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Supporting youth in a town like Alice

By July 6, 2020August 13th, 2020No Comments

The impact of isolation and distance on rural and regional Australians is no more evident than in Alice Springs (the Northern Territory). That’s why CEF Central Australia has supported their youth since 2011.

Local Foundation Focus

CEF Central Australia

Alice Springs NT


At the heart of Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) are our passionate volunteers.

These volunteers nurture rural and regional youth to achieve their dreams and ultimately benefit the student, the family, and the wider community.

For over 26 years, CEF has expanded the regional network to support as many students possible.

The community-based model started in Boorowa and the foundations have steadily grown to include Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, and the Northern Territory.

Foundation Credentials

During her time as a CEF board member, Fiona MacLachlan suggested the need for an education foundation for the local youth. Fiona recruited friend and outback education champion, Jan Heaslip OAM and long term Territorian Franca Frederiksen to make it happen.

Accordingly, in June 2011, CEF Central Australia was launched by Mayor Damien Ryan. Born and bred local, Helen Kilgariff, was appointed first chair.

The charter of the foundation remains focussed on supporting local youth in their educational endeavours. Importantly, over the nine years, CEF Central Australia has distributed $250,000 to help students continue their education.

The charter of the foundation remains focussed on supporting local youth in their educational endeavours.

CEF provides financial assistance to young Indigenous people, but also shows them that this group of Australians is thoroughly interested in their professional and personal desires.

Today’s Committee

The original committee’s strong Foundation continues with nine students supported this year, including Mary Vernon-CEF scholarship recipient Abir Srivastava.

It’s clear the committee has a deep understanding of the Territorian life, and equally, the role education has to create opportunities for local youth.

Present CEF Central Australia Chair, Nathan McAuliffe works for an Indigenous organisation and is highly knowledgeable of many local communities.

Each volunteer is committed to the community of Central Australia including British born, former principal, Chris Tudor.

Chris explains, “CEF provides financial assistance to young people, but also shows them that we are thoroughly interested in them and in their careers.”

“Some return to the town and others settle all over the world, experiencing a range of really exciting careers.”

A passion for the Territory 

“After 34 years, Alice has become part of me. I feel a powerful belonging in the community and the spectacular bush.”

Chris arrived in Australia as a child. He experienced the outback as a toddler in Broken Hill, before his family moved to Melbourne. However, when Chris  graduated as a teacher, he was determined to return to the bush.

In 1986 Chris arrived in Alice Springs to run St Philips, a small residential College.  Instead of a three year term, Chris built a school and stayed for over 34 years. As the St Philip’s College Secondary School Principal, Chris “learnt the importance of choice and opportunity for isolated students in the Outback.”

Chris learnt the importance of choice and opportunity for isolated students in the Outback.


Author Lisa

CEF Committee Liaison

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