BGS Entrepreneurs

Below you will discover four incredible entrepreneurial stories of current and past BGS students. Their pathways are as varied as is the entrepreneurial spirit which is fostered at BGS.
BGS Entrepreneurs

Pioneer Aviator, Airforce Officer, Electrical Engineer, Inventor

John Robertson Duigan MC (OB 1901)

In 1910, John flew an aircraft (a seven metre hop) at his family’s Mia Mia property, near Kyneton. This is acknowledged as the first powered, controlled flight of an all-Australian designed and built aeroplane.

John accomplished the flight with little outside help other than several books, the magazine Aero and the engineering skills of his younger brother, Reginald Charles – making John’s effort extremely remarkable.

After attending BGS, John went to study electrical engineering in London. He also qualified in motor engineering and driving and then worked for the Wakefield and District Light Railway in Yorkshire. Returning to Australia in 1908, John lived on the family property in Mia Mia.

John’s experiments in aviation dated from 1908 when he constructed an unsuccessful kite. Next in 1909 he began building a Wright-type glider, capable of lifting two people off the ground.

Before September 1909, John began construction of his own design powered aircraft. Apart from the engine, the whole aircraft was made by John on the farm. His brother Reginald helped assemble the aircraft which John first ‘flew’ in it on 16 July 1910, hopping about 20 feet. By early October he was flying nearly 200 yards (183 metres). These were the first flights in Australia of a locally designed and built aircraft.

John returned to England in 1911 and in 1916 he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in No.2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, and was appointed to command the squadron’s second flight in August. John was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in action during WWI. He later opened his own motor engineering business in Yarrawonga. He served in the Quality Control Branch of the Royal Australian Air Force in WWII.

In 1970 the Duigan brothers were honoured on an Australian postage stamp. In the early 21st century, Qantas named one of its Airbus A380s after John and Reginald Duigan in recognition of the brothers’ contribution to aviation industry.

In 1910, John flew an aircraft (a seven metre hop) at his family’s Mia Mia property, near Kyneton. This is acknowledged as the first powered, controlled flight of an all-Australian designed and built aeroplane.

John accomplished the flight with little outside help other than several books, the magazine Aero and the engineering skills of his younger brother, Reginald Charles – making John’s effort extremely remarkable.

After attending BGS, John went to study electrical engineering in London. He also qualified in motor engineering and driving and then worked for the Wakefield and District Light Railway in Yorkshire. Returning to Australia in 1908, John lived on the family property in Mia Mia.

John’s experiments in aviation dated from 1908 when he constructed an unsuccessful kite. Next in 1909 he began building a Wright-type glider, capable of lifting two people off the ground.

Before September 1909, John began construction of his own design powered aircraft. Apart from the engine, the whole aircraft was made by John on the farm. His brother Reginald helped assemble the aircraft which John first ‘flew’ in it on 16 July 1910, hopping about 20 feet. By early October he was flying nearly 200 yards (183 metres). These were the first flights in Australia of a locally designed and built aircraft.

John returned to England in 1911 and in 1916 he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in No.2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, and was appointed to command the squadron’s second flight in August. John was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in action during WWI. He later opened his own motor engineering business in Yarrawonga. He served in the Quality Control Branch of the Royal Australian Air Force in WWII.

In 1970 the Duigan brothers were honoured on an Australian postage stamp. In the early 21st century, Qantas named one of its Airbus A380s after John and Reginald Duigan in recognition of the brothers’ contribution to aviation industry.

Pioneer Aviator, Airforce Officer, Electrical Engineer, Inventor

John Robertson Duigan MC (OB 1901)

BGS Entrepreneurs

Co Founder Rip Curl (International surf brand)

Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick (OB 1960)

Cold water, a love of surfing and some sharp ideas helped Doug Warbrick and a mate develop Rip Curl into an iconic international brand and a major sponsor of surfing worldwide. As a consequence, Torquay, also the home of Quiksilver, has become a mecca for surfers from all around the world.

Doug (better known as ‘Claw’) and his friend Brian Singer, founded Rip Curl in Torquay Victoria in 1967. The two young surfers simply dreamt of one thing: to live and work near the waves. They began by making surfboards and settled in a former bakery. Winter is harsh in Torquay, but the waves are good which led to the idea to expand the business by making wetsuits.

So in 1969, with the help of a vintage sewing machine, the friends began running up wetsuits, which led to the idea of transforming diving technology into a wetsuit suitable for surfing. Rip Curl has grown to become one of the largest surfing brands in Australia, Europe and South America and is also active in North America and South Africa. They have diversified to sell surf boards, snowboards, wetsuits, clothing and accessories to support these sports.

The name ‘Rip Curl’ was taken from a vee-bottom surfboard that Doug bought in 1968, on which he’d written “Rip Curl Hot Dog.” The words didn’t mean anything, he later admitted, “Except ripping was groovy; surfing the curl was groovy; we wanted to be groovy — so that was it.”

Doug was also responsible for starting the internationally recognised Bells Beach Surf Classic in 1973, now the Rip Curl Pro, held during Easter each year at Bells Beach.

In 2010 Doug was inducted into the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame. After surfing for over 50 years, Doug still maintains a fierce passion for everything surfing: the industry, sport, culture, history, contests, free surfing, innovation, travel and adventure, as well as mentoring surfing’s great young talents and witnessing their exceptional performances.

Cold water, a love of surfing and some sharp ideas helped Doug Warbrick and a mate develop Rip Curl into an iconic international brand and a major sponsor of surfing worldwide. As a consequence, Torquay, also the home of Quiksilver, has become a mecca for surfers from all around the world.

