TSS Philanthropic Past Projects

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Numerous members of the TSS community including Old Boys (alumni) and Parents and Friends have invested in the school’s continued growth and specifically the range of resources the School needs throughout the generations to continue improving its ability to educate and develop young men. Most facilities and resources that offer benefits to our current and future students, were first established through fundraising and philanthropic endeavours that span over a century. Parts of the background and historic timeline within this information have been sourced from TSS Archives and Bearing the Palm, to illustrate some of the key philanthropic moments since TSS was established in 1901.

A Century of TSS Philanthropic Projects

Bishop Dixon laying foundation Stone at Memorial Library

Bishop Dixon laying foundation Stone at Memorial Library

1901 a Dr R S Berry gave Horace a loan of 1000 pounds to do repairs on the governor’s house and assist in establishing what was then know originally as Southport High School later to be renamed The Southport School, with country families, parish and Dixon supporters contributing generously to help establish TSS. Many such as Eric Ussher, Eric McMillan and Malcolm Read and names that now have 4th and 5th generations at the school feature heavily in fundraising in the early years at TSS.

Shortly after June 1916, when there was at least 150 former student of The Southport School serving at the Western Front and in the Middle East, “a strident call was made through the pages of the school magazine to have a chapel constructed at the school; a building that was to become a memorial to those who had volunteered to serve their country”. Construction of the chapel was estimated at 5000 pounds. Once the war concluded and the Old Southportonians’ Association was reactivated, a large proportion of the funds needed to build St Alban’s Chapel were raised around 1919 through philanthropy and ensured construction commenced.

1926 (Standing) Mr J.W.Lahey, Mr C. Elliott, Mr P.A. Blundell. (Sitting) Mr J.Allan, The Archbishop, The Bishop - played a part in enabling new building.

1926 (Standing) Mr J.W.Lahey, Mr C. Elliott, Mr P.A. Blundell. (Sitting) Mr J.Allan, The Archbishop, The Bishop – played a part in enabling new building.

Horace Dixon set up a chapel fund in 1918 in addition to all proceeds generated from the tuckshop also being directed to the chapel fund. Parents donated money, furnishings and stained glass windows to the fund to commemorate family who had died in war. Letters asking for help with money for the chapel were sent home to parents and every Old Boy

1925 Mr and Mrs Campbell set up a sum of money in a fixed deposit be used annually on maturity towards funds needed around the school. This was in memory of a son who attended TSS and was killed in a riding accident. Also J.W. Lahey was a big donator to the school providing funds for new equipment and teachers. He featured in numerous fundraising campaigns and was well recognised for his work.

1927 Horace Dixon appealed for help with funds towards the Clock Tower Building via the Southportonian in his headmasters address. A fundraising committee was formed to raise money from families and Old Boys for the significant debt the clock tower building would place on TSS. 1928, Horace offered debentures to families for loans towards the building fund and with return interest.

Building Debentures Release

Building Debentures Release

John Mander-Jones was a member of the 2/10th Field Regiment, A.I.F. and died of wounds at Singapore February 8th, 1942 left in his last will and testament, bequeathed a cash legacy of 1500 pounds to the Old Southportonians’ Association and remains one the most significant philanthropic contribution of its time, continuing to offer benefits to the School today.

Having been involved in the OSA and its Southport Branch that was established in 1950 and was one of the most consistent groups at that time involved in fundraising activities and making many sizeable donations to the School, Charles Montague Clavill Bere left a bequest with specific instructions to the Old Southportonians’ Association. Over the past 50 years since being established, the Clavill Bere Fund continues to contribute significant funds to assist the School in the purchase of new rowing equipment.

1982 fundraising focused on a new Junior (Preparatory) School to be established on the School’s grounds in Lupus Street. Local neighbouring parishes were asked to help out with funds, as were the OSA, P&F and Supporters of TSS

In 1984 Alex Nicholson was appointed as the first member of staff to be a professional fundraiser running the Development Office. Amongst a number of initiatives to assist TSS become more capable of fundraising, he also supported the establishment of The Southport School Foundation, which came into being 1st March 1987.

1989 the Olympic pool was constructed with the help of the P&F who contributed towards the then $600,000 campaign goal. Gloria Frail was a chief instigator in fundraising for this project in her role with the Parents and Friends Committee, who organised numerous activities including School Fairs, raffles etc. with the pool named after her in recognition

ASF 101997 Charles Montague Clavill Bere 1897-1968

1997 Charles Montague Clavill Bere 1897-1968

1989 A Voluntary Building Fund was set up by the School Council with an annual ‘Giving Fund Campaign’.

1995 a Centenary Campaign was launched by the Headmaster, Bruce Cook in the hope of raising $3.5 million towards the Centenary Centre (a physical education centre and running track as it was proposed at first). The campaign had received $1.2 million in pledges from businesses and individuals but unfortunately not all were achieved. 1999 a Centenary Committee was formed for fundraising activities for the 100 year of TSS in 2001.

2006 The Headmaster, Greg Wain launches his vision within a newly developed Master Plan to the school community with a range of well-planned strategic building projects identified.

2006 T.S.S. Aerial View. Centenary Centre, Pool, Main Buildings

2006 T.S.S. Aerial View. Centenary Centre, Pool, Main Buildings

The School Council establish Fundraising Steering Committee in 2007 to engage the School Community and re-establish a professional fundraising program to assist in the development for a range of projects relevant to the needs of both the Preparatory School and Senior School. A Director of Philanthropy is appointed in 2008 and a new phase of fundraising campaigns are launched to assist fast-tracking the resources and facilities needed for TSS.

The new Bennett Building offering national standard accommodation for the Year 7 program well ahead of government stipulation (completed 2012), new Sheil Building (completed 2011) to establish the Schools most important learning, staff and administrative resource hub.

With boarding a critical and strategic pillar of TSS, the improvement of facilities through the refurbishment of each Boarding House was a priority. The boarding Refurbishment Appeals received very strong support from current families and Old Boys. Donations received not only ensured the fast-tracking of the work required, but has also offered the highest possible standard with arguably some of the best facilities for school boarding in Australia. Biddle House (2011), Delpratt House (2013) with McKinley (2016) and Thorold House (2017) were completed in close progression. We again wish to acknowledge and thank those supporting these and other projects with Donor Honour Boards also acknowledging this support towards TSS through philanthropy.

War Memorial

An Appeal to Parents, Old Boys and Friends of the School (source 1945 The Southportonian Magazine – pages 11-15)

As the war dragged on, as more and more Southportonians joined the Forces, and as the Roll of the Fallen increased from week to week, the idea of a fitting Memorial began to take shape in the minds of many of those in close touch with the School,

This committee, consisting of His Grace the Archbishop, Bishop Dixon, the Headmaster, Mr. G. R. H. Gill, Mr. G. E. Johnson, Mr. T. G. Gordon Lahey, Mr. T. M. Foggitt, Mr. C. A. Burcher and Mr. E. C. Fernandez, after due consideration, recommended that the Memorial should comprise:-
(1) A Reredos in St. Alban’s Chapel, in memory of those Old Boys of the School who had given their lives in the recent war; and
(2) A Memorial Library and Sixth Form Room to commemorate the service of all old Southportonians who took part in the struggle.


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