The Foundation

Our Vision: Supporting young people in the bush whose educational opportunities are limited due to isolation and economic circumstances.

BCEF History

Dr Charles Huxtable
charles-huxtableDr Charles Huxtable, then serving with the Royal Flying Doctor Service at Broken Hill, initiated the establishment of the Bush Children’s Education Foundation in 1965.

He was shocked by the number of children who were not enrolled in any school and whose only contact with other children was through visits to a township. At that time there was no government provision for these children other than access to correspondence lessons.

Dr Huxtable, along with the Chief Justice of New South Wales, Sir Leslie Herron, the Honourable Ian Sinclair and Ian Hardy, prepared a Trust Deed for the Foundation, which was approved by the NSW Attorney General.

It provided funding for isolated children to board at the purpose-built Tibooburra Hostel. Other similar hostels were located in the far west of New South Wales. The Foundation appealed for individual and corporate donations so that bursaries could enable children to board at one of these hostels in order to attend a country school.

In the early years the occupations of the families covered the range of outback working life: farmers, station hands, fencers, bore sinkers, kangaroo shooters, prospectors, miners, bush nurses, small business owners and itinerant circus/show people. Many of these occupations continue in the bush today, but now include parks and wildlife personnel and small business operators.

Ahead of public opinion at the time, the Foundation supported and continues to encourage indigenous families to apply for bursaries. They included the descendants of the Wadikali and Karengappa people, original tribal groups from the north west corner of New South Wales.


Legal Status

The Foundation was established in 1965 under a Deed of Trust. It operates under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 and has Deductible Gift Recipient status under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.


The Foundation is managed by a Board of up to ten directors – a mix of city and country people including graziers, farmers, school leaders, finance managers and solicitors. The current directors are:

Richard Dougan BA, CMC, FIMC, Cert IV & Dip Proj Mngmt. – Chairman

Richard Dougan is Managing Director of the consulting company, Australian Strategic Planning Pty Limited and also XSOL Australia, the distributor of New Zealand based XSOL Limited’s Business Process Management software. He worked with Coopers & Lybrand Services and Wang Laboratories before setting up ASP. Richard has had extensive experience and involvement with educational institutions including planning, governance, operations and fundraising activities including: Northbridge Primary School; Shore School; St Andrews College, Sydney University; North Sydney Institute of TAFE; Riverina Institute of TAFE; NSW TAFE Commission; NSW Department of Education; The King’s School; and Tudor House. His involvement at St Andrew’s College included Councillor and Chairman of the Business Committee and Chairman of the St Andrew’s College Foundation Inc. Richard joined the Board in 2014.

Gerald Naughton BCA, FCA, SF Fin, GAICD – Vice-Chairman

Gerald was born in Wellington, New Zealand and graduated with a degree in Commerce and Administration from Victoria University. He commenced work at AMP Investments as a Share Analyst in 1977, and had a career with AMP spanning over 35 years. During that career he held positions as Manager of Research, Fixed Interest, Special Projects, Share Investments and Portfolio Investments in New Zealand before being transferred to Sydney in 1991 to manage the $20 billion AMP Life No1 Fund. At AMP Investments in Sydney he managed the AMP Life Portfolios, including private capital and infrastructure investments, as well as special capital protection strategies. His final role was as Investment Director, AMP Funds responsible for all AMP Life assets managed by AMP Capital. Gerald was also acting Chief Financial Officer for AMP Capital for six months in 2006. While at AMP, Gerald served on numerous Investment Committees, as well as on Boards of companies in which AMP held a major interest, including a hotel company and an aluminium smelter. After retiring in 2012, he remained on several Investment Committees and the Board of a Trustee Company, until 2017.

Outside of AMP Gerald qualified as a Chartered Accountant and was involved in the New Zealand institute of Chartered Accountants as Branch Chair Sydney, and as Councillor for Australia on the Institute’s Board (2003-9). He was awarded a Fellowship in 2005.

Gerald is married with two children. His interests include Vexillology, history and royalty.

