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(Wednesday) 18 Aug 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


Webinar - Online

+ Add to Calendar 18/08/2021 09:00 AM 18/08/2021 04:00 PM Australia/Sydney Kurrajong Heights 2021

An inaugural online conference featuring local, national and international speakers who are experts in their fields.

Webinar - Online DD/MM/YYYY

Kurrajong Heights 2021



Mr Phillip Heath AM
Head of Barker College

Mr David Charles
Chair of Council

The Honourable Matt Kean
MP Member for Hornsby,
Minister for Energy and the Environment

The role of young people in
changing the world

Facilitator: Matthew Hill

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Concurrent sessions

Professor Vanessa Hayes

Facilitator: Matthew Hill

The future of precision health

Vanessa Hayes is a geneticist conducting research into cancer genomics and comparative human genomics.
She leads a research group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney Australia and holds the Petre Chair of Prostate Cancer Research at the University of Sydney.

Vanessa completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and a PhD in Cancer Genetics at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands (1999). She has travelled the world, leading research teams in South Africa, United States and ultimately Australia, where she calls Sydney home. Staying true to her childhood passion to unravel the mysteries of the human DNA code and her love for the African continent and people, Vanessa has dedicated her research career to using state-of-the-art genomic tools and computational methods to unravel modern humans’ earliest evolution within Africa.

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Mr Marcus West

Facilitator: Julia Anstey

The elevator pitch

TV shows like “Shark Tank” have popularised the idea of the “Elevator Pitch.” An Elevator Pitch is a compressed 100 word description of a business idea. It is called an elevator pitch because it should take the length of an elevator ride, about 60 seconds, to deliver it to your intended audience.

So, what steps do you need to take to craft a compelling script, to rehearse it and then to deliver it so that it produces the right result? Being able to present an idea in a compelling way and deliver it memorably is a critical “soft skill” for any future professional regardless of industry.

Marcus West is Australia’s leading presentation skills coach who has coached most of the people you see on TV, as well as sports stars, politicians and business people here and overseas. He is the Founder and CEO of

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Ms Sarah Curran

Facilitator: Tim Scott

Bats: Superheroes of the night sky

Sarah is an alumna of Barker who discovered a passion for these unique mammals in 2010. Nectar and fruit feeding bats are vital to forest regeneration as pollinators and dispersers of rainforest seeds. Insect-eating bats play an important role in the natural control of insect population.

Sarah has since been volunteering in local rescue and rehabilitation, as well as conservation, education and advocacy throughout Australia and south east Asia. She works as a physiotherapist for humans and animals in her spare time, and shares her stories on social media @sarahsbats.

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Concurrent sessions

Dr Benjamin Zander

Facilitator: Julia Anstey

The transformative power of classical music

Benjamin Zander is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, an educator and writer of the acclaimed The Art of Possibility. He uses musical communication and performance as a vehicle for fostering a better world. One where all of humankind has access to the immense benefit of deep engagement through relationships, communication, and passion.

Dr Zander’s TED talk is most inspiring and has had 15,109,493 views.

“The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.” Benjamin Zander is well known for his ability to draw out potential and excellence, not just in music but in all aspects of life.

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Mr Matt Burke

Facilitator: Matt Macoustra

How rugby shaped my life

Matt Burke is a Barker parent and well known Australian rugby union player. He started playing rugby for Eastwood and in 1990 was selected for the Australian School Boys team. Matt played for the Wallabies from 1993-2004. He contributed to the victory in the 1999 Rugby World Cup and numerous Bledisloe Cup competitions. 

Matt was considered one of the finest fullbacks and goal kickers of his day. His eight penalty goals against South Africa in 1999 (World Cup) is an Australian record. His career ended in 2008 after failing to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

He now works as a commentator for Channel 10.

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Dr John Dickson

Facilitator: Pete Tong

Where is God in the pandemic?

John will talk about a couple of other ancient pandemics and how the Christians faced them. He will talk about anti-vaccine problems. John will point people to the God who can be trusted because he revealed his heart in the cross.

John thinks, writes, and speaks for a living. His journey has been an eclectic one. Starting out as the singer-songwriter for the 90s rock band ‘In the Silence’, he now works as an author and academic. John is a Visiting Academic in the Faculty of Classics at Oxford University, where he is researching Christianity and education in the ancient and early medieval worlds. In 2019 he was appointed the Distinguished Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Public Christianity at Ridley College in Melbourne.

