The Tullow Centre has Won 4 Prestigious Architectural Awards

We are more than delighted to announce that our Tullow Centre has received four prestigious architectural awards, namely:

  • Building Designers Association of Australia (BDAA)  – 2020 Best Public Building/Structure 
  • Building Designers Association of Australia (BDAA) – 2020 National Design Memorial Award
  • Design Matters – 2020 Past Presidents’ Award
  • Design Matters – 2020 Best Non-Residential-Commercial Building >$2M

The Tullow Centre (Killester’s Performing Arts and Music Learning Facility) was the vision of Leanne Di Stefano (Killester’s former principal). When it became evident that our Arts curriculum was flourishing we dreamed about the perfect building for both the Performing Arts and Music departments, as well as the rest of the school community. We then met with Crosier Scott’s, a Melbourne based architecture firm, who designed the Performing Arts and Music space of our dreams. 

The new building and surrounding landscape was designed to complement the rest of the campus. The centre is a meaningful and practical addition to the school that can be used for a range of activities. The name Tullow is significant to Killester as Tullow is a town in Ireland where the Brigidine Sisters originated from.

The design incorporates bespoke music and drama facilities, internal and external performance and gathering zones, flexible and adaptable learning and activity spaces, offices and administration areas, as well as functional storage, garage and accessible toilet/change-room facilities alongside landscaped recreational spaces that provide an opportunity for further congregation and summertime performances.

The Centre itself is vibrant warm, welcoming and striking. It is a place where the performing arts can be highlighted, celebrated and taught in purpose-built spaces that all students can enjoy. The design incorporates playful references to musicality through the use of material and colour, while the design fully exploits its location and orientation, weaving the new facility into the fabric of the existing campus. 

We love our new building and can’t wait to see how it is used in the years to come. We will release a virtual walkthrough in time – keep monitoring our Facebook page. 

Alumni Career Snapshot – Jenny Lindell

Meet Jenny Lindell who graduated from Killester College in 1970. Jenny had an interesting career by starting her life as a Medical Imaging Technologist and then shifted across into Politics. She began her political career as an Electorate Officer, then became a Member of Parliament and finally ended up as Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly.

What subjects did you study in Year 12?

Pure Mathematics, Calculus and Applied Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, English

What are some of the roles you have held in your career?

Medical Imaging Technologist, Electorate Officer, Member of Parliament, Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly

What path did you take to get to where you are now?

I loved my 20-year career as a MIT but I became more politically active after my children were born. In 1990 an opportunity presented itself to work in a local MPs office which gave me more time for politics. I was elected in 1999, re-elected in 2002 and 2006, lost my seat in the 2010 election and am now happily retired.

Who inspired you to get where you are?

My parents were determined that their daughters would be given the educational opportunities that their mother was denied and they made many sacrifices to ensure that happened. In return, I made the fullest use of those opportunities.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love being retired and pleasing myself as to how I spend my time. My working life was centred around helping people – within the health sector originally and then through advocacy and legislative change through the political system. 

What are you most proud of in your career?

My four years as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. I was the 35th person to hold that position and only the second woman.

What has been the most challenging thing about your career?

I chose a career that doesn’t have much down. Learning to balance my time between work and family was an immense challenge.

What have been some career highlights?

Being a member of the Bracks/Brumby Government and the reform of the Victorian Legislative Council.

Leading the campaign for and delivering the Aspendale Gardens Primary School.

Being a member of the Alpine Grazing task force which recommended the removal of cattle grazing licences in the Alpine National Park. 

Do you have anything special that you remember about your time at Killester College?

I have especially fond memories of times when I was in trouble with Mother Dorothy!  I have always remembered her kindness in the face of my belligerence and have tried to emulate her behaviour.

Do you have any words of wisdom/advice for our Killester Girls?

Sister Bernadine wrote some words for me as I left Killester in 1970 –

 ‘ the high soul takes the high road, the low soul takes the low road and in between on the misty plains the rest rock to and fro‘

I have always interpreted this to mean that it’s a choice to be made – high, low, in between – nothing is set in stone, your future is in your hands.

Meet the Killester Team – Sally Buick

Meet Sally Buick, Killester’s well-loved Principal. We interviewed Sally to help you get to know our fearless and faithful leader a bit more. 

We all have a favourite book that we come back to time and time again, what’s yours and what do you love about it?

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, it is a superb story about adversity, family and love…he writes beautifully and captures the heart of Australia.

What was your favourite subject at school and why?

Literature, mainly because I love to read and understand how clever authors put together their work.

