The Salvation Army Supports Safe Schools Initiative


The Salvation Army Supports Safe Schools Initiative


The Salvation Army supports the Safe Schools Coalition Victoria in its initiative designed to reduce homophobic and transphobic behaviour and create safe learning environments for all students. The Salvation Army is concerned by the very high level of bullying, higher levels mental health issues and the highest rates of suicidality of any group in Australia for same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people. The Salvation Army’s Victoria State Council (VSC) has been aware of the negative claims about the Safe Schools program and its related materials but believes these to be unfounded.

Chair of VSC, Major Dr Geoff Webb says “Our social policy unit has reviewed the official teaching resources provided by the Safe Schools Coalition and the four official guidelines. It has also studied the independent review commissioned by the Australian government, together with other materials. None of the negative claims made about the program accurately reflect anything in the official materials reviewed.

“Provided schools adhere to official teaching resources and the official guidelines, there should be no issues with Safe Schools. We support the provision of safe learning environments for all students,” Webb says.

Dr Webb notes that a Federal Government independent review found that the four official guides are consistent with the aims of the program and are appropriate for use in schools. “Our findings are consistent with the government’s review,” Webb says, “and the resource All of Us is consistent with the aims of the program, is suitable, robust, age-appropriate, educationally sound and aligned with the Australian Curriculum.”

The Salvation Army in Victoria has welcomed the Andrews Government commitment of additional funding to ensure that every Victorian secondary school is involved in the Safe Schools programme by the end of 2018.


For further information, contact:
Geoff Webb (Chair, The Salvation Army Victoria State Council)   0400 251588
The Salvation Army Media Unit  (Emma Daniell)  0437 830 550

My grandmother’s Rhodesian jacaranda

jacaranda-paintingFor as long as I knew her, my grandmother had a painting of a jacaranda tree hanging in her house.

I have been particularly fond of jacarandas all my life because of this painting, and when I see the rich purple flowers I think of her.

Living in Melbourne I see the occasional jacaranda but when I was in Sydney a few years back, I saw that the trees are everywhere, particularly on the North Shore, and they make the place look magical.

I decided to look up ‘jacaranda’ in Wikipedia and I found a photo from 1975 of the trees in Salisbury, Rhodesia. This is exactly where my grandmother lived. I opened up the photo to full size and saw a large avenue with jacarandas in full bloom, running the entire length of the street. And then I realised something.

The painting of a jacaranda hanging in my grandmother’s house wasn’t just a painting of a tree. It was a door into her life after she moved from England to her adopted country, where for thirty or so years she raised a family, ran businesses, loved and lost love, and farewelled her family when they emigrated to Australia. Despite joining her family in Melbourne in 1975 and living here until her death three decades later, my grandmother’s heart and home remained in Rhodesia.

And then my mother told me the painting was actually one my grandmother had commissioned, of a jacaranda on the tobacco farm my father had worked on. Dad told me the scene – of the tree and the distant hills – was the view from the kitchen window of the little cottage he lived in.

I realised this painting kept alive my grandmother’s connection with a life in another country, a place and time which in many ways no longer exists, and yet will always be there.

(Published in “In Their Branches“)