Class of 1997 Alumnus, Beau Miles, started at St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School in Year 10. One of his greatest memories whilst at St Paul’s was sharing three of his five subjects in Year 12 with Ash Moore, which he said, “severely affected his university rank… and was worth every penny of it)”. He also remembers “quite honestly” having exceptional teachers who developed real and ongoing relationships with students across the years.
After finishing Year 12, Beau stayed on at St Paul’s as a Sport and Outdoor Education trainee and went on to do an odd assortment of jobs whilst studying outdoor education at Monash University. He travelled extensively to all corners of the globe on a shoestring budget, always in search of backwaters and backstories. He said he has only really had three main jobs in life: St Paul’s (teacher on and off from 1998 to 2007); Monash University (2008 to 2019) and Camp Sangamon in the United States (2001 to 2013). Heavily influenced by good people, good books and wide thinking parents, Beau is a traveller at heart, but just as happy now on his small farm in Jindivick with his wife, Helen and baby May.
Beau completed his PhD titled “The Secret Life of the Sea Kayaker” which focuses on expeditionary sea kayaking, including a recent crossing to Tasmania (Bass by Kayak on YouTube) emphasising the importance of reflection, storytelling, and self-made adventure.
After 12 years as a university lecturer in the faculty of Education at Monash University, Beau is now a full-time writer and filmmaker. Beau’s films have won dozens of prizes all over the world, screening at festivals and on broadcast TV in Russia, Brazil, the United States and Australia. His films have also been seen by millions of people on YouTube.
Beau was the first person to run the 655 kilometre Australian Alps Walking Track that follows the alpine areas of Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT; and the last person (2019) to re-trace the old Warragul to Noojee railway line. He founded the International Sea Kayaking Educators Symposium (ISKES), has written extensively for magazines and is a regular guest on television for Studio 10 (Network 10) and the ABC.
When we asked Beau what he enjoyed most about what he is doing now, he said “If I have anything, it’s diversity. I lead a heck of a full life because I’m not all that happy about being here for such a short space of time”.
Beau chose outdoor education, filmmaking, writing and travel because they complement each other so well, and fundamentally, they are what he enjoys most – which he said is the most important aspect of what we all can or should do.
When we asked Beau what he found most challenging about what he is doing now, he said “I’m currently shooting a tiny home/office film during the COVID-19 lockdown, based on only using what’s on my farm, while being a new Dad, and without Helen knowing (as the project is for Helen’s birthday), which is proving mighty tricky!”
During his time at St Paul’s, Beau enjoyed the genuine relationships, getting outdoors, the trust that teachers had in him, and the travel, work and learning opportunities that were created.
He described his time at St Paul’s as “Brilliant. Not because I should say that, but I really did have a beaut time. School was the best part of my day.” He believes that all of his teachers contributed in some way to his current interests.
Beau has recently taken up competitive (badly) woodchopping, steaming (instead of boiling) vegetables, and is packing for a long walk with his wife and daughter (when May is bigger and strong enough for the large backpack carrier).
Beau has returned to St Paul’s several times over the years to speak to current students, providing the subtle message that each one of them has the potential to achieve great things and can find inspiration to create their own adventures. Each time he returns, he also proudly tells current students that he still wears his rugby top and his St Paul’s hat even after all these years.
To view some of Beau’s adventures, click on the following YouTube link: Beau Miles YouTube Channel