Terry Snow donates record-breaking $20 million to Canberra Grammar

Lachlan Roberts 15 October 2019 228
An artist's impression of the new auditorium and library

An artist’s impression of the new auditorium and library. Images: Canberra Grammar School.

Canberra Airport owner, philanthropist and Canberra Grammar School old boy Terry Snow has donated $20 million to his former school for a 1,400-seat auditorium, a music centre and a library in the heart of its campus.

It is believed the donation is the largest endowment to a school in Australian history.

Architecturally designed to honour the existing Breezeway and forecourt to the school’s heritage quadrangle, the complex will include a 450 square-metre library, a formal entryway and a new assembly and concert hall.

It will also include four music classrooms, up to 20 music tuition rooms and a staff room.

The Centre for Music and Terry Snow Auditorium will begin construction in late 2019 and is planned to open in 2021.

Mr Snow, who attended Canberra Grammar School from 1953 to 1961, said he hopes the new infrastructure will “change the school forever”.

“I would like to see this school be the highwater mark for independent education in Australia,” Mr Snow said. “I went to this school. I enjoyed my life at this school.

“Even so, there weren’t the opportunities then that kids have today. Together with the school, we’re giving them the tools to excel in those things they would not normally have the opportunity of doing.

Terry Snow

Mr Snow said he would like to see this school be the highwater mark for independent education in Australia.

“Undertaking this venture, I think it’ll enhance the life of the school and culture of the school, and add vibrancy to the education here. Not only for the participants of the orchestra and concerts, but to the whole school family.”

It is not the first time Mr Snow has donated to Canberra Grammar School. In 2014, he gifted $8 million to Grammar for The Snow Centre for Education in the Asian Century.

The Head of Canberra School, Dr Justin Garrick, said the new complex will transform the face and the future of the school.

“Mr Snow’s exceptional gift will accelerate the school over more than a decade of development, benefiting thousands of current and future students, staff members and families,” Dr Garrick said.

“It will place music at the centre of the school’s educational life, and it will emphasise the centrality of learning, research and study in the most beautiful location on campus.

“The Auditorium and Centre for Music will give not just the school, but the Canberra community, an outstanding learning facility, meeting space, conference venue, concert hall and community resource for music that will make the school more intrinsic than ever to the educational and cultural life of Australia’s capital.”

The complex will be largely underground

The complex will be built largely underground, below historical buildings.

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228 Responses to Terry Snow donates record-breaking $20 million to Canberra Grammar
Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:59 am 21 Oct 19

“…………………….he was gifted by the act government and the airport he built…………..” says Vader Vonvaderham.

This is totally incorrect. It was the Federal Government who sold Canberra Airport. The only input the ACT Government had was first offer and they declined.

Wasim Hashmi Wasim Hashmi 8:31 pm 20 Oct 19

Ye mad, hopefully he kept the receipt so he can claim it on next years tax as a "charitable donation"

Vader Vonvaderham Vader Vonvaderham 12:30 pm 20 Oct 19

Absolute disgrace

    Liam Walker Liam Walker 9:48 pm 20 Oct 19

    Vader Vonvaderham that’s about the annual budget for the not for profit organisation that I work for now. Runs 2 DV shelters, about 5 homelessness programs and 3 mental health programs.

    Vader Vonvaderham Vader Vonvaderham 6:43 am 21 Oct 19

    Liam Walker exactly. Exclusive school that is not short of coin and considering he makes his millions of the back of the land that he was gifted by the act government and the airport he built and operates charging the highest taxiway and terminal fees In the world and charging his tenants exorbitant rent.

Todd Burgess Todd Burgess 7:28 pm 19 Oct 19

Carmel Elizabeth this is the guy that owns Canberra airport

    Todd Burgess Todd Burgess 7:29 pm 19 Oct 19

    And also that massive job at the equestrian centre at the coast Quattro did lol

Dan Curran Dan Curran 4:39 pm 19 Oct 19

People who work really hard and long hours to make the money to send the kids to private school but don't have time to spend with them. Brilliant plan.

Cyndy Newman-Piromalli Cyndy Newman-Piromalli 9:59 pm 18 Oct 19

20 million dollars to 1 school!!! Why?

I understand he has helped many struggling families etc.... but seriously 1 million dollars could have gone to 20 schools that struggle... my kids school don't have a canteen and could really do with support like this. Instead of making 20 school communities happy, you've chosen 1!

    Sarah Bateman Sarah Bateman 2:17 pm 19 Oct 19

    Cyndy this would have made a massive difference to all public schools in the ACT

    Cyndy Newman-Piromalli Cyndy Newman-Piromalli 1:00 pm 20 Oct 19

    Sarah Bateman I agree. Any amount would help schools.

Monica Tiffen Monica Tiffen 9:04 pm 18 Oct 19

It is his money, and his choice. I admire his generosity!