Rod Cowdroy – BBus

Rod is a company director of various companies with interests in property, funds management, tourism and equine interests. He worked for corporations including Lend Lease, Commonwealth Bank and Colonial Funds Management working in project management, property development and funds management roles.With others, he established Eureka Funds Management that provides funds management services to superannuation funds. Rod is the owner and manager of Tobruk Pastoral Company that provides a rural and outback cultural experience for tourists at Tobruk Sheep Station. Rod joined the Foundation Board in 2012.

John McRae – Treasurer BA, MComm, FCPA, FCA, AICD, JP

John has extensive experience in public accounting and the Australian retail sector. He has held senior management roles in publicly listed companies on the Australian Securities Exchange with a focus on general management and finance. His work experience has been gained in Australia, the UK and USA. John’s family come from Armidale where they continue to own grazing properties. He maintains a close association with residents in rural New South Wales and joined the Foundation Board in 2011.

The Hon. Duncan Gay

Duncan was previously Minister for Roads and Ports and Deputy Leader of Government in the New South Wales Legislative Council. He was first elected as a member of the Legislative Council in March 1988 and has been a member of the National Party since 1974. Duncan has a family grazing property in Crookwell, NSW and has been a Director of the Foundation since 2003.

Andrew Heaven BA DipFP CFP JP

Andrew is a Certified Financial Planner and Co-Principal of WealthPartners Financial Solutions. He has extensive involvement with community based organisations supporting children. A former director and board member of the Financial Planning Association of Australia he joined the Foundation board in 2013.

Jenetta Russell GAICD CCEO

Jenetta has worked in the agricultural sector for over 30 years, supplying novel stockfeed additives and nutritional supplements to the poultry, pig, dairy, equine and Petcare industries. She is Commercial Director of two companies and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Jenetta is passionate about growth in NSW rural and regional areas and inspiring young people to get skills to give them a life-long rewarding future in the bush. Jenetta joined the Foundation Board in 2014.

Kerry Blight Ba DipEd, LltB, MEd

Kerry has had extensive experience in Education, Secondary Education, TAFE and at University level. She started teaching at Wauchope High School before working as a Teacher Education Advisor with the NSW Education Scholarship Scheme. Kerry has worked for the Department of Education at State office by providing support and training to teachers, as well as developing educational material. At Educational Assessment Australia at UNSW she lead teams in developing literacy tests for use in Australia as well as overseas, and at the NSW Board of Studies Kerry was involved in developing educational material for the ARC website. Recently Kerry has written educational modules for IDEA Digital Education. Kerry still does occasional work for New South Wales Education Standards Authority. Kerry joined the Foundation Board in 2019.


The Board meets quarterly to manage the affairs of the Foundation and to assess applications for bursaries.

Bursaries are funded by income from invested capital and donations. The number of students assisted each year is governed by the income available.

Standing committees of the Board have responsibility for developing and implementing the investment strategy for the Foundation’s funds, for handling applications and for fund raising.

The Committees include:

  • Finance, Administration & Investments chaired by John McRae;
  • Education, Scholarships & Bursaries chaired by Margaret Malone; and
  • Fundraising, Marketing & Partnerships chaired by Jenetta Russell.
Strategic Plan

Please click on the link below to view the Strategic Plan:

Bush Children’s Education Foundation of NSW Inc.  – Strategic Plan 2016-2021


Schools and Hostels

The Foundation supports children in a number of boarding facilities schools and hostels in rural New South Wales. These include:


Allison House, Broken Hill
Pumula Lodge, Dubbo

Agricultural High Schools:

Farrer Agricultural High School, Tamworth
Yanco Agricultural High School, Yanco
Hurlstone Agricultural High School, Glenfield

Comprehensive High Schools:

Broken Hill High School, Broken Hill
Cobar High School, Cobar
Coomealla High School, Dareton
Delroy High School, Dubbo

Boarding Schools:

Scots All Saints College, Bathurst
Calrossy Anglican School, Tamworth
Kildare Catholic School, Wagga Wagga
Mater Dei, Wagga Wagga
McKillop College, Bathurst
Kinross Wollaroi School, Orange
New England Girls High School, Armidale
PLC, Armidale
Red Bend Catholic College, Forbes
St Francis de Sales College, Leeton
St Stanislaus College, Bathurst
St Pauls, Walla Walla
The Armidale School, Armidale
The Scots School, Albury

Some BCEF schools