It's 7am in Parkerville and only one man on campus is capable of managing one hundred acres of bushland, manage the Stage 3 building contractors and fix a fence in a paddock of kangaroos - Ainsley Brough.
In a scene reminiscent of a Frederick McCubbin landscape painting, Ainsley Brough takes stock of the beauty around him as he goes about his business as Property Manager of both Mundaring campuses: half a dozen kangaroos have jumped into his newly built Archery Range while a kookaburra perches above the scene, spying fallen logs and looking for an early morning snack in the undergrowth.
“I love the kangaroos, but they are a problem when you hit them in the ute,” says Ainsley, who regularly gets the midnight calls when a possum has chewed through the power cables or a motion sensor alarm is set off at the Walker St Primary campus of Mundaring Christian College.
Ainsley’s mischievous humour conceals what everyone at MCC knows: this is a man who believes in SCEA schools being great places for learning and growing – whether you are a student, a parent or a staff member.
“My parents enrolled me in Beechboro Christian School many years ago, when the system was still closed-enrolment. I’m very thankful for the change to open-enrolment policies that came about in the mid-1990s. If my family had not been a church family back in those early days, I would never have been allowed into Beechboro where I had some incredible teachers that helped me,” says Ainsley as some Mundaring students walk by and give a casual wave to ‘the man who fixes everything.’
Beechboro’s primary years led to senior schooling at Swan Christian College, where Ainsley continued to be nurtured with early SCEA families that are now household names in every SCEA staffroom.
“My kids are growing up with other SCEA families from back in the day. It's great that we’ve all made the decision to grow our families in SCEA schools. Some of my former classmates are now teachers in SCEA and it's great to be a part of each other’s lives like this.”
Swan stalwart Norm Ewing encouraged Ainsley to pursue a career in glazing (glass windows and tinting) which he did for a number of years before moving into building services.
Ainsley’s work during the COVID period earlier this year demonstrated his optimistic approach to any challenge that he faces:
“We built the Archery Range, we implemented a COVID safety plan and we used the non-contact time to really get as much done as we could around both campuses. We certainly saw it as an opportunity to make the best of a difficult situation. I was very impressed with how our staff came together and there was a lot of encouragement during the COVID phase earlier this year.”
Ainsley and his family call St Mark’s Anglican in Bassendean their church home now, right around the corner from where Ainsley grew up as a young boy.
“Your soul is shown through your actions. I really believe in this and I enjoy the way that the church can play an active role in evangelising the community. It’s a great space to be in for me and my family.”
Visitors to Mundaring’s two campuses should look out for Ainsley Brough’s idiosyncratic Akubra hat when visiting the schools. He will be weeding flower beds, creating a fire evacuation path or casually managing a million-dollar building project while the local wildlife keep watch from the nearby field. No laughing, please Mr Kookaburra!