Girls in Physics Breakfast in Geelong

At the breakfast students from Years 10 to 12 share a table with two or three women who are either in a career in physics or engineering, or are at university as an undergraduate or a postgraduate. The students have a chance to ask questions about their careers and what study at university is like. Students are seated with students from other schools.

At each breakfast there is an address by a prominent scientist, who talks about her area of interest at a level appropriate for the audience. Flyers
Date: Thurs, 15th August
Venue: Waurn Ponds Estate, Nicole Drive South, Waurn Ponds Thurs, 15th August
Times: 7:30am and finish about 10:00am.
Speakers: Prof Bre-Anne Sainsbury (left) and Prof Wendy Timms (right), Deakin University.
Bios: Prof Bre-Anne Sainsbury completed a Bachelor of Geological Engineering at RMIT in 1999 and joined the civil engineering industry. While gaining site experience in field investigation, she completed a Master of Engineering associated with coal geomechanics at UNSW. Based on this experience she joined the Coal Compensation Board and audited coal mine production for royalty payments. She moved to the USA in 2002 and spent 5 years as a geotechnical consultant. She returned to Australia in 2006 and started a numerical modelling company and commenced her PhD in mining engineering. Having completed her PhD in 2013, Bre-Anne took a role as the senior underground geotechnical engineer at the Ballarat Gold Mine. She joined academia in 2015. In her role at a University Bre-Anne has focused on teaching practical skills as well as completing engineering research associated breaking rock that assists with underground space design. She has broken rock that has been used for design at the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Metro and Melbourne Metro Rail Projects as well as mines in Sweden, South Africa, Chile, Canada, Congo, Indonesia and USA. Bre-Anne has two girls who are completing year 11 and 12 this year at school. They both do physics.
Prof Wendy Timms is a Chartered Civil Engineer and Environmental Engineer. She has 30 years of professional experience in water and waste challenges across Australia, and also Canada and South-East Asia. She started with a BSc (Honours 1st class) from Uni of Newcastle and ANU, worked for awhile and then achieved a PhD in Engineering at UNSW. She has worked as a consulting engineering, in government, and in education and was a Vice President of International Association of Hydrogeologists. She wears another hat as an expert advisor to the Federal Minister of Environment.
A gap year during uni was spent as high school teacher in a refugee camp, and helping with water and waste problems in challenging conditions.

Topics: a) The Gentle Art of Breaking Stuff, b) Locking Carbon in the Ground: How, When Where?
a: Designing excavations in rock is just as challenging as sending someone to space. Why? Because we need to design large, open, self-supporting caverns and tunnels in a naturally occurring material that we cannot measure its true strength. The physics of rock failure is discussed and how it is applied to design safe tunnels and mines is outlined.
b: How to lock carbon dioxide back into the ground and our soils? Let’s check out options including planting trees, making biochar, and storing carbon in natural soil and deep geological traps. Where can we do this across the country? When can our planet reach carbon-neutral? How we can make our planet really sustainable with balanced carbon, water, waste and energy systems?
The table below shows the fee structure, it includes GST.

First TeacherNo Charge
Second Teacher$25 / $10*
per Student$25 / $10*

* A discount was available for schools with a low ICSEA rank. Discounts could be applied for by emailing Vicphysics with subject ‘Breakfast discount’.


Two methods to pay are available,

  • by credit card or
  • by bank transfer, an email is generated with the details of the Vicphysics bank account.

Max number of students per school: To enable more schools to participate, there was an initial maximum of twelve (12) students per school.



There is a 45 min talk, starting about 8:20am followed by questions. After this there are two activities on Careers in STEM i) Quiz and Job Roles Analysis and ii) Case Studies analysis. A Q&A with a panel of guests rounds out the event.

The Girls in Physics Breakfasts are organised by the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network and supported by the Invergowrie Foundation.