St George's Project

July Update

‘This building will reflect all that is important to Loreto Toorak – it will provide a sense place, of belonging, it will be inspiring, and it will challenge the girls to be the best that they can possibly be.’ - John Sprunt, Architectus Melbourne 


At the conclusion of Term 2, our staff had the opportunity to walk through and explore the progress and growth of our St George’s Redevelopment Project. 

Mr Tim Rowler, Business Manager, led the tour providing comprehensive and informative information about the design principles, structure, and progress of the buildingWith multiple groups walking through, staff had the opportunity to ask questions and observe the new construction. 


Comments included: 


The St George redevelopment building was astounding, with such a great space and so much light! The line of sight through the structure and the difference in ceiling height create a natural flow throughout the building. Very excited for the next stage’ – Sarah Merrigan 


The buildings top floor expansive windows, allowing a view of Mandeville Hall, intertwines our rich past, deep traditions and our future innovative goals. Very inspiring!’ 

– Sue Burke 


‘The buildings space envelops a sense of variety that will encourage a different quality of learning for both teachers and students.’ – Stacey Tanner 

June Update 2021

St George’s Redevelopment Project continues to progress within targeted time frames and budget. Last week, representatives from each Rathfarnham class were randomly selected for a hard hat tour of the construction site. Mr Rowler, Business Manager and Mr Lincoln, Property Committee, led the tour providing detailed and informative commentary on the building including design principles, building equipment and construction practices. The girls found the experience exciting and fascinating. They were keen to return to class and share this information with their friends. 

Comments from some of the girls: 

'I like how we can see outside through the big windows.’ Preparatory 

‘I love the big glass windows in the Year 7 area. The view is absolutely wonderful.’ Year 6 

‘I like the Year 9 area with the courtyard. I really like the idea of going into the beautiful courtyard to do work.’ Year 5 

'The building design is really modern and the clever architects have created a thoughtful design.’ Year 6 

'When we look out we can see all the beautiful trees.’ Year 5 

‘There is so much natural light.’ Year 5 ‘

'The building is a really creative, clever design & it is really wonderful to be in here.’ Year 4

May update 2021

May - St George's Project Time-lapse Video

St George’s Redevelopment – The Environmental Considerations

The St George’s Project is progressing well and continues to be on budget and within project timelines. One of the core considerations for the original scope of the building project was the consideration of environmental factors. Included here is an outline from the design team on how these factors were incorporated into the building project during the construction.

Design Elements

Parity of experience, occupant wellbeing and internal environmental quality were key design principles driving interior functional and formal responses to the project. The pursuit for equality was a key education briefing outcome and served to influence design parameters and design decisions along the journey. In general, there is a strong emphasis on replication or equivalence of not only size but also the learning experience. 

Quantifiable parameters of learning included: acoustic performance – protecting users from harmful or distracting noise whether from within the building or at street level providing optimal learning conditions with suitable acoustic reverberation or creating appropriate sound energy levels connections with nature – physical and visual for reasons or benefits that daylight, sunlight and living landscapes can bring to the experience of space and general wellbeing to design an environment that promotes increased levels of fresh air that has been filtered from seasonal and local impurities such as pollen and dust, whilst maintaining an efficient exchange of heat in a controlled environment.

This is a building that has been designed to control and promote optimal air quality rather than allow the inefficiencies and often harmful or less than desirable intrusions of heat, cold, dust, noise, and pollen from openable windows.

Construction Elements

As outlined the new building will provide many environmentally sustainable design initiatives with a particular focus on the internal environmental quality.

There are also many practical examples in the procurement and design of the building including providing rainwater collection, the selection of materials, LED efficient lighting which is operated through sensors and louvers which enables light and heat when required, blocking out heat when it is not.

As part of the redevelopment the school has made the commitment to implement a new solar power initiative with further information including the timing, size and use of the new system to follow.

The creation and demolition of buildings are the two greatest environmental impacts on the life of a building, the St Georges Re-development replaced a group of buildings, some of which had been used for almost 100 years. The new building has durable and long-lasting materials together with a high-quality flexible design and beautiful internal environment which is anticipated to be used for 100 or more years.

The Tunnel Break-through - March/April

The St George’s Redevelopment includes three levels: B1 a basement used for classrooms, a lecture theatre, a large study space and two external courtyards. B2 and B3 will provide over 60 additional carparks to the site. To access the carparks an interesting design solution was developed and implemented by the Property Committee of our Board. This involved the construction of a tunnel linking the existing B1 Mandeville Centre to the new building. This significant milestone in the project was recently completed and is captured here in this video.

This solution will provide many benefits to the School including:
  • Reducing the requirement for additional driveway to Clendon Rd, which would have created safety issues for students and increased traffic to the street for residents
  • Reduction of town planning risk with removal of the requirement for an additional driveway crossover
  • Additional floor space available as the car ramp was not required for levels B1 or the ground floor.This space has enabled additional formal and informal learning areas as well as a 100-seat lecture theatre.
  • Single access for vehicles improving safety, security and control of the site.
The works involved removing of two existing piles of the Mandeville Centre basement constructed by the same contractor ACCIONA Geotech as the new building and the demolition was undertaken by the Mann Group under the builder Vaughan Constructions. In the above video you will see an operator use a demolition robot (in this instance Husqarna SXR300) which allows access, promotes safety, and increases efficiency in confined spaces.

