I was very pleased to be able to attend and take part in the thanksgiving service for the 20th anniversary of Thomas Hassall Anglican College. The service was attended by local church ministers and representatives from Liverpool City Council. Also present were two very important people to the school: Dr Bryan Cowling, foundation principal; and Archdeacon Dr Geoff Huard, the foundation council chair. Thomas Hassall is the 12th-largest school in New South Wales. It was established in 2000, with just 150 students and 12 staff. With limited resources, it grew to 1,000 students in 2007, when the current principal, Ross Whelan, took over the leadership of the school. There are now over 1,750 students, from preparatory to year 12. They are supported by 250 staff, wonderful parents and many volunteers.
The service was supported by musical performances that showcased the talents of the students, including the national anthem, school song and hymns. In addition to Mr Whelan, the assembly was addressed by Bishop Peter Lin. Thomas Hassall took its name from the Reverend Thomas Hassall, who in May 1813 established the first Sunday school in Australia. He was also the first home-grown Anglican minister here. I applaud this school; the principal, Ross Whelan; and all of the staff on the anniversary. I am very proudly wearing the 20th anniversary pin that I received on the day.