On Saturday, 1 February, this year, just after 4.00 am a fire started at Sandringham Primary School. The fire engulfed a significant part of some of the oldest buildings of the school, a school that has served our community continuously for 165 years. Seventy-two hours after the blaze, all students and staff have temporarily relocated to Sandringham East Primary School and Sandringham College. Their education continues.
It is often in our darkest moments that the warmth and generosity of the Bayside community shines brightest. I thank the 40 firefighters, police and emergency service personnel who contained the fire so quickly. I thank Sandringham Primary’s new principal, Louise Neave, for her steadfast leadership in the face of adversity, together with all students and parents, school council president Lisa Foran and former principal Margaret Hird. I thank principals Amy Porter and Laureen Walton for opening up their schools to the Sandringham Primary students and staff. I thank neighbouring principals Sheryl Skewes, Sherril Duffy, Debby Chaves, Marcelle van Maanen, Sam Tyndall, Erin Macdonald and others. I thank the army of 300 locals who on Sunday gathered to unload and set up temporary classrooms. I thank the education minister, his deputy chief of staff, Chris Carpenter, the education department and the Victorian School Building Authority for their swift response and support.
While this event is a tragic one, we are at our best when we unite and come together to support those in need. We will rebuild. It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, and how true this is, especially at this time for my community.