Temperatures in the Northern Territory are among the highest in Australia,
especially in summer. This can pose a few challenges when considering
attendance rates and education plans for young children in a hot and
After completing our second classroom build last year, making classrooms at the
Watarrka School comfortable and functional has been a big focus for the Foundation, and
staff members at the school. The air con project has been on the cards for a while now,
and thanks to the help of a few generous donors we’ve been able to organise and
implement new air conditioning units throughout the school building.
The Impact of Cool Air
With average temperatures in the Watarrka region reaching 35 – 40 degrees, opening
windows and blowing fans isn’t quite enough for a comfortable learning environment.
Luckily, as the school children have grown up in the area, they can usually handle the
heat quite well. However Christine Munro, Teacher at the Watarrka School has noted the
vast improvements in focus and comfort since the air con units have been installed.
“I wasn’t expecting miracles but the last few months have been very
positive. Sitting in the cool we simply get more learning done. The
kids are less irritable, more focused and generally happier to be
here – as it sizzles away outside at 42 deg. The new air con units
are making a great difference to the student’s education out here at
– Christine Munro, Teacher at the Watarrka School
Since the air con units have been installed, Christine has noted a slight increase in
attendance rates over the past couple of months. Students of Watarrka School come
from humble households which usually don’t have any cooling systems, so having the
option to spend the day in a cool environment is a great incentive to boost school
attendance and help encourage the children to focus on their education. We hope to see
further improvements in attendance rates in the long run as a result of the air con units.
Bringing the Project Together
At the centre of this project was David Hewitt, who generously co-ordinated the project
from Alice Springs and organised competitive quotes from various Aircon suppliers in
the area. CKS Engineering where eventually selected to supply and install the 2 units.
David, an electrician by trade, travelled to Lilla with the CKS team and did all the
electrical work. The Kings Canyon Resort generously provided their on-site plumber to
complete all the plumbing work required.
The project was jointly funded by the Moorabbin Rotary Club in Melbourne, Mentone
Grammar, and the Watarrka Foundation.
Our Major Donor – Moorabbin Rotary Club
The Moorabbin Rotary Club have been an ongoing donor and supporter of the
Watarrka Foundation, and generously donated half of the total cost of the air con
The Rotary club of Moorabbin is based in the southern suburbs of Melbourne. It is a
small club (19 members), one of 35,000 clubs in over 200 countries around the world.
Rotary began as a business network over 110 years ago, made up of men and women
across all professions and vocations. It has since evolved into an international service
organization to provide humanitarian aid and promote good will and peace throughout
The Moorabbin Rotary Club has three major fund raisers; a charity golf day, spellathons
at schools and a Sunday market, selling bric-a brac.
The club projects include:
· Supporting MS suffers locally and MS research nationally.
· Running youth leadership camps, public speaking, science scholarships for local
· Drought relief for farmers through using Rotary clubs in the stricken areas.
· Supporting programs to rehabilitate homeless and victims of family violence.
· Mental health research programs.
· Internationally supporting:-
– Literacy clean water, sanitation and ‘wheelchair for kids’ programs
– Plastic surgery for children suffering cleft palates, burns and deformities
– Eradication of polio by world-wide collaboration with all Rotary clubs around the
Vaccination research for prevention of Malaria, world-wide collaboration with all
And the club has recently added the Watarrka Foundation as a cause they plan to
support on an ongoing basis.
“Recently it has been our club’s good fortune to discover the
Watarrka Foundation and their fantastic support of the local
Watarrka community. We began our relationship by funding the
desk computers for the students graduating to the senior
classroom. We knew another essential item with the encroaching
summer was an air-conditioning system if the students were
expected to concentrate on their studies in the classroom. We
were happy to jointly fund this project and see it as a great
investment of funds from the club.
We plan to continue an on-going relationship with the Lilla
community, the Watarrka Foundation and the school in the years
ahead, including visits, and hope soon to see the students
achieving their goals on the way to their chosen careers.”
To learn more about the Moorabbin Rotary Club, visit their website:
To support the Foundation and our future projects, make a donation at