The Rotary Residential College is situated in East Victoria Park, a few kilometers from Perth CBD. The college resides on land leased from the State Government.
With Federal, State, and Local Governments, the corporate sector, and guided by some Individual Rotary Clubs, this project is now a reality and has been operating successfully since 1991.
Over the years, some 1400 boarders have availed themselves of the accommodation, and they have come from over 150 country towns.
The Rotary Residential College is nestled among towering pines and palms, with the college's hub a perfect area to socialize and relax.
There are 95 individual rooms at the college, all with their en suite bathroom. The Rotary Residential College near Perth's heart caters to two needs; it houses country students from all over Western Australia during the school term and sporting/holiday groups during the holiday period.
The surrounding acres are peaceful yet conveniently located close to shops, public transport, city, sporting clubs, public library, and Curtin University.
Building a Residential Boarding facility in Perth for Country High School started in about 1985-86 by the Rotary Club of Victoria Park. It was at a Rotary District Conference in Mandurah when the first discussions took place. The Rotary Club of Victoria Park saw the need for such a college after receiving many letters from country families regarding accommodation options for their children in Perth. At the same time, they attended schooling and decided to look into the idea more.
At the time, Kent Street Senior High School had just decided to implement 11 specialist courses for students to study, the main being a Cricket Academy and Aeronautics, which to the day they still run and have had many excellent cricketers, pilots, and engineers come from these programs.
By 1990 and after much hard work, mostly by the appointed building committee of Bill Addison, Ken George, and John and Joan Hudson, the idea was well on becoming a reality.
From 1985/86 to 1990, funding for the project was the main priority, and after plans were drawn up and a builder was decided on which was Fields Herring and Edwards, who to the day are still involved in building and maintenance at the college, all the hard work was ahead of them.
The committee understood the cost that such a project would be and decided to approach the local member of Victoria Park, which was Kim Beasley, to discuss the issue. After many discussions, Kim Beasley decided he would then approach the Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke, with the proposal. Bob Hawke was very interested in Residential Boarding facilities in capital cities for country students. He pledged 1 million dollars towards the project, which was open for any colleges to apply for.
There ended up being approximately 13 million dollars of application come in from all over Australia. The Rotary Residential College ended up receiving approximately $700,000 in funding from the Federal Government. The remainder of the funding came from several Rotary clubs and other organizations, and we are forever grateful to them.
The location of the college was also a critical aspect. After many discussions with Carmen Lawrence, the Premier of Western Australia, herself and John Hudson agreed while they were both crouched down in a parliamentary hallway.
They had agreed that the vacant land behind Kent Street Senior High School was the perfect location for the college, and work was underway in zoning it. A lease was drawn up initially for ten years, and from that period, two other leases have been done, the recent one in 2016, where RRC received an additional 20 years.
In 4 years, the planning and funding were completed, and then in an incredible 17 weeks, the Rotary Residential College was ready to operate. The college was officially opened by Hazel Hawke on1st February 1991.
From1st February 1991 to the present day, the Rotary Residential College was built in 3 stages. Stage 1 consisted of the central administration building and three separate wings, which could house 16 rooms in each wing. Each room has its private ensuite bathroom, which was very rare for a boarding school to have. To this day, we are still one of the most modern boarding facilities around.
From 1991 to 1995, the college had much interest from country families regarding accommodation for their children in Perth. Since the college was already at capacity, the board decided that work should start for college extensions. The board decided to add another wing to the college featuring another 19 rooms and a Recreation room on the lower floor. By 1996 Stage 2 had been completed, and the college was now a 67 bedroom facility.
Stage 3 was completed and officially opened on the the24th of May 2006 by Hon Ljiljanna Ravlich, the Minister for Education and Training. Again the need for more accommodation was required, and with the hard work of the Board and Committee, the college was going to expand once more. The cost of the expansion was approximately 3.5 million dollars. Stage 3 was completed in 5 months, made from pre-cast concrete that was prepared onsite.
The new expansion added another two wings consisting of 34 rooms and a manager's flat. It also added on the middle level a state of the art kitchen that was entirely funded by the Lotteries Commission, also a music room, computer room, multi-study room, aeronautics room, laundry, and dining room. Below the dining room and kitchen, six undercrofts were also added for storage, one of which is now the gymnasium. The Rotary Residential College was now a 97 bedroom boarding facility.
At present, the Rotary Residential College has the capacity of boarding 95 students. While we are not currently at capacity, the college continues to offer country students the opportunity to further their education and other boarding commitments at the college.