Sunday, 19 February 2023


The Old Ignatians’ Union had for over fifty or more years, through its widespread and popular country reunion programme, encouraged Old Boys to donate to the Bursary Fund. Fr Charles Fraser SJ, with particular help from Phillip de Baun (OR 1951 – 1955), would be guest speakers at Country Reunions and a David Jones gift voucher was provided to the raffle winner at the dinner. In this way, small amounts of money were continually added to the Bursary Fund over many years. These State-wide and interstate dinners established and maintained a wonderful camaraderie amongst Old Boys and generated great loyalty to the College and its bursary programme. Over those years many Jesuit Rectors would have made arrangements for fees forgiven or extended fee payments for families suffering hardships for a variety of reasons. In today’s language, they would be considered bursaries.


A significant bequest from the McKillop Family in 1985 led the College to establish the Riverview College Foundation Inc in September of that year. A Building, Welfare and Bequest fund was added to the Bursary Fund. The first two had tax-deductible status. At the same time the College Advisory Board, later to become the College Council, had created a Master Plan – “Towards 2000” – with much needed building projects including a Hall, Indoor Sports, Drama and Music Centres, Senior School boarding facilities identified. A 1987 Capital Appeal would assist in the fundraising. Further Capital appeals would be held in 1989 and 1993 to help fund these projects. A 1999 Capital Appeal was established to fund the new Fagan Boarding House, its completion timed to fit in with overseas accommodation for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.


Through the efforts of Anthony Clark (OR 1953 –1957), Chairman of the newly formed Riverview College Foundation, Riverview was one of the few schools that established this tax-deductible fund from 1985. It was to be used for “families in necessitous circumstances”. This fund was sparingly used prior to 1992, but would become an important one in the following years.


The initial McKillop bequest had given great impetus towards the commencement of the College’s Master Plan mentioned previously.

Whilst there was a mention of the value of bequests to the College in the 1987 Capital Appeal brochure, greater emphasis was placed on donations to the Building Fund. Much more would be made of the Bequest Fund when the Foundation Board set up a programme of Nostalgia lunches from 1992.


Michael Punch had been the College Sportsmaster since 1975, the inaugural Xavier Housemaster from 1982 and a senior English teacher. He embraced the Foundation’s motto “Affection for the school and enthusiasm for its well-being”, as his uncles had all been educated at Riverview in the late 1890’s. He was appointed Executive Director of the Riverview College Foundation in March 1992 replacing Colonel Barry Tinkler and that year, with the approval of the Board, he initiated the following changes: -

  • Educated the Foundation Board to recognise the value of changing the Foundation Office to a Development Office concept with concentration on five “hats” that would make a significant difference to Riverview: fundraising; marketing/communication; alumni relations’ special events and database growth. In 1993 Riverview thus established a Development Office with Michael its Director of Development. All the financial obligations associated with the Foundation would be maintained;

  • Changed the Foundation’s publication to a whole College publication, to be known as the Ignatian, which covered all areas of the College – school and especially student activities, Parents & Friends, Old Ignatians’ Union and the Foundation;

  • Set up a Bequest Sub-Committee whose sole task was to host two Nostalgia lunches a year, spreading them across the 1917–1950 year groups, with wives and widows included. A Bequest brochure was created and the idea of bequests directed towards means tested bursaries highlighted.


With the 1993 successful Capital Appeal coming to a close and after visiting several Jesuit High schools in USA, Michael conceived the idea of a Class Bursary Scheme whereby students in the 1950 – 1990 years would be encouraged to donate $100 a year (fifty coffees a year/one a week was the marketing ploy) to this tax-deductible fund.

Their gifts would be directed to students whose families were in necessitous circumstances and enable the student to remain at the College, despite severe drought challenges in the country or sickness and other family challenges. It would also keep the socio-economic mix of students these Old Boys had studied with in their own time at the College still the same as the century ended.

Fortuitously, Fr Paul Sheridan SJ (OR 1959-1962), President of Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, was on leave, teaching at Riverview during 1997, and together with Michael Punch the concept was put to the Executive Committee of the Old Ignatians’ Union. The proposal was that this would be its Centenary Year gift to the College and it was based on the following: -

  • It would be launched in 1997, the 100th year of the OIU and known as the OIU Class Bursary Scheme.
  • Three students in each year would sign a personalised letter approaching their fellow classmates. Michael Punch would identify the appropriate students allocated to those years. These letters would be mailed out on OIU letterhead and be a great initiative in this significant OIU year.

  • Class-to-class totals over these forty years would be published, without mention of any names.

  • These class bursaries would grow exponentially over years – the small gift size would remain an encouragement in the gifting process.

The concept proved very successful almost immediately as it relied on an ever-growing number of small gifts across many classes with some element of competition between them, as well as the perceived help for families battling to keep their sons at Riverview, especially boarding families. The Class Bursary Scheme can be seen as an Annual Giving Programme which in time can lead to bequest opportunities. At the end of the first year, 1997, five partial bursaries from this fund were allocated to students by the College Bursary Committee.


