Alan Henry retires after decades of service

IGS cleaner Alan Henry is retiring after decades of service to IGS in multiple locations.

Alan has been a familiar friendly face at the School for 32 years, cleaning the School with his wife Emy, who has been with the School for 28 years.

On top of their usual job from 2pm to 8pm, cleaning the floors and other surfaces, they have been wiping down desks at the School from 5am to 8am as part of the School’s ramped up cleaning protocols to minimise COVID infections.

Alan recalls friendships, fun and many changes for the better at the School, which has grown from 200 students to more than 1,200. 

Alan and his late twin brother Tommy first came to contract clean for IGS in July 1989 with Alert Property Maintenance at the IGS Surry Hills campus, a “rabbit warren” where “the toilets would flood when it rained”.

In 1991, with student numbers growing, the IGS Thames Street campus in Balmain was established, also cleaned by Alan. Several years later, the Balmain Campus closed, and Years 11 and 12 moved to a two-storey campus in Mountain Street in January 1995, when Eddie Jones was Acting Principal, joining Years 7 to 10.

Alan and Emy’s A & T Bluegum Cleaning was registered as a sub-contractor for Alert in September 1993. They also cleaned the Kelly Street Campus from July 1997 when it opened and then, the Wright Building, from 1999.

Alan said he has enjoyed long-term friendships with other long-serving staff, including Director of Dramatic Arts Rita Morabito, Head of Humanities David Miller, Director of Development Paul Galea, Head of Languages Junior School Vilma Rotellini, and Director of Languages Rosalba Genua-Petrovic.

He thanked the teachers in the Wright Building for ensuring that the children used the bins, and said many in the IGS community were kind people with a good sense of humour.

Alan said his most challenging days were during wet weather, when the children ate indoors, and towards the end of each term.

IGS Principal Shauna Colnan is the sixth principal Alan has known.

“I think Shauna has done a very good job at IGS,” Alan said. “For over seven years she’s improved the inside of the building unbelievably. Shauna’s vision is very good for the School.”

“The School is getting better and better and better. The outside looks the same, but on the inside? Wow. You wouldn’t think it was the same building.”

He’s excited about the changes at the School yet to come, including the Renaissance Centre. 

As Alan retires, Emy will continue to clean from 2 or 3pm until 8.30pm, and Alan hopes to return as a security guard for major productions like the musical. 

Alan is looking forward to spending more time with friends and family.

“I’m happy I’m retiring, but I’m going to miss the people at IGS.”

We’ll miss you, too, Alan! Thank you, and all the best for your retirement!