Ms Mary Vernon

Mary had an ongoing commitment to provide philanthropic support to children in Central Australia through education.

Mary Vernon began her association with St Philip’s when, as a regular attendee of St Stephen’s Church in Macquarie Street, Sydney she came to know Rev Dr Fred McKay AO, who was the associate minister at St Stephen's between 1974 to 1986.

Fred McKay had founded St Philip’s Residential College in 1965 and had maintained an interest in the College’s progress over the years. In 1996, he enthusiasticly took on the role of Patron of the College’s national Outback Achievers’ Appeal to raise vital funds for what was now a quickly growing day and boarding school, led by then Headmaster, Chris Tudor.

Fred soon fired the enthusiasm of his huge network of friends and colleagues across Australia, including Mary. 
In 1998, Mary attended the thank you service and morning tea hosted by St Stephen’s for donors to the Appeal, introducing herself to Chris and other staff attending.  She continued to support projects at St Philip’s and soon became a regular visitor to the College, attending milestone events and at other times, becoming part of the St Philip’s ‘family’. 
Mary’s last visit was in September 2013.  As always, she caught up with friends at the College and attended the musical, Cats, with the Headmaster.  Mary was also treated to a small private soiree in the Fred McKay Education Centre’s theatrette where a past student, who was then studying at Adelaide’s Conservatorium of Music, played a selection of pieces on the Clarinova that Mary had bought for the students. 
Mary was particularly interested in Indigenous education and her legacy lives on through the Foundation’s Mary Vernon Program Scholarship. One of her great pleasures during her visits was to meet with the students she sponsored, hearing of their plans and aspirations.   

Mary was not one to speak about herself. However, her life story is inspirational and Headmaster, Chris Tudor decided to share it with the College community by way of a story board which is hung in the Fred McKay Education Centre. 

Mary’s gracious and generous support of St Philip’s over the years as the College enrolments grew from just over four hundred in 1996 to over six hundred & fifty today, has had, and continues to have, real impact.