Skip to content

Musters mean coming together. 

 We have been paying close attention to Musters this year. At St Peter’s College, to muster is to gather with purpose. Over the course of this year, we have seen trumpeters introduced to signal the start of school musters, like a calling to arms; we have seen photo reels, presentations, musical performances, recognition of student efforts, notices about upcoming events, hymns and prayers. The content of musters is different week on week, and even in my short time here, there have been no two musters the same. Importantly, this year, all School Musters start with an Acknowledgement of Country.

In last week’s School Muster, we showcased the many service initiatives that have taken place this year and weaved in the message that service is accessible to all – not just because of the relevant opportunities that are available, but because, on a really fundamental level, service is about being kind to others. In the Muster, I asked the students to reflect on a hypothetical situation – ‘Imagine you are walking down Rundle Mall on a Sunday afternoon and you see a member of our community alone and in distress – perhaps a staff member or a student you have never spoken to before – would you go over and check in with that person and offer support?’ The show of hands was overwhelmingly positive (and reassuring). My appeal to the students was to reflect on this, to be more open to looking outside of their friendship circles more often, and to certainly not reserve this high level of care and support to emergency situations. 

Indeed, it is the messages of Musters that we hope resonate and endure, and some are more direct than others. In this week’s Muster, the current Opposition Leader, Peter Malinauskas, knocked the boys socks off with a series of powerful responses to unseen questions put to him by students from our lunchtime Politics Society. His message was not about persuading students to vote for one side or the other, but rather it centred on his concerns for the future of democracy and the positive role that young people – the boys in front of him – can play in this regard. Beyond the political reference, Mr Malinauskas also succeeded in delivering an impressive lesson in public speaking. 

It is important to note that our reference to mustering is not just about school weekly assemblies. We have House Musters and Year Group Musters to ensure messages are relevant, timely and appropriately targeted for each stage of the educational journey, but also simply to bring groups of students together on a regular basis, to sit shoulder-to-shoulder, and to be addressed as one. In this regard, the underlying message is about developing a sense of belonging and paying attention to the ancient code of togetherness. If you want to learn anything about culture in this regard, look no further than Owen Eastwood’s book. I shared a passage in a Year Group Muster just this week. If you have a son in Year 10, please feel free to ask him about it. 

Thank you to those parents who have arranged a time to share with me feedback about their son’s experience – and sense of belonging – at St Peter’s College.  

Marcus Blackburn
Deputy Headmaster