Doug (better known as ‘Claw’) and his friend Brian Singer, founded Rip Curl in Torquay Victoria in 1967. The two young surfers simply dreamt of one thing: to live and work near the waves. They began by making surfboards and settled in a former bakery. Winter is harsh in Torquay, but the waves are good which led to the idea to expand the business by making wetsuits.

So in 1969, with the help of a vintage sewing machine, the friends began running up wetsuits, which led to the idea of transforming diving technology into a wetsuit suitable for surfing. Rip Curl has grown to become one of the largest surfing brands in Australia, Europe and South America and is also active in North America and South Africa. They have diversified to sell surf boards, snowboards, wetsuits, clothing and accessories to support these sports.

The name ‘Rip Curl’ was taken from a vee-bottom surfboard that Doug bought in 1968, on which he’d written “Rip Curl Hot Dog.” The words didn’t mean anything, he later admitted, “Except ripping was groovy; surfing the curl was groovy; we wanted to be groovy — so that was it.”

Doug was also responsible for starting the internationally recognised Bells Beach Surf Classic in 1973, now the Rip Curl Pro, held during Easter each year at Bells Beach.

In 2010 Doug was inducted into the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame. After surfing for over 50 years, Doug still maintains a fierce passion for everything surfing: the industry, sport, culture, history, contests, free surfing, innovation, travel and adventure, as well as mentoring surfing’s great young talents and witnessing their exceptional performances.

Co Founder Rip Curl (International surf brand)

Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick (OB 1960)

BGS Entrepreneurs

JAX SOLAR PAX

Jackson Court (Year 12 2022)

Jackson, when in Year 8, designed a solar powered backpack which will charge a phone or iPad directly.

Jacksons goal was to solve a ‘real problem’ – which was, he always ran out of battery for his iPhone when he was out and about with his friends. Not only was Jackson a finalist in the Victorian Science Talent Search competition, but the judges and other contestants said they’d like to buy one.

Based on the feedback Jackson received from teachers and friends on his prototype, he realised his solar power backpacks solved real phone charging problems.

Based on this positive feedback, Jackson had the idea to start his company, Jax Solar Pax.

According to Jackson, “I knew from the prototype that this would be a huge success as there are so many use cases for my solar powered backpacks. Also, I figured it was more fun to start a business and sell backpacks online than to do chores around the house for extra pocket money.”

Jackson also worked with the innovations department at Energy Australia who helped him think about product design. In addition, he worked with a graphic designer, who helped him with his logo.

Another BGS entrepreneur in the making.

Jackson, when in Year 8, designed a solar powered backpack which will charge a phone or iPad directly.

Jacksons goal was to solve a ‘real problem’ – which was, he always ran out of battery for his iPhone when he was out and about with his friends. Not only was Jackson a finalist in the Victorian Science Talent Search competition, but the judges and other contestants said they’d like to buy one.

Based on the feedback Jackson received from teachers and friends on his prototype, he realised his solar power backpacks solved real phone charging problems.

Based on this positive feedback, Jackson had the idea to start his company, Jax Solar Pax.

According to Jackson, “I knew from the prototype that this would be a huge success as there are so many use cases for my solar powered backpacks. Also, I figured it was more fun to start a business and sell backpacks online than to do chores around the house for extra pocket money.”

Jackson also worked with the innovations department at Energy Australia who helped him think about product design. In addition, he worked with a graphic designer, who helped him with his logo.

Another BGS entrepreneur in the making.

JAX SOLAR PAX

Jackson Court (Year 12 2022)

BGS Entrepreneurs

SENSORY CUBE

James Tan (Year 10 2022)

James, when in Year 9, was invited to present his award-winning Sensory Cube, a Rubik’s style cube for vision impaired people, at the Vision Australia National Conference.

James joined CEO Ron Hooton and employees from around Australia (both in person and via Zoom) at Vision Australia’s head office. He designed his original cube completely from scratch for the Year 8 iDesign Program and was awarded top iDesign project for the year.

His cube was made from over 109 pieces and was designed on Autodesk Fusion 360 software and manufactured using 3D printing. The process took James over 200 hours and saw him create five prototypes with both a 2×2 and 3×3 layout.

His final design has interchangeable segments so the cube can be both a standard or textured version, depending on the end user’s needs.

CEO Ron Hooton was impressed with the Sensory Cube. Ron is keen to work with James to help further develop his concept and test his product with vision impaired clients in the future.

BGS looks forward to watching James’ entrepreneurial journey unfold.

James, when in Year 9, was invited to present his award-winning Sensory Cube, a Rubik’s style cube for vision impaired people, at the Vision Australia National Conference.

James joined CEO Ron Hooton and employees from around Australia (both in person and via Zoom) at Vision Australia’s head office. He designed his original cube completely from scratch for the Year 8 iDesign Program and was awarded top iDesign project for the year.

His cube was made from over 109 pieces and was designed on Autodesk Fusion 360 software and manufactured using 3D printing. The process took James over 200 hours and saw him create five prototypes with both a 2×2 and 3×3 layout.

His final design has interchangeable segments so the cube can be both a standard or textured version, depending on the end user’s needs.

CEO Ron Hooton was impressed with the Sensory Cube. Ron is keen to work with James to help further develop his concept and test his product with vision impaired clients in the future.

BGS looks forward to watching James’ entrepreneurial journey unfold.

SENSORY CUBE

James Tan (Year 10 2022)

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