this building is that no-one feels excluded in this space. What a wonderful thing for a Principal to hear. And the students who are at Nazareth deserve the very best. They are amazing young people with generous hearts and warm personalities, and are a delight to be with each day, have a chat with them at morning tea and you will understand what I mean. I thank our students for who they are and wish them every blessing as they continue their journey to be people of faith and meaningful contributors to a better society.

One of the reasons that we had to move so quickly on this project is due to the reality that Nazareth is experiencing unprecedented enrolment demand. This demand is evidenced by the fact that we expect our Year 7 enrolment in 2022 to be 400 students. There are many people in this room that have created the conditions that drive this demand, and I take this opportunity to thank you all sincerely for your commitment to providing the inclusive faith and learning community that exists here at Nazareth.

Finally, I thank Professor Dennis Ralph and Dr Neil McGoran, and the South Australian Commission for Catholic schools who provide immense support and encouragement to Nazareth, and we greatly value their advocacy for us.

Andrew Baker | Principal