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An unexpected arrival

At a big, restless school like ours, we’re often landed with the unexpected, but on a still, beautiful morning in late February, St Kilda Road Campus had an unexpected arrival that was literally out of the blue.

Jac Davenport from Year 6 was minding his own business doing his before-school basketball training when he looked up to see a very large hot air balloon, low in the sky and coming his way.

‘It was coming down, and I thought it was going to hit the flagpole,’ he said. ‘But then it went past it and all of a sudden, it landed!’

Head of Campus, Kim Bence, was just getting her day started when the unanticipated visitors arrived just before eight o’clock. ‘I was greeted by this rather large balloon coming past my window, just missing our wonderful lions in the Rose Garden and landing quite beautifully and most spectacularly on our front turf,’ she said.

‘I was in panic mode trying to ensure it didn’t land on children or cars or anyone was injured, and I know that dear Graham (Sullivan) was very worried about that flame burning his beautiful front turf, but all was well.’

‘The entire event was completely surreal,’ said Kim. ‘I walked towards the balloon and was faced with a group of eight balloonists staring at me from inside the basket. My first words were ‘Good morning, welcome to Wesley’. The people in the basket laughed. What else could I say?’

Tradition has it that an unexpected arrival by hot air balloon in the fields in France requires the gift of champagne to the landowner. ‘We are now the recipients of a lovely bottle of French champagne,’ said Kim. ‘Unfortunately, it will not go far with a staff of 300 plus.’

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