Central Highlands Science Centre gives country kids the chance to discover the wonders of science. Photo by Russell Shakespeare.
Tim Fairfax Family Foundation Annual Report 2017-2018


TFFF supports initiatives that promote student engagement by providing strong, well supported learning environments through improved resources, including training and professional development of existing educators within these communities.

Please note, the figures in the infographics below refer only to new funding approved in the 2017/18 financial year. In previous years these figures referred to both new and ongoing approvals.


new approvals


average total approved


multi-year approvals

Brown's Mart Theatre Spotlight

Constructed in 1885 from local stone, the Brown’s Mart Arts theatre has had many iterations – retail space, station for the armed forces during World War II and later government offices – before being established as the community theatre space it is now. An institution for over 45 years, Brown’s Mart is strongly enmeshed within Darwin’s artistic fabric, supporting the development and presentation of live theatre by artists living and working in the Northern Territory’s Top End. As well as producing and presenting live theatre, Brown’s Mart functions as a creative meeting ground, offering infrastructure and resources to cultivate and nurture the aspirations of Territory artists.

One of the key ways in which Brown’s Mart supports and services the local community is through their Education Program. Prior to the establishment of their Education Program in 2014, the only opportunity for senior students in Darwin and surrounds to experience a live production of a curriculum-based text they were studying was a costly four-hour flight to another capital city.

Seeking to develop a relationship between the theatre and local teachers and students, beyond that of simply the maker and the consumer, Brown’s Mart provides teaching notes and post-show Q&A sessions. Teachers are also invited into the rehearsal room to witness a dress rehearsal and discuss the upcoming production’s themes and process with the director and production team, providing them with an opportunity to engage more deeply with the text and, consequently, create a more informed and engaged classroom environment for students to explore the chosen work.

The syllabus-linked text chosen by local teachers for production in 2018 was Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. True to its community theatre roots, Brown’s Mart engaged a host of community performers to complement professional actors to fill the large cast required. Over 500 students from 11 schools saw The Crucible come to life on stage and witnessed what is not evident on the page – body language, the tone in an actor’s voice and telling glances exchanged between characters. As well as a post-show conversation with the actors, directors and production team, 19 students took part in technical workshops in lighting, sound and stage management, experiencing the show close up behind the scenes.

Experiences such as these provide invaluable opportunities for students to extend their understanding of the text in its complexity and build greater connection to and empathy with the characters they see and read about, opportunities that would otherwise remain inaccessible.

Viewing live performance is essential in developing performance, analytical and evaluation skills for drama. It sets a standard for them to live up to when they come to perform their own works to an audience.

Teacher response after attending The Crucible

Where We Fund - Education

Education Organisations

Australian Schools Plus Fair Education Queensland

$167,000 ($1,379,000 over 4 years)

Supporting Fair Education Queensland which is designed to empower school leadership teams to meaningfully engage with parents and school communities with the aim of improving outcomes for students.

Brown's Mart Theatre Education Program

$30,000 ($90,000 over 3 years)

To support the delivery of Brown’s Mart Theatre’s Education Program which involves developing and producing a new syllabus-linked work to be presented annually to both school groups and the broader community in Darwin.

Central Highlands Science Centre Growing STEM in rural, regional and remote Queensland

$83,000 ($250,000 over 3 years)

Capacity support toward the employment of a Science Centre Coordinator and core operating costs to give country kids in Queensland’s Central Highlands the opportunity to explore the wonders of science.

Seed Foundation Australia First Peoples Health – Growing Our Own

$150,000 ($750,000 over 5 years)

Capacity support enabling Seed Foundation Australia to improve training and employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students interested in careers in health services by providing wraparound support to address gaps in the transition from school to training, university and employment.

University of the Sunshine Coast Rural and Remote Education Program

$100,000 ($300,000 over 3 years)

Providing bursaries to pre-service teachers to encourage them to take placements and hopefully later employment in rural and remote areas of Queensland.

The Tim Fairfax Family Foundation is based in Meanjin (Brisbane).