The George Wood Performing Arts Centre: The People
Buildings can shape and are shaped by the experiences of those that dwell within it – the PAC is a standing testament to the people of the school, in particular its namesake. We celebrate the character and efforts of George Wood. He had a formative influence on Yarra. He was instrumental in the adoption of co-education in Years 11 and 12 from 1978, and the move to full co-education from 1994. He encouraged the school’s reorganisation into Junior, Middle and Senior Schools, the operation of the Hearing Unit, and the establishment of Yarra as a respected force in AGSV sports.
During his impressive 43 years at AGSV schools as a student, teacher and administrator, George was known for his kind, attentive and determined nature. A student at Trinity Grammar, he finished in 1948 – the same year as Kelvin Emmett, who was later to become Head of Yarra Valley’s Junior School. He completed a science degree and Diploma of Education at the University of Melbourne. He returned to teach at Trinity Grammar in 1953, and after teaching in London 1955 through to 1957, returned again in 1958. He was appointed Senior Master, equivalent to the Deputy Principal, until he was appointed Headmaster of Yarra Valley in 1976.
George oversaw significant developments during his time at Yarra. This includes a major construction program, including the Graphics Centre, the swimming pool, and Science Laboratory. He is noted as a key pillar to the harmonious relationship between staff and parents we now know.
When he retired, a whole School farewell was held on 22 November 1993 in the Centre, which was accordingly renamed 'The George Wood Performing Arts Centre'. The building honours and preserves his commitment to community and education, ideals which continue to reverberate through the present culture at Yarra. He was presented with two beautiful paintings of the PAC as a farewell gift from the School.