What was your first paying job?

Helper at a Florist.

What was your worst job and what did you learn from it?

Selling pens over the phone…I hated it because I had to cold call people and try to sell them a pen. The only people who wanted to talk were very lonely and they just wanted to chat and then I hated asking them to buy a silly pen, I was pretty bad at that job and only lasted two days.

What’s the best concert you’ve been to?

Melissa Etheridge.

What would your ‘spirit-animal’ be and why?

A dolphin because swimming in the ocean is one of my favourite things to do.

Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?

I am “an iceberger” which means I swim (when I am allowed outside of the 5 km zone) every morning at Brighton beach. I try to do this all year round and we don’t wear wetsuits so it can get pretty cold in Winter.

Which historical figure would you like to meet and why?

Edith Cowan, who was the first female parliamentarian in Australia, and Nelson Mandela who always spoke about peace. If I get to go way back in time it would be pretty cool to have a chat and a cup of tea with Jesus.

What are the three items you would take with you on a desert island?

I am going to cheat and count my family as one item, and a kindle as a second one, even though I know there wouldn’t be internet or power…and I guess a box of matches.

Have you met anyone famous?

I met Pope John Paul II in Sydney in 1986.

What is the favourite part of your job?

Talking to the students and hearing their dreams for their future and the way they can help create a better society.

Do you have a favourite biblical scripture and if so what is it?

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”.

What motivates you at work?

My unshakeable belief that every single person has the right to an education, that an education gives every young woman choices, that an education is the way to create a fair and just society. This founded upon our Catholic values.

What is your favourite thing about Killester?

The students and staff.

If you had advice/words of wisdom for our girls what would it be?

Wow, only one is too hard. Always listen with your heart to what others and your god are saying to you, always strive to be the best version of yourself…and your body; your rules.


Alumni Career Snapshot – Dr Susie Tang, PhD

This week we are profiling Dr Susie Tang who graduated from Killester in the class 2011 and went on to study Medicine and become a Doctor.

VCE Subjects Taken

  • English
  • Maths Methods
  • Specialist Maths
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology

My Career Highlights

  • The exposure and opportunities to interact with patients and their families as a medical student and transitioning to becoming a junior doctor has been very rewarding.
  • The medical field is endless – I’ve attended trauma calls in emergency, help delivered babies, assessed sick kids & scrubbed into theatre to help the surgeons.

Top 3 Things of My Career

  • Everyday is something different
  • Helping those who are at their most vulnerable
  • You never stop learning

Challenges of Being a Doctor

  • Endless studying
  • Late nights and weekend shifts

My Advice for the Killester Girls

If you are passionate about making a difference in someone else’s life and love your sciences, I would highly recommend Medicine as a career. It’s a life-long journey but definitely rewarding!

Alumni Career Snapshot – Tori Hobbs

This week we are profiling Tori Hobbs who went on to study to become a Registered Nurse after graduating from Killester College.

My Education 

VCE: Biology, Health and Human Development, Literature, Global Politics, Mathematics – Further, History, Religion and Society

TAFE: Diploma of Nursing (Enrolled Nurse) – Holmesglen TAFE

UNI: Bachelor of Nursing (Registered Nurse) – Monash University

My Career Pathway and Personal Journey

I’m a Registered Nurse – I’ve previously worked as an Enrolled Nurse and Personal Care Assistant. During my time in VCE I applied myself as best as I could, but I struggled with SACs and exams. I’d feel confident whilst studying at home, but the minute it came time to sit for my assessment my mind went blank, and anxiety took over. I didn’t know it then, but in my adulthood I went on to discover I had an anxiety disorder. Because of this when I completed VCE I didn’t quite get the ATAR I needed to go straight into university like all of my friends.

After getting my ATAR results I researched the different career paths I could pursue. With the realisation of the roadblocks that stood in my way during VCE I made it my goal to understand how to effectively learn and manage my mental health before starting further study. I quickly caught on to the most effective ways I learn – and I passed all my TAFE exams with flying colours! Throughout my TAFE course I worked as a Personal Care Assistant in aged care and rehabilitation hospitals, it was a great way to practice my foundation nursing skills and knowledge. I then went on to practice as an Enrolled Nurse whilst I studied to become a Registered Nurse.

One of my career highlights so far has been during the last few months. I work primarily in the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit of a major public hospital in Canberra, so I’ve been on the frontlines during this pandemic. It has been an eye-opening, challenging and rewarding experience to deliver care to people during a time of such uncertainty. We have our ups and downs everyday, but I feel very thankful to be supported by so many knowledgeable and kind co-workers. Even though there were hurdles along the way I’m proud of the journey I’ve taken to get where I am today, and I feel lucky to be part of an industry as integral to the community as this.