The Welfare Fund began to prosper as did the request for increased numbers of means tested bursaries. The Board of the Development Office established two Sub-Committees:

  • a Bursary Sub-Committee, so that all families seeking bursary support could have their application reviewed, their financial situations assessed in confidence prior to a bursary being awarded. An interview with the family was arranged so that the dollar amount of the bursary could be finalised. That bursary would be reviewed annually should circumstances change, or the student by his behaviour at the College clearly did not value the opportunity he had been afforded. The means-tested bursary was also to be seen as a debt of honour so that in later years the student might consider helping another young student in the same way as he had been helped.
  • An Investment Sub-Committee, so that bursary donated funds could be overseen by an astute small group of parents with economic prowess that assured best dividends for those assembled donations. It was a busy Development Office with the Bequest, Bursary and Investment Committees all working harmoniously towards goals that would make such a difference for families and students.


In 2001 the Jesuit Provincial challenged Riverview’s College Council to have in the years ahead 15% of its parents’ fees supported by bursary donations. Given that there was a continuing growth of families in need, as well as indigenous and refugee applications for a Jesuit education, the Development Office was faced with a significant fundraising challenge. In order to build up as quickly as possible a significant corpus of funds which could be added to the already growing Bursary and Welfare Funds, the Board of the Development Office mounted its first Bursary Capital Appeal with Nicholas Curtis (OR 1970 – 1973) as its Chair. The target would be to generate $3 million over three years. Within six months there were some significant gifts so that two-thirds of the total was reached in a short time. The concept of bursaries at the College, always means tested and not scholarships, resonated strongly with parents and alumni. All the while, involvement in the OIU Class Bursary Programme was continuing to grow so that the Bursary Committee would be able to offer an ever-increasing number of means tested bursaries in the years to come.


This fund, previously mentioned, was promoted through the biannual Nostalgia Lunches, which started in late 1992. These lunches, which began with a Mass and held in the College Parlour, were hosted by members of the Bequest Sub-Committee, a Committee formed by Michael Punch that included Fr Charles Fraser SJ and had Greg Bartels (OR 1939-1942) as its inaugural Chair. Amidst wonderful camaraderie and a fund of stories of the old days, the need for means-tested bursaries perhaps through a bequest to Riverview was mentioned. Within eighteen months, a bequest of $1.5 million was received by the College. There were several additional significant bequests in the following years and they have continued well into this century.


One of the “hats” already mentioned as key to any Development Office was the role of publications and marketing. The Ignatian, published four times each year, became an important vehicle in this regard, as it told stories about bequests received or the possibility of an endowed bursary – a bursary named after a family or a Jesuit who had been a significant presence in the life of a family or their son’s education. Several such named bursaries were generated in the 1992– 2002 decade. Endowed bursaries, the Development Board ruled, would need to be a gift of $120,000 in the early years and this was increased to $150,000, an amount that a donor could make as a one-off gift or pledged over five years. Assessment had been made that such an amount would earn sufficient yearly fee funding to sustain a bursary for forty years.


Another Development Office “hat” previously mentioned revolved around the importance of coordinating College Special Events which bring together all the parent body in an exercise of fun and fundraising. The Development Office, together with the Parents & Friends’ Association, held two very successful themed events, now possible in the newly built Ramsay Hall. One transformed the Hall into a cave with a Gold Rush theme and the other was a Night in Hollywood. Both added significant gifts to bursary funds. Several other mid-week corporate lunches were held in the Hall, organised by the Development Office. They brought over two hundred business persons together, attending as guests of College parents and Old Boys. The need for bursary funds was always the lunch theme. Many musicians, sports persons and journalists of note were among the guests or key speakers and they gave their time in an honorary capacity. One such lunch featuring Riverview’s Olympians in March 2000 remains memorable. Significant funds were generated whilst the work of Riverview in assisting students who might otherwise not have had a Jesuit education was highlighted to a wider community. Many good stories and photos would be collated and used in later Ignatian publications.


In this story of Riverview’s Bursary program, it is the wonderful contribution of so many people who have led to its success. Over many years the initial positive encouragement of Fr Charles Fraser SJ, as a crucial link with decades of Riverview Old Boys, together with the encouragement of College Rectors, Headmasters and in recent years College Council, was vital to its success.

The Development Office Board and Sub-Committee appointments, as well as the tactical structures put in place from 1992, were crucial to Riverview’s establishment of a most successful and organised Bursary program which has continued well into this century.



  • Bequest
  • Investment

  • Welfare/Bursary

  • OIU Class Bursary

  • Marketing


Mr G Bartels (Chair); Dr P Anderson; Mr R Barry; Mr J D’Apice; Mr P De Baun; Mr B Dempsey; Mr P Doherty; Fr C Fraser SJ; Mr P Hunt; Mr J Larkins; Mrs M O’Mara; Mr P Mayoh; Dr R Mulhearn; Mr J Schell.


