Our Story

The Clontarf Foundation exists to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and by doing so equips them to participate more meaningfully in society.

Who We Are and What We Do

The Clontarf Foundation uses a unique, innovative and highly successful approach to target one of the most at risk groups in contemporary Australian society – young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

Using the existing passion that these boys have for sport allows Clontarf to initially attract them to school, and then keep them coming. It is however, not a sporting programme – it’s about developing the values, skills and abilities that will assist the boys to transition into meaningful employment and achieve better life outcomes.

The Foundation partners with schools and communities to create ‘Clontarf academies’ which are embedded within the school grounds and education programme.

Full-time, locally based Clontarf staff mentor and counsel students on a range of behavioural and lifestyle issues while the school caters for their education needs. Any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male enrolled at the school/s is eligible to participate in the Clontarf academy.

Through the use of supportive relationships and environment, the boys develop improved self-esteem and confidence which enables them to participate in education, employment and society in a more positive way.

Academy activities are planned within the focus areas of education, leadership, employment, well-being, life skills and sport. In order to remain in the programme, participants must continue to work at school and embrace the objectives of the Foundation.

The Foundation’s approach has been very successful, not only in attracting young men to school and retaining them but also in having them embrace more disciplined, purposeful and healthy lifestyles.

A Brief History

Since opening its first Academy for 25 boys in 2000 the Foundation has grown to cater for over 11,500 boys in 158 schools across Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
  • 2000
    Clontarf pilot programme is launched  

    2000 – 

    Academies: 1
    Boys: 25
    Year 12 Leavers: 13
    Staff: 2
    The Clontarf Foundation pilot programme is launched in Perth, WA with a budget of $35k.

  • 2001
    Clontarf’s first corporate partner  

    2001 – 

    Academies: 1
    Boys: 92
    Year 12 Leavers: 17
    Staff: 3
    Wesfarmers becomes Clontarf’s first corporate partner.

  • 2002
    A second academy in Kalgoorlie  

    2002 – 

    Academies: 2
    Boys: 102
    Year 12 Leavers: 21
    Staff: 3
    A second academy is established in Kalgoorlie, WA. 21 boys complete Year 12 at Clontarf Aboriginal College, the biggest number recorded at the school. Clontarf appoints its first Employment Officer to work with the Year 12 leavers.

  • 2003
    Clontarf Foundation Inc. is registered  

    2003 – 

    Academies: 2
    Boys: 119
    Year 12 Leavers: 21
    Staff: 7
    The Clontarf Foundation Inc. is registered and the ‘Clontarf’ identity born. The Foundation has its first graduate to enrol in university.

  • 2004
    A third academy in Geraldton WA  

    2004 – 

    Academies: 3
    Boys: 186
    Year 12 Leavers: 31
    Staff: 16
    A third academy is established in Geraldton WA. The inaugural Broome to Bicton concert is held in February.

  • 2005
    A new academy in Maddington, WA  

    2005 – 

    Academies: 4
    Boys: 240
    Year 12 Leavers: 61
    Staff: 18
    A new academy is established in Maddington, WA. The Federal and WA Governments extend their funding commitments for a further four years.

  • 2006
    New academies in Broome and Albany  

    2006 – 

    Academies: 6
    Boys: 424
    Year 12 Leavers: 75
    Staff: 21
    New academies are established in Broome and Albany, WA. 14 Clontarf boys travel to South Africa as part of an Indigenous Australian Rules schoolboy team.

  • 2007
    Commences operations in the Northern Territory  

    2007 – 

    Academies: 11
    Boys: 752
    Year 12 Leavers: 75
    Staff: 64
    Clontarf commences inaugural operations in the Northern Territory with the establishment of two new academies in Alice Springs – the expansion beyond WA officially commences. The Foundation opens its first primary school programme at Nulsen Primary School in Esperance, WA.

  • 2008
    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visits Clontarf  

    2008 – 

    Academies: 17
    Boys: 1,362
    Year 12 Leavers: 110
    Staff: 77
    Then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visits Clontarf academies in Perth and Darwin and announces significant Federal Government investment in Clontarf, allowing the Foundation to expand more rapidly over the ensuing years.