Demolishing concrete is hard, time-consuming, potentially hazardous work, regardless of jobsite conditions. Selectively demolishing concrete elements within an existing structure, with a tight deadline, and no space to accommodate a skidsteer or excavator can be challenging. Under such constraints, a demolition robot can play an important role.

These machines look like mini excavators, but without cabs. They run on tracks and have hydraulically powered arms to which breakers, crushers, drills, or loader buckets can be attached. Many are small enough to fit onto passenger elevators, pass through standard doorways, and even travel up and down stairs. Under their hoods, though, they have electric motors driving their hydraulic systems. And they deliver an exceptional amount of breaking power for such modest-sized equipment.

Operators control the robots’ actions remotely, using conventional joystick consoles that they carry or strap to their bodies.

What is remote controlled robot demolition?
Modern and convenient, remote controlled robot demolition is a method by which the user can remotely control a compact machine from afar to carry out demolition work. They are usually run on battery or plugged into an electric power source. The hydraulic arm has an extended reach, and the attachments can be changed to suit the project.

What are the benefits of remote-controlled robot demolition?
Health and safety: This technique is at the forefront of health and safety improvement, due to its ability to be operated off site by remote control. This allows workers to avoid dangers such as falling debris, collapses, or exposure to chemical fallout and particles. It also reduces the chance of employees developing injuries, as there is less lifting and manual labour involved in this method than with other types of demolition.

Compact: These machines are small but powerful, and their compact size allows them to navigate spaces that other equipment finds difficult to manoeuvre in. The machines small height means it can easily fit through doorways, and its power and speed allow it to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Hand demolition, in comparison, is much slower and less efficient.

Precise and versatile: Poise and precision are two elements that rank remote controlled robot demolition above other imprecise demolition methods, such as balling, explosions and wire rope pulling. Robotic demolition machines come with a range of different attachments that can be placed on the hydraulic arm, such as grapples, shears and others. This versatility grants the user a fantastic ability to choose which attachment is best for the specific situation.

Easy to operate: In the interests of safety, only trained professionals should operate the robotic machine. However, these machines are generally easy to operate and run on hydraulic and/or electric power.

No noise, vibration or fumes: Demolition methods such as balling, explosions, deliberate collapse and wire rope pulling, all produce excessive amounts of noise, vibrations and mess, resulting in the need for thorough clean up. Remote controlled robot demolition is a clean method with minimal vibration and minimal noise pollution. Its use also produces no fumes, making it healthier and safer for anyone standing nearby.

The Topping Out of the St George’s Redevelopment Project was celebrated recently. Topping out ceremonies are a time-honoured tradition that signify the successful completion of the structural phase of a project. Traditionally, the ceremony involves placing an evergreen tree upon the new structure to symbolise growth and bring good luck. The tree will then be planted as part of the project. The project is currently on schedule and within budget and will be available for students to enjoy from the commencement of 2022.

Celebrating this project milestone is (L-R) Tim Rowler - Business Manager, Gerard Dalbosco - Chair of the Board, Matthew Vaughan - Director Vaughan Constructions, Andrew Noble - Managing Director Vaughan Constructions, Dr Susan Stevens - Principal, Angela O’Dwyer - Executive Deputy Principal, Peter Higgins - Chair of Property Committee, John Lincoln - Property Committee, Séamus Scorgie – Deputy Principal - Studies.

February 2021 update

Read the Vision of John Sprunt Principal of Architectus Melbourne 

St George's Development St George's Development (4547 KB)

There has been significant progress on the site of the old St George’s Building. The new building has been under construction for just over 12 months and during the Christmas period it began to take shape as it emerged from the ground. A time lapse of the works undertaken to date, including the demolition, is available below.

Towards the end of last year the ground floor was completed as were the basement levels B1,B2 and B3. Over the next month the base structure of the building will be finalised and the final part of the tunnel will be excavated. This tunnel will join the Mandeville Centre carpark to the new building basement and provide access to vehicles without an additional entrance or traffic to Clendon Road. These works are scheduled to be completed over the last weekend in February to minimise noise and disruption for our students. The scheduling of works around important events including exams has been a key part of planning for the School and our builder Vaughan Constructions.

During the construction of the base structure, work has continued on the internal design and all significant design elements have been completed. The design work follows workshops undertaken with students, staff and parents during 2019 and 2020 with the key theme of ‘equity of experience’ chosen as the focus.

The School has also received the required permits to complete the project including Town Planning, Building Permits and Heritage Permits. Further updates and information regarding the project will be available via the School Portal.

St George's Project Timelapse from Loreto Toorak on Vimeo.