Foundation Development

The concept and images of the Middle School Development – Shipsters Road Project have been circulating throughout the Pembroke community for several weeks, and the philosophy that ‘ideas matter’ has encouraged important conversations. The possibilities of having a living, breathing building to facilitate such exciting opportunities for our students and staff, in fact the whole community, is creating great interest and energy. After 5 years of serious thinking, investigating and planning, it is now time to make this vision for both the current and future generations of Pembroke students a reality. So, how do we as a School move this development from an amazing and unique educational opportunity to a reality?

Understanding the vision and expecting hard work are good starting points. The guest speaker at the recent Foundation Ambassadors Luncheon was Ms Julia Steele Scott, a current Year 6 parent and Manager of Philanthropy Australia, SA, WA and NT. She explored philanthropy in her address—what it means to give, regardless of the amount, and, importantly, what it enables both immediately and in the future.

Master of Ceremonies for the Ambassadors Luncheon Mr Neil Balnaves AO, a King’s old scholar and Pembroke benefactor, challenged guests to give and give generously, in whatever form, to make this initiative a reality. Giving means buying in to the philosophy and the opportunities that this building will provide. Neil went on to reveal the size of his pledge to the Shipsters Road Project. As he said, not out of arrogance, but to inspire others to give with the understanding that community buy in will transform this opportunity into reality. (Neil has pledged $500,000 to the Shipsters Road Project over the next 5 years).

Who to ask first? The Pembroke School community is large and it is often challenging to identify the best starting point. The Foundation members’ biennial Ambassadors Luncheon held in late August provided the first opportunity for the Principal to present the Shipsters Road and Middle School Redevelopment Plan to current and past donors to the School. Guests were inspired by the concept and we are encouraged by those who have since translated that inspiration into donations and pledges. We are both appreciative of and thankful for your support.

Year-level parent representatives have been invited to hear more about the project in recent weeks. Information surrounding the project is accessible to everyone via the website and the portal. ( Keep an eye on your emails, the School calendar, and School communications and publications.

The Capital Campaign Committee formed in 2015 to communicate this vision to our community comprises a group of hardworking old scholars, and current and past parents and staff. If you would like to join or learn more about this group please contact the Development office at

Large-scale developments such as the Shipsters Road Project are complex. Combining philosophical foundations, educational theory and practice plus financial equations. The project offers our entire community unique and wonderful opportunities—it is designed to bring the world in.

Hard work is evident throughout the entire project, in both mindset and muscle! The mindset is where we review our own beliefs and actions. For the staff it is thinking about what it means to work at Pembroke, the directions our practices can take via technology and facilities, and what we can offer our students today and into the future. For parents and families it is back to the basics of what we want our children to experience, what is going to prepare them for the challenges of their world and what we can do in our lives that will extend into the lives of grandchildren and beyond. For old scholars, past parents and the entire community it is about the essence of giving back.

And now for the muscle. No, it is not about laying bricks and levelling concrete, but about the commitment to keeping going—the legwork required in stopping to have that chat, or the energy in a positive response that ripples beyond the person or group you are talking to. It is about putting that understanding and belief into practice—starting or extending that building fund donation via your school fees, making a pledge to give an amount annually, feeling good that every time you drive or walk past Pembroke you are a very real part of our School’s present and future.

Philanthropy, whether we realise it or not, plays an important part in this School, and it is not a new concept at Pembroke. Across all three sub-schools Pembroke students are engaged in philanthropic initiatives large and small and both nationally and internationally. The Senior School Resource Centre, Middle School Resource Centre and Girton Arts Precinct have all benefited from funds contributed by old scholars and the parents of the day. A shining example of philanthropy at Pembroke is The Environmental Learning Centre currently under construction at Old Watulunga; it will be our first building funded entirely through donations from the Pembroke community. The Parents and Friends Association has contributed over $225,000, with the balance coming largely from old scholar donations.

For many, philanthropy is understood, appreciated and something that most of us try to embrace in between all the other responsibilities of life. What we must now do is switch our thinking to the present, about a moment in our School’s history, one that we all have a duty to be a part of. As Mr Neil Balnaves AO said, ‘understanding that community buy in will transform this opportunity into reality’ is paramount in bringing The Shipsters Road Project to fruition.

Along with the many who have already contributed to the Middle School Development, I encourage you to visit to learn more about how you can be involved in this exciting initiative. We can do this!

