Galstaun College marks 30th Anniversary on strong financial ground with new Recapitalisation Program

By | Thursday, 17 November 2016

SYDNEY: The Hamazkaine Arshak and Sophie Galstaun College was established in 1986 with the support of the Sydney Armenian community including its benefactors, led by founding benefactors, Arshak and Sophie Galstaun. Over the past 30 years, Galstaun College has relied on the continued financial generosity of the community and benefactors to meet its financial needs.

However in 2011, following years of waning financial support and a drop in student numbers, the College found itself in an unenviable financial position and the Board of Management was forced to take initial steps towards subdividing and selling off surplus land (land not currently used), with a view to retiring or at least reducing significantly Galstaun College’s substantial loans, noting that the main loan had placed a significant interest burden on the College.

After a lengthy and unsuccessful sales campaign, and following detailed consultations and negotiations with various financial institutions (banks) without success, Galstaun College was facing dire financial circumstances which, at that time, presented a real threat to the College’s survival.

After exhausting all other possibilities and over a four-year period of intense negotiations, Galstaun College was able to secure the substantial financial contribution of a number of "Community Financial Supporters”, led by Michael and Stephen Abolakian, who provided the funds to replace the existing mortgagee of the College’s main loan.

The arrangement entails Galstaun College’s main loan being formally retired once the Community Financial Supporters rezone and subdivide the school’s surplus lots. The main lot, incorporating all of the College’s buildings, including the Smoky Dawson Pavilion, will remain untouched.

The group of Community Financial Supporters include existing College Benefactors, College Alumnus, as well as a new generation of financial supporters made up of our community’s most prominent businesspeople such as Michael and Stephen Abolakian, Greg Soghomonian, Shant Soghomonian, Kerop Nol (Benefactor), Garbis Sariyan (Benefactor), Zohrab and Hratch Keverian, Shant Kradjian (College Alumnus), Heros Dilanchian, Richard Shemesian and Vrege Kolokossian.

This group will also be assisting Galstaun College in the rezoning process, which is currently underway in the Ingleside area, to ensure that the College land and surplus lots achieve optimal value.

Once the surplus lots are rezoned, Galstaun College also stands to benefit from the rezoning process - its proceeds from the rezoning uplift will go towards paying the balance of the College’s loans. Further, should the Community Financial Supporters decide to develop the surplus land, there will be an option for investment to be opened to all interested members of the community.

To summarise, the result of this Recapitalisation Program is that:

  • After facing an uncertain future the school has partnered with "Community Financial Supporters" to achieve an absolutely necessary and significant debt reduction;

  • This means the College will now achieve an operational balanced budget, which was previously unachievable due to the monthly interest payments from our main loan now on its way to being retired with no monthly interest payments crippling Galstaun College’s cashflow;

  • As a result of the Community Financial Support and the hard work of the Board, the School is now forecast to make its first cashflow surplus in memory;
  • The College stands to benefit from any rezoning of land achieved with the assistance and expertise of the "Community Financial Supporters";

  • Some of the most prominent business leaders in the Armenian-Australian community are now invaluable supporters of and working closely with Galstaun College, which will lead to other potential collaborations already in discussions, to further better the College’s financial outlook.


Chairperson of Hamazkaine Regional Committee, Vicken Kalloghlian said: “We are very grateful for the important and vital financial assistance and expertise this group of ‘Community Financial Supporters’ have given to the College, which has allowed us to restructure and substantially reduce our debt.”

He added: “With this Recapitalisation Program, as well as the improved financial management of our institution, and the increasing student numbers under the leadership of Principal Edward Demirdjian, a promising new era is heralded for Galstaun College on its 30th Anniversary.”