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Concurrent sessions

Dr Carlos Bacigalupo

Facilitator: Matthew Hill

A voyage to the edge of the Universe

Join Carlos on a trip from earth to the edge of the known universe, highlighting the most interesting objects (including Mars) while keeping focus on the spatial scale of things as we go.

Dr Carlos Bacigalupo is an astronomer who has dedicated his life to sharing his passion for the Universe and attempting to understand our place within it. He has worked on public outreach around the world including six years at the Sydney Observatory. Carlos focused a large part of his professional career on the development of world class astronomical instruments. Some of his projects include the HERMES spectrograph, currently observing over a million stars using the largest optical telescope in Australia, the automation of the Macquarie University observatory and the development of the Taipan instrument measuring the rate of expansion of the Universe. In recent years, as Head of R&D at Maxon Australia, he has been involved in several space applications, including the Mars rovers.

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Mr Jonathon Dallimore

Facilitator: Philip Mundy

The Great War – What's to remember?

We rightly remember the Great War (1914 – 1918) as one of the 20th century’s most important events. It profoundly shaped the lives of millions of people across every continent. Young men, including many from Barker College, marched off to fight while others worked to support the war effort on the home front. The war still looms large in our collective memory but its memory is uneven – it is remembered differently in various parts of the world. This session aims to briefly consider different ways of remembering the Great War just over 100 years after its conclusion.

Jonathon currently works as the Professional Officer for the History Teachers’ Association of New South Wales. He has written several school textbooks including Contesting the Great War (2017) which introduces students to key debates about the First World War. Jonathon also teaches History Method classes at the University of New South Wales and the University of Wollongong.

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Associate Professor
Peter McGilchrist

Facilitator: Scott Graham

How to master the selection and cooking of meat.

Dr Peter McGilchrist is an Associate Professor of Meat Science at UNE in Armidale. Peter’s research revolves around ensuring global consumer satisfaction of Australian red meat. Peter teaches undergraduate rural science, agriculture and agribusiness students at UNE and is very passionate about everything from soil to scotch fillets!

The areas covered will be:

  1. What cooking methods are best for different cuts
  2. Cooking temperatures – mastering the roast
  3. Brands of beef at Australian retail stores
  4. Packaging & storage of meat

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Concurrent sessions

Mr Mark Morrison OAM

Facilitator: Julia Anstey

Keeping ourselves safe

Mark will explore what a compassionate and effective response to domestic family violence for girls and young mothers in the Kempsey community looks like.

Mark was Principal of the Macleay Vocational College since 2012 and has been involved with MVWLC Inc since 1993. Mark also previously taught and coached a number of students during his time working as a teacher at St Paul’s College Kempsey as well as during his time at schools in Sydney. 

Mark received an OAM for his unstinting work in the Kempsey Shire to educate, mentor and care for students, many of them Indigenous, who have fallen out of mainstream education. He is currently handing over the principalship of the school but continues to contribute to the community. He has been appointed the coach of the Australian School Boys Rugby League team.

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Mr Michael Griffin

Facilitator: Peter Ellis

Performance and motivation

For musical progress, nothing is as important as the quality and the quantity of practice time. This talk will equip students and parents with the methods and mindset required to maximise the prospect of learning music enjoyably and successfully.

Choral conductor, educator, speaker and author, Michael has used his varied and extensive experience as a musician and teacher to articulate a learning mindset for exploring music in theory and practice. He is well known for his pragmatic solutions for parents and teachers in assisting students to develop musical skill and passion.

Michael is the recipient of over 40 awards for his conducting and has spoken in over 30 countries. He has also taught in a wide range of schools, state, catholic and independent.

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Ms Sue Williams

Facilitator: Matthew Hill

Writing your world

From escaping a rocket launch attack in Iraq, surviving a game of Russian roulette in Uganda and interviewing Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Daniel Craig in Cannes, Sue Williams says a career as a writer can be the most exciting – and scariest – job in the world. She says all you need is to be determined, daring and perhaps, at times, a little crazy.  

Sue Williams is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist and travel writer, working in newspapers, magazines and TV in Australia, the UK and New Zealand, as well as lecturing on writing at Boston University’s Sydney campus. After 25 non-fiction books, from biography and true crime to travel, her first historical novel, Elizabeth & Elizabeth, was published in 2021 to great acclaim. 

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