Scholarships Appeal

Among alumni, there is an overwhelming feeling of warmth towards Perth Modern School, and gratitude for the extraordinary educational opportunities is provided as a selective school.”   This is the opening statement of the recommendations in the Scholarship Fund feasibility study (May 2009) by consultants Agnew Associates Pty Ltd that was commissioned by the Board of the Sphinx Foundation Inc.

The report explored the feasibility of conducting a Sphinx Foundation Scholarship Fund Appeal. Resulting from this report, the PMS Council Meeting on 13 July 2009 resolved:

  • That the Council supports the establishment of a Sphinx Scholarship Scheme as recommended in the decisions of the PMS Scholarship Committee (especially decisions 1 – 12 of 4 Dec 2006), bearing in mind the recommendations of the ‘Feasibility Study for a Scholarship Fund’ (May 2009).
  • That the purpose of the general scholarships be advertised (in line with the School’s Educational Framework 2009 – 2011) as:  To support the growth of individual students to their full academic, intellectual, social and physical potential.
  • That the Council supports recommendations 1 and 2 of the Feasibility Study for a Scholarship Fund.
    1. That the Perth Modernian Society work to develop an integrated approach to advancement.
    2. That the Society create a cohesive advancement strategy that includes alumni relations, communications and fundraising.
      That is, the PMS Council, the Sphinx Foundation and the School develop this integrated approach.
  • That a single advancement database related to School Alumni activities be established, depending upon feasible costs and resources.
  • That the Council supports the Recommendation that a bequest programme be initiated as soon as possible to formally initiate the Sphinx Scholarship scheme.

Donations and bequests are tax deductible

All donations and bequests to the Sphinx Foundation Scholarship Fund are tax deductible. If you can help, please contact us at

Click HERE for further information.

Gift or bequest form: Bequest form Donation form

For further information, please contact:
Treasurer of the Sphinx Foundation Inc.
Tel. (08) 6189 3690
PO Box 1349, West Perth, WA 6872 (the registered box of the Sphinx Foundation)

What we want the Sphinx Foundation Scholarships to achieve:


a) Support for students to fulfil their potential:

  • Academic Excellence; Encourage talented WA students (City and Country) to choose Mod over other alternative schools.
  • Equity and Access: Encourage WA students in need: Criteria: Low income, Disability, English as Second language.
  • Encourage WA Aboriginal students to get a first class school education
  • Principal’s discretionary Bursary Fund: Nominal 10 awards per annum of average value $400, for cases of special need, at the Principal’s discretion

b) Build a sense of Community – ‘it’s good to be involved with your (local) public school’

c) Build a sense of Philanthropy – Bequests, Major Gifts, Annual Giving, etc.

d) To develop the ‘badge of honour’ concept for attending and being associated with Mod.

e) Teacher development – (long term goal): Bursaries to encourage teachers at Mod to deliver excellence in teaching and leadership.

Progress to date

The generosity of some 150 donors has permitted the Sphinx Foundation between 2010 and the end of 2013 to provide 91 awards to incoming students (Year 8) with demonstrated financial needs or other circumstances, or to Year 10 students who have demonstrated high achievement in specific academic subjects. The value of scholarships and bursaries distributed in December 2013 to 22 new winners, plus 6 carried over winners from previous years, was $21,500. In addition. for the first time, in 2014 the Board of the Foundation will achieve a long held aim to provide a ‘Principal’s Discretionary Bursary Fund’ which will enable the Principal to allot a number of bursaries over the course of the academic year to students with pressing needs.

In addition, the inaugural ‘Donald Tyler Musical Instrument Scholarship’ was awarded to completing Year 12 student Jonty Coy, who had previously been a winner of the Daniel Girling- John Down Music Scholarship in 2011.

As a result of the campaign and prudent investment of moneys received, the Fund today stands at about $550,000, which is enormously pleasing. The Fund was helped along considerably in 2013 by very generous donations from Donald Tyler. Also, some interest in making Bequests to the Scholarship Fund was notified during 2013.

Naturally, now that the first targets of the Sphinx Scholarship Fund appeal have been reached, the Board of the Foundation is lifting its sights higher – in particular, to respond to the fact that from next year (2015), students gaining entrance to Mod (at the Year 7 level) will be there for six years rather than five, and there will be a double intake that year (into both Year 7 and Year 8).   The Board is very keen to establish more Scholarships for specific academic subjects at the year 10 level, and any offers in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

On the satisfaction that philanthropy brings, Elaine Davies (1957) who lives in Bendigo Vic. said in a phone conversation with Peter Farr the Hon. Treasurer: “It’s very nice to be abe to put something back into Mod”.