Highlights and Challenges of Being a Registered Nurse

  • Nursing is a profession that allows for freedom to travel!
  • There are many areas you can specialise in.
  • It’s an incredibly rewarding job
  • It’s easy to feel out of your depth, but one of the great things about nursing is that your co-workers are always ready to offer support and advise.
  • Dealing with death and loss can be a very difficult.
  • Nurses deal with violence and aggression from patients, it can be difficult to deal with but is manageable with appropriate training and support.

Advice for Killester Girls

I’m glad to be one of the many people who’s able to do their bit to help people in need. Nursing provides you with tools you can apply inside and outside of the workplace. I’ve been able to pursue local community activism, I’ve even cofounded a community organisation with another former Killester student (The Vermilion Project – check us out on Facebook!). If you think you have what it takes to be a nurse, go for it! Nursing courses offer placements and job opportunities which allow you to test the waters and see if nursing is right for you. Some days you accompany parents as they bring new life into the world, and some days you accompany people during their last few moments, but everyday we do our best to provide care, comfort and understanding to people and put a smile on their face irrespective of what’s going on around them.

Alumni Career Snapshot – Dr. Lesley Cheng, PhD

Killester is delighted to be starting a series of ‘Alumni Career Snapshots’. Here is our first interview with Dr. Lesley Cheng, PhD.

My Education:

  • Class of 1998, VCE: Specialist Maths, Maths Methods, Biology, Chemistry and IT at Killester College
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science with Honours in Medical Science and Cell Biology, Monash University
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD in Cell Biology and Biochemistry), Monash University

I completed my degrees by 2008.

After completing my PhD, I worked at:

  • The American Hospital Dubai, U.A.E, as a Clinical Research Scientist where I developed diagnostic tests for newborn babies to detect genetic disorders
  • The University of Melbourne as a Postdoctoral Researcher where I began my current research focus which is to develop a blood-based diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease
  • La Trobe University as a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher where I now lead a group of researchers to further develop blood-based diagnostic tests for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, in addition to cancer and infectious diseases

My career pathway and highlights:

I have taken the ‘typical academic pathway’ to obtain my career. I loved the time during my Honours and PhD which involved mostly hands-on laboratory work, similar to an apprenticeship. I was able to create, innovate and discover new science and technologies that could help the health and well-being of people living with a disease. My work has been published in the world’s top scientific journals which has generated interest in the media including a TEDx Melbourne talk. I am now establishing a Biotechnology company to supply my blood tests to the community and I am learning to balance a career in science and business entrepreneurship.

Best things about my job:

1. Always discovering something new

2.Using cutting edge technology and instruments

3.Travelling the world to conferences and meetings

Challenges of my job:

1.Finding funding to financially support my research.

2. There are others in the world with the same idea. It’s competitive but this drives me to get there first and not become another ‘me too’.

My advice:

Work on your communication skills together with your studies.

All company goals require a team of people with different expertise. There’s no point in being good at what you do if you can’t communicate with others or non-experts.


Killester College would like to thank Dr. Lesley Cheng for taking the time to assist us in developing this article. We are certain that your story and career pathway will inspire our girls. If you are a Killester alumni and would like to share your story with us please contact us.

Lesley Cheng

Year 12 VET Kitchen Operations

Yesterday, our Year 12 VET Kitchen Operations class prepared take away meals that staff were able to purchase for lunch and dinner.

The students created 3 delicious dishes- Chicken Pho, Southern fried chicken drumsticks with Texas slaw as well as Chicken, leek and bocconcini parcels with mixed greens.

The work produced by these students was outstanding, and staff were very pleased with their meals.


To encourage students to read during remote learning, the Killester Library is setting up the Bagabook service.  Students can order the books online, and pick them up from the school in the afternoons between 3.00 and 3.30 pm.


This week Year 7 to 10 students began the second remote learning experience. To support student wellbeing we have included a new resource for students within the KOOL remote learning website – #MeTime. There is a dedicated time each week – Wednesday mornings, for students to focus on their wellbeing. Students can access links to a wide range of wellbeing/fun activities according to their interests in the areas of spirituality, creativity and physical activity.
Our students have enjoyed the #MeTime initiative, doing things such as origami, dancing and journalling.


Lots of lovely masks on display at our temperature checking stations this morning. Well done to everyone at Killester today; helping be part of the solution.