Somerville House Foundation

Cumbooquepa Stained Glass Window Restoration

The fame and beauty of the Shakespearean panels in the foyer of Cumbooquepa are well known and well loved by the Somerville community.  The Viola, Beatrice, Portia and Rosalind panels have been described by experts in the field as compositionally superb; a combination of architectural detail, texts from Shakespeare, mouth blown and hand spun roundels, they are highly skilled and beautifully crafted.  Although the windows are not signed, there is strong evidence in the aesthetic and style to suggest they were made by William Montgomery (1850 to 1927) of Melbourne who is regarded as Australia’s finest stained glass designer and painter. The Cumbooquepa windows rank among his best work.

What is less known is that the windows in the Cumbooquepa Room (formerly the Boarders’ Dining Room), are considered to be better examples of Neo-Renaissance stained glass than the highly esteemed window in Switzerland’s stained glass museum, Vitromusee. Technically dazzling, the enamel work is sumptuous in colour, the glass cutting daring and precise.  The fame and value of the windows is expected to increase further with age. 

If you would like to view the Cumbooquepa stained glass windows please contact Anna Coles, Foundation Development Manager, on 07 3033 9289 to arrange a visit to Cumbooquepa.





Whilst the fine leads used in the windows are aesthetically beautiful, they are structurally weak. Over time, a number of the windows have buckled which threatens the overall integrity of the stained glass and there are wear and tear issues in a number of the panels. The School has been advised that all the Shakespeare and Cumbooquepa Room panels need to be removed, repaired and, in some cases, repainted if they are to be preserved and protected.

The School is fortunate to have leading Australian stained glass artists and restoration experts Gerri Cummins and Jill Stehn advising us on the conservation of the windows. With their personal connection to Somerville House through the design and creation of many of the Chapel windows, we are confident that under their stewardship, the Cumbooquepa windows will be preserved for future generations of Somerville students, their families, staff and the wider community to enjoy.

The total cost for the restoration of the Cumbooquepa stained glass windows is $75,000.  We seek support from the Somerville House community to quickly meet this target so that work on the windows can commence in early 2019.


Who We Are

Our Somerville House Foundation was launched in 1984 by a group of interested parents with a mutual passion and belief in the transformative power of education. 

Now celebrating our 32nd year of supporting the financial security and growth of Somerville House, our Foundation operates as a company limited by guarantee and is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission.

We operate collaboratively with the School under the requirements of the Corporations Act, with a professional Board of Directors and impressive volunteer involvement. The Board and its two Committees have a diverse mix of skills and experience, and great passion for our cause.

Our Board

Permanent Directors

Somerville House Principal, Mrs Kim Kiepe
Somerville House School Council Chairman, Mr Jim Demack

Appointed Directors

Representative of the Old Girls' Association, Ms Rebecca Bauer
Representative of the Parents and Friends' Association, Mr Derek Meggitt   

Elected Directors

Ms Dominique Layt, Board Chair
Mrs Jodie Bignall 
Mrs Kanchana Bishop
Mrs Trudy Naylor
Mrs Peta Tilse

Additional DirectorsMrs Kerrie Mattiske

The Constitution of Somerville House Foundation Ltd. is available here.

The Somerville House Foundation Ltd. 2017 Audited Financial Statement is available here

What We Do

Our Mission

Our Foundation is devoted to providing exceptional learning opportunities for Somerville House students to inspire and encourage them to become the best they can be. Committed to securing the future of Somerville House, our Foundation strives to foster a culture of philanthropy and warmth of spirit throughout our School community. 

Please click here to find out more about the work of our Foundation.

Our Priorities

As a tax-deductible fundraising vehicle, our Foundation partners with the School to deliver programs and projects that have a lasting and personal impact on the educational journey of Somerville House students. It does so through raising and managing funds via appeals, events and initiatives to support scholarships and bursaries, and assist the School with its present and future development priorities.

At Somerville House, we believe that scholarships play an important role in fostering a culture that celebrates and values achievement, diversity and the pursuit of personal excellence. Scholarship opportunities can also have a profound impact on the lives of deserving students and help nurture the next generation of future leaders. 

Through the generosity of our Foundation’s benefactors, a number of scholarships are awarded each year to students who might not normally be able to attend our School. Our Foundation also assists current members of our School community who may be experiencing financial difficulty through the provision of bursaries.

Sally Worland, 2018 recipient 

‘It is truly the greatest thing to have happened to me’.  

On behalf of the Board of Directors of our Foundation, it gives me great pleasure to invite Year 12 students to apply for the 2020 Somerville House Foundation Overseas Study Scholarship.

The Foundation is committed to providing exceptional learning opportunities for Somerville House students to inspire and encourage them to become the best they can be. The purpose of this scholarship is to contribute to a student’s academic and personal development by supporting their overseas study experience following completion of their Year 12 studies. 