And Elaine Richmond says: “I’m very pleased to help in this small way to such a worthy cause. Mod has and always will have a place in my heart. To top this, my only granddaughter (Stephanie Beckham) started at Mod this year. I was at Mod in the war years. May Knowles was one of our favourite teachers. 70 years later, I find that the link with Modern School transcends the passage of time. We finished in 1942, and our group of ‘girls’ (about 15 of us) have a happy get together every 3 months.”

Volunteers with suitable skills (e.g. financial planning, legal) are needed to help advise and administer this fund. If you can help, please contact us at

Sphinx Foundation Inc., PO Box 1349, West Perth, WA 6872 AUSTRALIA

Telephone: (08) 6189 3690    Facsimile: (08) 9380 0550


The Sphinx Foundation was delighted to have sufficient funds from donations to the Sphinx Scholarships Appeal at the end of 2011 to be able to provide two Perth Modernian Society Scholarships and the McCusker Scholarship (each tenable for three years) for three deserving students entering Year 8 in 2012. The criteria set were that the applicant has (a) displayed Academic Excellence in the Entrance Examination and their final year at primary school, and (b) has personal circumstances of financial or other need such that the award will be most beneficial in removing barriers or in providing access to opportunities to facilitate the achievement of educational success.

The Selection panel comprises Emeritus Professor Lesley Parker AM and Peter Farr representing the Perth Modernian Society, and Val Furphy Associate Principal.

In each case the Scholarship/Bursary money has been paid into the student’s school account and may be accessed for educational purposes directly associated with attendance at Perth Modern School such as fees, school uniforms, transportation, living costs, school excursions/camps, purchase of academic resources or equipment, specialised courses, specialised instruction, etc. Should any funds not be fully expended in one academic year, the money will carry forward to the following academic year.

Sphinx Scholarship Fund Update – Sep 2018

The Sphinx Scholarship Fund is a great success story for the Perth Modernian Society – having started in 2008 with a single donation from Modernian Jim Cundill (dec.). Donations and good investment strategies have swelled the fund to around $900,000 now. The scholarships and bursaries are definitely one of Perth Mod’s special features as evidence of which in 2018, the Sphinx Scholarship Fund is supporting a record number of 70 students from Years 7 to 12 to the tune of $55,000.

Please follow this link to find out about the Sphinx Scholarships that are available to Perth Modern School students.

The Sphinx Foundation Board wants to secure public donations to fund more academic excellence scholarships/bursaries for upper school students, with priority for: (a) Innovations, entrepreneur and independent research, (b) Performing arts, (c) Visual arts, (d) Elite Physical Education, (e) Politics and Law, (f) IT Computer Science, and (g) Sustainability Leadership. If any of these would meet your philanthropic goals please contact the Board’s Chair, Barrie Baker or the Hon. Treasurer, Peter Farr.

Photo: Year 10 Sphinx Scholarships and Bursaries awardees and donor representatives, Dec. 2016

 Previous Award Ceremonies:

On 3rd February at the first Perth Modern School assembly for 2012, the Governor Malcolm McCusker AC, CVO, QC in his capacity as the school Patron presented certificates and the school history book to the winners of the 3-year scholarships and the major bursaries.

In addition, a Creative Writing Scholarship and bursary were presented to two talented Year 11 students Ashleigh Ballantyne and Pip Campbell, and a Music Scholarship was presented by 96 year old Mr John Down to talented Year 11 student Jonty Coy.

In his short address to the students and parents, Malcolm McCusker commented on the importance that the scholarships and bursaries are now playing, and the school principal Lois Joll said: “This is a wonderful outcome. The school community is most appreciative of this generous contribution from the Sphinx Foundation.”


A morning tea followed the award ceremony and the recipients and their parents were able to mix freely with the Governor, John Down, and Barrie Baker and Peter Farr from the Sphinx Foundation. The School’s Patron, Malcolm McCusker chatted with many of the awardees including (pictured above) with Ashleigh Ballantyne (Year 11 and winner of the Jean and Jim Cundill Creative Writing Scholarship for 2011) and her mother.