The wellbeing structure is based on a family support system. Students arrive at the school and are assigned to a ‘Home Room’. This group meets each morning in the same room and is their home while they are at school, and within this home is their family at school; in this way we create a safe, supportive home environment within an academic environment. Each Home Room is made up of a teacher (effectively the ‘mum or dad’ of the group) and a group of students from Year 7 to Year 12 (the ‘siblings’). Home Rooms are organised vertically, they are not specific to one age group. This structure creates a connectedness and family vibe with a mix of ages, and encourages students to form friendships with others in different year groups, and this in turn creates a web of positive interactions throughout the wider school.
Together, Home Rooms celebrate the good times, the achievements, and Home Room teachers are genuinely proud of their members. Equally when times are hard, the group is there to come together and commiserate, provide a safe space and support each other to rise up again.
In a school the size of Chevalier College this web of wellbeing creates an interconnectedness which is vital to our community. We are often described as having a ‘small school feel’ despite having many students and staff and a large and beautiful geographical site. It is the positive, healthy relationships fostered through the wellbeing system which make our community a happy, uplifting, positive place to be.
The six Chevalier College Houses are Burford, Clancy, Giles, Osborne, Reid and Riversdale. Four of the houses were established in 1960 for sporting competition, with the addition of Burford in 2010 and Clancy in 2011. The original four house colours were different to today’s colours and a curious story has been unearthed about how the change of colours came about.
During the early 1970s the four existing houses were assigned name crest shields which were ordered from England. Each crest had been crafted in a colour that didn’t match its house, so it was decided to adopt a new colour for each house in order to match the new crest shields. The shields have long gone, but the colours remain.
Burford House was established in 2010, an exciting and rewarding year for all Burford students and teachers alike.
Burford house was originally going to named after Sr Philomena Burford RSSJ.
As more research was undertaken, it was noted that Fr John T Burford msc – the brother of Sr Philomena – was equally a very significant person in the history and development of the College.
Sr Philomena is remembered for unswerving and tireless dedication many years to developing literacy at the college, between 1988 and 1995 and supporting what is referred to today as learning enhancement. She was a strong woman of faith and committed to the education of young people.
Fr John T Burford was a gentle MSC priest and past Rector of Chevalier College. During his teaching time at the college, from 1946-47, 1952-56 (Rector) and from 1975-82, Fr Burford also worked tirelessly with the Chevalier Parents and Friends, and this work is reflected in the dedication noted in the window of Riversdale Chapel.
Whilst it could be argued that initially the House was to be dedicated to the memory of Sr Philomena, Chevalier College today recognises both Sr Philomena Burford RSSJ and Fr John T Burford msc as patrons of Burford House.
The bold colour purple stirs a vibrant house spirit for Burford members who contribute a real carnival atmosphere to every college event with their marching and singing. Why purple? Because purple is not yellow, green, blue or red!
Burford claimed the overall 2010 House Cup in their debut year – a fitting result for everyone involved, and it continues to be a strong, cohesive and friendly house.
With increasing student enrolments at Chevalier College, it was decided during 2011 that another new house should be established.
Naming the new house “Clancy” out of respect and gratitude and to honour our dear Br Kenneth Clancy msc, was a popular choice. Br Ken (b: 3 July 1925 – d: 6 April 2018) began his journey as an MSC Brother, undertaking his official Profession on 26 October 1960. A long-time friend said of this wonderful and inspiring man that “beneath Ken’s shy and quiet demeanour beats a resilient heart with a fierce determination and a passionate love for all God’s creatures.”
One of Ken’s annual traditions at Chev was to plant a crop of sunflowers. The deep orange of the huge happy yellow flower head centres that brightened the college inspired the choice of orange for Clancy’s house colour.
Clancy House is also dedicated to honour and acknowledge the contribution of all the MSC Brothers and non-teaching staff who contribute to Chevalier in the past, present and future.
Giles House began in 1960 and is named after Monsignor Joseph Giles (D.D. Dph) who was parish priest of Mittagong during the early to mid-1940s. Monsignor Giles recognised the problem of finding suitable secondary education for the boys of his parish since there was no Catholic secondary boys’ school between Campbelltown and Goulburn. Due to his prayers and exertions, together with the support of Cardinal Gilroy, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart were persuaded to open a college at Riversdale in Burradoo.
Giles House runs a valuable community service program – visiting the Harbison Care Centre across the road from the college every week. Students enjoy helping to run activities, serving afternoon tea and having the opportunity to talk with the elderly residents at the centre.
Giles enjoyed an eight year winning streak at the College Swimming Carnival from 2011 to 2018. Most recently their prowess at athletics has been on display, winning both the 2018 and 2019 College Athletics Carnivals.
Gold was the original colour of Giles House.
Osborne House began its life in 1960 as Berrima House – a house created especially for the day boys who were all residents of the district of Berrima.
As noted in the 1966 college yearbook, over the years “the opportunity for greater mixing between boarders and day boys [has] proved to have had a good effect on school spirit”. More students were attending from the wider community, all houses by then had a mix of both day boys and boarders, and so Berrima House was renamed Osborne House.
Osborne House was named after the pastoralist, Henry Osborne who commissioned architect John Horbury Hunt to design Riversdale House on the Sadlier’s grant site (part of the Riversdale Estate), where Chevalier College was established in 1946.
The house was sky blue as Berrima House then as Osborne House it was royal blue. But modern Osborne House members proudly wear yellow for their house.
Reid House was successful in the early years – the leading house that first year, winning in 1960 – placing first in cricket, football and athletics – and winning again in 1962. Reid’s original house colour was red.
The first Reid House Captain was Frederick Stubenrauch, who later became the first lay Principal of Chevalier College (2002-2007).
Reid House was named after the first Rector of Chevalier College, Dr Harry J. Reid, an MSC priest. His influence helped make the College and the faith it professed well accepted in the district. He was a keen golfer and tennis player. Father Reid was Rector at Chevalier College for three years, from 1946 to 1948.
Over the past three years, the McKinnon Cup has been hotly contested, a round-robin of games and activities. The cup was named after John McKinnon who was a past student, teacher and Reid House Coordinator.
Reid House, the ‘Green Machine’, continues to go from strength to strength – being known for its friendliness, enthusiasm and lived Heart Spirituality.
Riversdale House began in 1960 – named after the estate on which the original manor house was built in the 1880’s. The property of “Riversdale” was owned by a number of individuals until the MSCs purchased the property with the intention of opening a boys’ boarding school which we now know as Chevalier College, established in 1946.
The original colour of Riversdale was green – now proudly red! 1961 was Riversdale’s year to lead the points table in cricket, football and athletics and winners of the house competition that year by 126 points.
Since then Riversdale has flourished as a house having many fine representatives in the fields of athletics, swimming, cross country, drama, music, academics as well as some outstanding leaders. This combined with the high house spirit and the dedicated and enthusiastic participation of those students in red, augurs well for many successful years ahead for the mighty Riversdale.