We are proud to award this scholarship each year, which has previously supported students to participate in programs in Taiwan, Austria, Brazil, Finland, France, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Japan and Spain.

In keeping with the School’s community spirit and proud tradition of giving back, the successful scholarship recipient must be willing to share their learning experiences and the impact of the opportunity with the School family upon their return. 

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Foundation, we are thrilled to provide this opportunity to our Year 12 cohort. We look forward to positively impacting a student’s educational journey by contributing to their overseas study experience in 2020. 

We wish all students the very best throughout the application process. 

Dominique Layt, Chair, Somerville House Foundation Ltd

What overseas study experiences are eligible?  The scope of the scholarship includes study at an overseas educational institution, as well as participation in an approved community aid project. The program or project must be undertaken throughout the period 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020. 

Applicants are required to demonstrate a high level of research into the relevant study program or community project, an alignment with their goals and interests, and expected benefits to their development. 

What level of support is provided?

The Foundation will contribute up to AU$10,000 towards the direct costs of the successful applicant’s chosen overseas study experience. Funding for the overseas study experience will be provided upfront to the successful applicant, with evidence of completion to be sought at a later time.    Please note that any costs over and above the funds provided by our Foundation will be the responsibility of the scholarship recipient and their parents. 

How to apply? 
The application form, which also outlines the required supporting documentation, is available for here.  Applications are due by 4.00pm on Monday 3 June 2019 and are to be submitted via email to

Once all applications have been reviewed, shortlisted applicants will be invited to participate in an interview in June before a selection panel comprising Ms Gayle Harris – Head of Senior School and a Board Director of the Somerville House Foundation. The successful applicant will be announced at a School Assembly in early Term 3. 

If you have any queries in relation to the Foundation Overseas Study Scholarship, please feel free to contact Ms Anna Coles, Development Manager on (07) 3033 9289 or

Our Foundation supports the School’s strong commitment to delivering a relevant, first-class learning environment that facilitates exceptional learning outcomes for our students. 

It does so by financially contributing to the development of our educational facilities and resources, in line with the School’s Master Plan (A 2025 Vision), to ensure that our students are continually inspired, engaged and challenged to reach their potential.

In recent years, the Somerville House Foundation has supported our School’s ongoing campus development through the following capital projects:

  • D Block and Mall renovations (2014)
  • The Foundation Building (2014)
  • Expansion of the School Oval by 60% (2011)
  • New Junior and Middle School Playgrounds (2011)
  • The Tennis Centre featuring a tennis pavilion and new tennis courts (2011)
  • The Health Centre (2011)
  • The Constance Cotton Junior School Library (2011)
  • The Ness Goodwin Building housing the Junior School, Boarding House and Somerfare Tuckshop (2009)
  • Purchase and refurbishment of The Chambers (1997 to 2005)
  • The Valmai Pidgeon Performing Arts Complex (1999)
  • The Murray Evans Sports and Aquatic Centre (1992 and 1996).

Ways of Giving

As a registered charity and deductible gift recipient, gifts directed to the Somerville House Foundation Scholarship Bursaries and Prizes Fund, or School Building Fund, attract a tax deduction.

Any donations, or combined donations of more than $2,000 entitle you to Foundation Membership.

Voluntary Building Fund contributions, made as part of School fee payments, also contribute towards Foundation Membership eligibility. Information on how to apply for Foundation Membership is available below.  

Information on how to apply for Foundation Membership is available here


A gift in your Will, known as a bequest, provides an opportunity to support Somerville House once your needs and those of your loved ones have been met. By making a bequest, you can retain the use and enjoyment of your assets during your lifetime and leave a lasting and valuable legacy to our School. 

The Fewings Fellowship was established to honour and recognise those in our community who remember Somerville House in their Will or who make a deferred gift. Importantly, it gives our School the opportunity to thank the Fewings Fellowship members, during their lifetime, for their generous commitment.

Creating a scholarship is a wonderful way for you to make a transformative gift to Somerville House. You may wish to consider establishing a fixed term or endowed scholarship for the benefit of students now or into the future.

Recognising Your Support

We are grateful to the friends of our Somerville House Foundation for supporting our vision and work.

We welcome corporate support on a number of levels and work closely with our corporate supporters to develop a tailored sponsorship package that aligns with their organisation’s brand strategy.

To find out more about how you or your organisation can partner with our Foundation to transform the educational journey of students, please contact our Development Manager, on (07) 3033 9289 or

Contact Us

For more information on the role our Foundation plays in our School community, and for opportunities to become involved, please contact Ms Anna Coles, Foundation Development Manager on (07) 3033 9289 or