Our Hillbrook Landmarks

Working at Hillbrook

As you walk around the grounds of Hillbrook, you will notice some of our landmarks. Not your usual statues or plinths, but a metal sculpture resembing the DNA helix or a large black feather. You’ll also see plaques honouring students who left this earth way too early.

Geoff Newton (Past Principal), wrote some words at the end of Term 2, 2021 about some of the ‘statues’ in our garden.

“Statues have recently become a big focus as a result of the black lives matter movement. Metaphorically, statues can be described as important ideas and beliefs in the garden of our lives.

All of our gardens flourish, die and regrow around these statues, and as they stand and weather, these statues serve as a reminder of the important things that underpin who we are, where weappve come from and who we may become.

As a country, and globally, we are currently doing much soul searching, re-examining those things we hold dear. The question is: Are the statues that we hold true, and define us as human beings still relevant?

All of the statues and sculptures in the Hillbrook grounds were created with a purpose and help to define the important elements of our community and our lives.

Our school community lives between the five poles at our entrance made from our iron bark tree that stood on this land for over 100 years, to the poles that represent our place in the greater community of our shared humanity.

We hope that you too have such statues in your garden, and that you remember and live the values your statues represent.”


Let’s have a look at some of these statues and sculptures and what they mean to us.

Tree of Life Poles

The five new poles at the entrance of the school are made from the iron bark tree that gave our Chapel its name, The Tree of Life Chapel, and they represent, as does the Dhirridhirri feather sculpture, the walaay or groups that make up our school.


Dhirridhirri is Gamillaraay for Willy wagtail. The black feather represents the Willy Wagtail, the favourite bird of artist Laurie Nilsen. The concentric circles are a symbol of a campsite, which in Gamillaraay is called Walaay. The 5 walaay represent the 5 Houses of Hillbrook.Although separated, the students are actually a united, connected whole.

There's a place for me here

Also known as The jigsaw puzzlewas also designed with our five colours and you will notice that the pieces deliberately don’t quite fit. It also echoes the double helix DNA structure, the building block of life. This reminds us that while we are all different, we all share a common humanity and we canappt be made to fit into what others expect of us.

The Tree

This sculpture was commissioned for our 25ٳAnniversary and symbolises the connection of the Enoggera Boys’ Home to the school and recognizes the land upon which we now stand is the same as it always was, the stainless steel side. The rusty side is the joy, hope, and learning that goes on here is the new story of this place and is helping right the wrongs of the past. These wrongs are still part of our journey and while not forgotten we have learned some valuable lessons to help us find our way and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

The Timeline

The Hillbrook Timeline continues the story of the land, as central to who we are. Beginning before time to the present day, it evokes (we hope) a sense that we are all connected. Our ancestors, our present relationships, and yet to be people are walking with us nourishing and guiding who we are to become.

Peace Poles

We started at the entrance to the school with the poles that represent our colours, and now we finish with our Peace Poles. These six poles represent the continents and are made from timbers representative of the forests of those places. Trees are nurturing and timeless, and an important part of our community. The poles speak to our shared humanity and our obligation and commitment to all peoples.

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