Mr B Goddard (Chair); Mr G Conlon; Mr K James; Mr S Jones; Mr J Kean; Mr L Reardon; Mr D Mallett; Mr M Pascoe; Mr R Prugue; Mr P Ward.


Fr C Gleeson SJ (Chair); Fr R Bruce SJ; Fr A Bullen SJ; Mr P Cahill; Mr G Conlon; Mr R Francis; Mr S Hogan; Mr K James; Mr P Mayoh; Mr M Pascoe; Mr J Wilcox.


Mr D Lynch (Chair); Mr P De Silva; Dr P Giblin; Mr P Mayoh; Mr S Oxenham; Mr D Tynan.


Mr C Marshall (Chair); Mr D Hayes; Mr S Hogan; Mr M McGinnity; Mrs W Milazzo; Mr D Thompson.

OIU CLASS BURSARY CONTACTS: Established 1997 – Signatories to personalised letters

1950  Bruce Rose; Terry Meagher

1951  Van Doherty; Bill Cape

1952  Van Doherty; Geoff Long

1953  John Dunford; Alan Oxenham

1954  Rod Paul; Peter Gallagher

1955  Peter Gallagher; Jim Lenehan; Tony Breslin 

  1. 1956  Jim Lenehan; Geoff Hall

  2. 1957  Mick Hardie; Don Chisholm

  3. 1958  Andy Harris; Brian Duck

  4. 1959  John Conlon; Darcy Hall

  5. 1960  Gerry McCormack

  6. 1961  Gerry Dangar; John Silver

  7. 1962  Greg O’Brien; Michael Cannon

  8. 1963  Chris Rogers; Nick Greiner; John Hayes; John Dennis

  9. 1964  Paul Ward; Steve O’Halloran

  10. 1965  Peter Giblin; Paul Sutherland

  11. 1966  Paul Duffy

  12. 1967  Denis Lynch; Robert Hartman

  13. 1968  Mark McCauley; Denis Manion; Tim Stack

  14. 1969  Lou de Carvalho; Jon Horan; Paul Koenig; Mark McDermott; Peter Garling

  15. 1970  Steve Newnham; Ian Benecke; Shane Oxenham

  16. 1971  Chris Drury; James Rodgers; Tom Meagher

  17. 1972  John Coolican; Andy Maclurcan

  18. 1973  Michael Gillespie; Kim Maloney

  19. 1974  John Wilcox; Damian Stenmark

  20. 1975  John Wilcox

  21. 1976  Frank Ryan; Tony Anderson

  22. 1977  Murray Deakin; John Gouvernet; Terry Flitcroft; John Hancock

  23. 1978  Peter de Silva; Andrew Curtin

  24. 1979  Doyle Mallett; Chris Marshall; Damien Scroope

  25. 1980  David Ballhausen; Michael Fahey; Tom McKay; Sean Mulhearn

  26. 1981  David Bolger; John McCann; Pat Rodgers

  27. 1982  Mark Forrest; Mike Brooks; St John Frawley; Tim Regan

  28. 1983  David Borean; Joe Cross; Tony Dempsey

  29. 1984  Damien Tynan; Simon Thorp; Denis Kelliher

  30. 1985  Tim Richards; Paul Fisher; Paul Ingram

  31. 1986  Chris Hammond; Chris Terry; Paul O’Sullivan

  32. 1987  Peter Solomon; Ben Connolly; David Lennon

  33. 1988  Andrew Flitcroft; Jeremy Pidcock; Adam Smith

  34. 1989  Michael Bryant; Martin Hyde; Tom Dermody

  35. 1990  Justin Greiner; Craig Jeffery; Julian Delany; Tim Eisenhauer


Michael Punch worked on the staff at Riverview for thirty years – as Sportsmaster and Senior English teacher (1975 – 1992) and Housemaster (1982 – 1992) before he was appointed Director of Development in 1992. Michael is happy to admit the work he did in setting up the Bursary Programme during his first decade in the office was the best thing he did over those years at Riverview, as it gave so many students the chance of a Jesuit education. He would also recognise the outstanding support and enthusiasm he received in the Development Office in his final years from Rod Loneragan (OR 1971-1976) and Barbara Peatman, who were part of a dynamic Development Office team.


Commenting on this research, Dr Hine thanked Mr Punch for his terrific work and added "it is now one of the largest bursary programs of its size and complexion in Australia. In any given year we currently have between 70 and 80 boys on bursaries, a number of who are First Nations, refugees or those who qualify on the basis of demonstrable financial need.

The Riverview Bursary responds to the deepest mission of Jesuit schools: from nascent beginnings that were established back in the late 80s and early 90s it now boasts a corpus in excess of $20 million that is stewarded judiciously to ensure that the boys and the families who need the funds most are the recipients. Since those early years, the Bursary Committee has become a Sub-committee of the Board with Terms of Reference that relate to its governance. In 2017 the College became incorporated so all aspects of governance apply rigorously to the fund, its disbursement and are in accord with external auditing arrangements."

Michael Punch