  • 2009
    Harvard University case study  

    2009 – 

    Academies: 20
    Boys: 1,628
    Year 12 Leavers: 163
    Staff: 104
    Harvard University (Boston, USA) conducts a case study on the Foundation – the first ever study of its type on an Australian not-for-profit.

  • 2010
    Clontarf commences operations in Victoria  

    2010 – 

    Academies: 31
    Boys: 2,212
    Year 12 Leavers: 169
    Staff: 125
    Clontarf commences inaugural operations in Victoria with the establishment of academies in Bairnsdale, Mildura, Robinvale, Swan Hill and Warrnambool.

  • 2011
    Her Majesty the Queen visits  

    2011 – 

    Academies: 38
    Boys: 2,289
    Year 12 Leavers: 189
    Staff: 150
    Her Majesty the Queen visits the Clontarf Academy (Waterford, WA).

  • 2012
    Clontarf commences operations in New South Wales  

    2012 – 

    Academies: 47
    Boys: 2,538
    Year 12 Leavers: 200
    Staff: 160
    Clontarf commences inaugural operations in New South Wales with the establishment of new academies Armidale, Bourke, Brewarrina, Coonamble, Inverell, Moree and Tamworth. Annual student health checks are introduced into every academy.

  • 2013
    A national partnership with Cricket Australia  

    2013 – 

    Academies: 47
    Boys: 2,581
    Year 12 Leavers: 253
    Staff: 165
    A national partnership with Cricket Australia commences and cricket is introduced into the Clontarf programme.

  • 2014
    Clontarf’s central administration Bentley  

    2014 – 

    Academies: 53
    Boys: 3,046
    Year 12 Leavers: 172
    Staff: 183
    Clontarf’s central administration office is moved to a purpose built office in Bentley.

  • 2015
    Clontarf commences operations in Queensland  

    2015 – 

    Academies: 71
    Boys: 3,770
    Year 12 Leavers: 314
    Staff: 220
    Clontarf commences inaugural operations in Queensland with the establishment of academies in Toowoomba, Kingaroy, Warwick, Dalby, Cherbourg and Murgon.
    The Foundation’s first academy in the Sydney metropolitan area opens at Endeavour Sports High School, Caringbah.

  • 2016
    Clontarf Grows in New South Wales  

    2016 – 

    Academies: 74
    Boys: 4,446
    Year 12 Leavers: 384
    Staff: 260
    Clontarf rolls out the next phase of expansion in NSW, reaching new communities in Western Sydney and the Mid North Coast.

  • 2017

    2017 – 

    Academies: 88
    Boys: 5,771
    Year 12 Leavers: 533
    Staff: 330
    New academies open in Cairns and Townsville in Queensland, taking the state to more than 1,500 participants and surpassing Western Australia as Clontarf’s second biggest state by enrolment.

  • 2018
    Increased Federal Government funding  

    2018 – 

    Academies: 89
    Boys: 6,125
    Year 12 Leavers: 575
    Staff: 357
    Then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion announces increased Federal Government funding for Clontarf as part of its 1967 Referendum 50th Anniversary Education package. This will allow the Foundation to grow from 6,000 participants to 10,500 participants by the end of 2020.

  • 2019
    Commencement in South Australia  

    2019 – 

    Academies: 116
    Boys: 7,739
    Year 12 Leavers: 613
    Staff: 465
    Clontarf commences inaugural operations in SA. New academies are also established in NSW and WA with a total of 27 new academies opening during the year – the most academy openings in a single year in Clontarf’s history.

  • 2020
    Clontarf weathers the storm  

    2020 – 

    Academies: 123
    Boys: 8,463
    Year 12 Leavers: 776
    Staff: 475
    Clontarf opens three new academies in QLD, located in Brisbane, Palm Beach and Yeppoon. The Foundation continues to operate its network of academies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 2021
    Primary school expansion  

    2021 – 

    Academies: 136
    Boys: 9,290
    Year 12 Leavers: 731
    Staff: 520
    A number of primary school programmes are established in WA and NT to assist in the transition from primary to secondary school.

Scroll to Top