A Brief History of Kardinia International College
Our Founders - Mr and Mrs Katsumata

A Brief History of Kardinia International College

Kardinia International College acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which the College stands, the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation, and recognises their unique culture and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas.

The extensive property on which Kardinia now resides, has been under the custodianship of numerous individuals including John Calvert, who built the Morongo homestead in 1859. In 1926 the custodianship was passed to Geelong Presbyterian Girls College, until the vacant development was sold to educator, Mr Yoshimaro Katsumata, in 1995.

Our Founders - Mr and Mrs Katsumata

Mr Yoshimaro Katsumata was born in 1922, into a highly respected family living at the foot of Mt Fuji. His broad early experiences included radiotelegraphy, farming and mathematics teaching. Yoshimaro married Kiyoko in 1946, settling in Gotemba City to raise their three children, Kikuko, Yoshihisa and Yumiko.

An exceptional educator and visionary, Yoshimaro built Gotemba Nishi High School, opening the new school in 1967. Mr Katsumata was Principal for over three decades and ‘…worked tirelessly with Mrs Katsumata to set the highest standards for education at their school.’

Mr Katsumata’s contribution to education in Japan was recognised by the Emperor and the Minister of Education. Over the years he received numerous medals and awards for his valued contributions on numerous boards, associations, corporations and committees. He retired from his role as Principal at Gotemba Nishi but remained Chairman of the Board.

In 1995, at 73 years of age, Mr Katsumata’s dream to create a new school to ‘…educate its students to be global citizens…promote international understanding, peace, harmony and friendship,’ was coming to fruition. The opportunity arose to purchase the empty former Morongo property, with his new school Kardinia International College opening its doors on February 1, 1996, with Mr John Goodfellow as the inaugural principal.

Mrs Kiyoko Katsumata was acknowledged as a co-founder and was a Director on the College Board. From 1995 to 2009, Mrs Katsumata joined her husband on extensive stays at their second home, Geelong. She embodied ‘…gentleness, graciousness and concern for others’ which was displayed through her daily Tanka.

As Kardinia International College continued to expand, Mr and Mrs Katsumata exemplified ‘…qualities of friendship, respect, humour, generosity and goodwill.” They were held in high regard by the College community and their visits to Geelong were memorable.

After leaving an incredible legacy, Mr Yoshimaro Katsumata died in August 2008, after suffering a stroke. The following year, his wife Kiyoko Katsumata travelled to Tokyo to accept his posthumous Order of Australia medal, for services he made to education in Australia. Kiyoko died in July 2014.

The Kardinia International College community is deeply indebted to our Founders, Mr and Mrs Katsumata. The Katsumata Centre was named in their honour with the stunning foyer a tribute to their enduring legacy.

The Early Years

Kardinia International College opened at the beginning of the 1996 school year with Mr John Goodfellow as the inaugural principal. On Thursday 1 February, the 40 secondary students arrived in casual clothes, as the school uniform did not arrive until a week later. The students were allocated into three mixed level Tutor Groups led by Ms Fry, Ms Bard-Brucker and Mr Dowie, and the first year began.

The Official Opening of Kardinia International College was held on April 28, 1996, with the Minister of Education, The Honourable Phillip Gude M.P., as the guest of honour. The first student leaders, Paul Rose and Sarah Boyle, were part of the Opening Ceremony, as well as musicians David Kastanek, Danny Goodfellow, Jenna Hildebrand and members of the Choral Ensemble performing at the event. A total of 81 secondary and kindergarten students were listed on the program.

In 1997 the student population increased to 450 students. Many additions were made to the College’s operations including a second Kindergarten, the Early Learning Centre, the Upper Primary Centre, and the addition of Year 10 in the secondary school. The following year, enrolments grew to 750 and over a few short years, the College continued to expand at a rapid rate, maintaining a high demand for vacancies.

Kardinia International College was founded by Mr. Yoshimaro Katsumata, who established a Board of Directors for the College:

Mr Yoshimaro Katsumata – Chairman of the Board
Mrs Kiyoko Katsumata – Director
Mr Yoshihisa Katsumata – Director
Mr Katsusyiro Shimizu – Director
Mr Masaru Kurihashi – Director
Mr Graham Corney – Director
Mrs Patricia Whitford – Director
Mr John Goodfellow – Chief Executive Officer

The Inaugural College Staff for 1996 included:

Mr John Goodfellow – Principal (Maths)
Mrs Patricia Whitford – Business Manager
Ms Debbie Bard Brucker – Teaching Staff (Art, Food Tech, Graphics, Textiles, ESL)
Mr Paul Dowie – Teaching Staff (Science, Computers, Environmental Studies)
Ms Robyn Fry – Teaching Staff (English, ESL, Geography, Phys Ed, Japanese)
Mrs Liz Goodfellow – Teaching Staff (Kindergarten)
Mrs Debbie Howard – Teaching Staff (Music)
Mrs Ruth Schofield Smith – Teaching Staff (Kindergarten)
Mrs Jeannine Valmadre – Teaching Staff (English, Asian Studies, Librarian)
Mrs Anne Lambert – Kinder Assistant
Mrs Sandy Hutchison – Secretary
Ms Hatsune Okuba – Japanese Liaison
Mr Reid Simpson – Caretake
Mr Shaun Young – Groundsperson
Mrs Glenda Kennedy – Cleaner

“The newly appointed staff would have to work extremely hard to establish systems and procedures that are often taken for granted in established organisations. The site had not been occupied for a year and required a large amount of attention. The secondary teachers would need to teach a variety of areas, as well as taking on other roles…kitchens, office areas, the kindergarten play areas and learning areas all needed cleaning, resourcing and organising.”

[Reference- Dowie, P. The First Ten Years -1996 to 2005-]

Read More