Marian Ehlert Marian Ehlert 7:19 pm 18 Oct 19

Very generous gift, but the farmers could use some of that money

Hazza Korte Hazza Korte 6:36 pm 18 Oct 19

Patrick Soulsby crack a look at some of these comments 😂

Carole Ford Carole Ford 8:23 am 18 Oct 19

It's a pity that he hasn't spread his wealth, (funded by ALL of the ACT's residents), around the public system as well, the private system is doing well already. In truth there is no real need for children to attend an expensive private school, our ACT's schools are managed exceptionally well by professional, dedicated and hard working staff from the principals to the BSO's. They manage to do incredibly well on limited budgets, fund raising fills in the gaps and in truth it shouldn't have to. People like Mr Snow should be generous with all schools not just his old school, it's not showing the generosity of spirit that is being instilled in the territory's system. It is not showing the proper division of wealth that has been created by ALL residents of the ACT. The haves and the have nots divide, causes conflict in society, something we need to change.

Michael Smith Michael Smith 9:28 pm 17 Oct 19

I know from first hand experience that many families who have children attending Canberra Grammar School have to make huge sacrifices to provide that opportunity for their children. In many families, one of the partners work simply to afford the school fees, they do this because they are committed to providing the best opportunity for their children. Further to this, I am aware that Terry Snow has secretly provided school fee support to many families who have hit hardship and were unable to continue to pay for their child to finish their CGS schooling. Bravo Terry Snow, you are a truly wonderful man and Canberran.... and a good bloke.

    Deirdre Russack Deirdre Russack 3:17 am 18 Oct 19

    Michael Smith the public system in Canberra is very good and some of us, especially single parents, make sacrifices just to keep our children in public schools. Selecting to send your kids to CGS is a choice. Luckily for most, it doesn't matter in the long run what school you went to. They do well anyway. I am a big supporter of the public system.

Kerryn Atterbury Kerryn Atterbury 8:20 pm 17 Oct 19

Andrew Goodall new music 🎶 rooms for your old stomping ground

Suzie Donnelly Suzie Donnelly 7:12 pm 17 Oct 19

It’s his money to do with as he pleases! Would you care if he dropped 20 mill on a yacht or real estate? Probably not!

Stop hating on private schools - not all private school kids come from wealthy families - a lot of us work extremely hard & go without certain things to provide what we feel is best for our kids.

Deirdre Russack Deirdre Russack 3:38 pm 17 Oct 19

There are much better things to do with $20m.

Su De Mel Su De Mel 10:49 pm 16 Oct 19

This is terribly generous of Mr Snow but how will he sleep at night knowing he helped a child already well supported in their education journey to enjoy a music lesson in the ‘Terry snow auditorium’ whilst some other poor kid barely has school supplies or a decent lunch

    Emanual Vavoulas Emanual Vavoulas 5:06 pm 17 Oct 19

    Su De Mel exactly the rich giving to the rich

    Bill Bradley Bill Bradley 6:49 pm 18 Oct 19

    Su De Mel he will sleep at night with all the good has done for many struggling canberrans.

    Chris Beckhouse Chris Beckhouse 10:33 pm 18 Oct 19

    You sound nice

    Su De Mel Su De Mel 4:31 pm 19 Oct 19

    Vanessa Carlin yes it’s his choice but given the ability do whatever he wants with $20m I’m merely saying hope he is comfortable with the choice he made.

    Bill Bradley Bill Bradley 7:46 pm 19 Oct 19

    Su De Mel do your research as suggested before making your simple misinformed opinions public..

    Ollie Raymond Ollie Raymond 11:59 pm 27 Oct 19

    Bill, no research is needed. I don't care if Terry Snow has given billions to the worthy causes in the past, this particular donation is a seriously misguided use of money that only serves to widen the gap between 'haves' and 'have nots'. Signed: a disappointed CGS alumni.

Ursula Pearson Ursula Pearson 7:40 pm 16 Oct 19

The Snow Foundation gives grants to many places/charities .. which is used support people in need, in the Canberra area.

Jim Jim Jim Jim 7:32 pm 16 Oct 19

Reading the comments what a miserable bunch Canberrans have become.

Criticising someone who makes an extremely large charitable donation, of their own money, to a school they used to attend?


    Nathan Collett Nathan Collett 9:38 pm 16 Oct 19

    that's a bit mean way to say people are being mean! LOL

Christine Hayes Christine Hayes 6:44 pm 16 Oct 19

Well done Terry Snow you are an amazing generous man.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:43 pm 16 Oct 19

That’s only capital expenditure. Why don’t you capitalise the wages of the teachers and other staff at the public schools as well because the government does not pay those at private schools.

Stephen Calder Stephen Calder 3:23 pm 16 Oct 19


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