I would like to make a pledge to the campaign. How long can pledges go for?
We welcome pledges from those who would like to spread their donation over a maximum of 5 years. For example if you were to contribute $100,000 to the campaign, this could be done in instalments of $20,000 per year for 5 years.

Are my donations tax deductible?
Yes, every donation to the Pembroke Building Fund is tax deductible for Australian residents and you will be provided with a receipt for tax purposes.

Where do the funds from the Building Fund go?
Donations to the Building Fund are allocated to specific projects that must adhere to the specific ATO requirements for school building funds and not general maintenance. Recent projects that have benefited from the Building Fund include the installation of 3 x 30 kW photovoltaic solar systems installed on the roofs of the Middle School Resource Centre, the new Dorothy Yates Hall and the old Dorothy Yates Hall (now Senior Visual Art studios).

Why are you fundraising, and where do my fees go?
Pembroke School fees are used primarily for the express purpose of providing quality teaching staff and resources to all students. The School does not take a compulsory contribution for major future building projects and these must be funded separately.

What is the timeline of the Middle School Development build?
As you know the School was successful in its tender to purchase the Shipsters Road site. It is anticipated that the work will commence onsite in the second half of 2017 and, all being well, will be completed ready for the start of the 2019 school year. Upgrades to the Moody Centre, Wright Hall and Milne Science Laboratories will be carried out in such a way as to not impact on students and will most likely occur over the school holidays.


cut down prspective of new building OW

A drawing of the new Environmental Learning Centre at Old Watulunga


Old Watulunga Environmental Learning Centre
Old Watulunga is a property sited on the Finniss River between Strathalbyn and Goolwa. The School purchased the 43-acre site in 1988. Since this time several existing buildings have been upgraded and some new ones have been added. The property originally contained a substantial stone homestead that was converted to include a generous kitchen, dining/classroom area and basic dormitory accommodation. Although the homestead had been renovated and well maintained, the building was constructed without footings and on highly reactive soils, and its structural condition deteriorated to an extent that remedial works were unrealistic and hence the building was demolished 11 years ago.

The site is currently used for Outdoor Educational programs for Years 7 and 8, and as a starting base for Year 10 students. Historically, Old Watulunga has also been used for day trips for Science students, environmental studies, scouts, student leadership groups and Rowing camps.

In November 2015 the School commenced planning with architects Grieve Gillett Andersen a development that would incorporate a new commercial kitchen, indoor dining for up to 50 people that can also double as a learning space, and a covered outdoor dining area appropriate for an additional 50 persons. The outcome has been a design that maximises the views to the Finniss River and lagoon to the south and the open campsite recreational lawns to the north.

Some of the design features of the new development are:
• maximising the passive solar design with generous building overhangs to allow for penetration of the winter sun into the building while shading the interior from the harsh summer sun;
• maximising the use of cooling summer afternoon sea breezes to cool the building in the warmer months;
• utilising local limestone in an 800-mm thick external wall that also wraps internally as a feature;
• rainwater tanks and connections to the existing tank system to maximise rainwater catchment;
• a 10-kW solar system;
• an informative monitoring system of energy and water use;
• a built-in BBQ adjacent to the covered dining area; and
• a recycling area and supporting program that will assist in minimising reliance on landfill.

Additional to the main development are works to the sustainable garden area undertaken by Old Watulunga Manager David Nelson. David has created a series of limestone walls supporting raised planter beds that include interpretive and informative displays regarding ecological and sustainable systems. An arbour recycled from a felled eucalypt in the Junior School supports fruiting vines. A new interactive chook house will provide a home for hens that will in turn fertilise the orchard and provide farm fresh free-range eggs. Adjacent to the existing orchard is a series of raised beds where students will plant and maintain vegetable crops. These crops will then be harvested and the food prepared by students in an outdoor kitchen.

Construction works for the new building and outdoor area commenced on site in mid September, with a view to be complete and ready for School use in mid Term 2 2017.

The new facility at Old Watulunga offers increased educational benefits for our students and will provide for an array of community events such as Farmers Market Days, the 2018 Watulunga DownUnder Bike race, Parents and Friends Association functions and more.

The site offers endless possibilities in opening the farm gate to produce sustainable crops and food from native plants, olive oil and meat products.

Ms Bourchier
Foundation Director