Ben McCabe

Aristotle said, “All men by nature desire to know.” The primary purpose of Augustine Academy is to impart a deep love of learning and a genuine desire for depth and meaning in the lives of young people. The objective is that throughout their time at the Academy, students will grow to understand learning as dynamic and exciting pursuit of the Truth, rather than a utilitarian means to a job.

The secondary purpose of the Academy is to provide students with a pathway into university. By studying the liberal arts at Augustine Academy, students learn the necessary academic skills to transition into further studies at university, and also graduate with a certificate IV in Tertiary Preparations.  

Augustine Academy was founded in 2016 by Ben McCabe in recognition of the need for high-school aged students to have an alternative option to the HSC, whereby they could engage in a holistic and integrative approach to classical education. The vision for the Academy was sparked by Ben’s own positive experience of alternative education and profound love of learning. In its beginnings, the Academy ran part-time for three days per week on a rural property one hour from Sydney. Over the past seven years it has developed into a full-time school in Tumut, NSW, with students attending from all over Australia. The students remain on campus for five weeks, four times per year. This model enables students to experience living in community together, growing, learning, and praying together daily. It also provides students with an opportunity to engage in ongoing agriculture projects and building initiatives, whereby they can reap the fruits of their own labour.

Each year, Augustine Academy attracts roughly twenty students from all over Australia. This bears witness to the strong need and desire for alternative education systems. Students come from all different backgrounds, faiths, and previous education systems. Throughout its time, Augustine Academy has seen a dynamic staff team including several permanent staff and guest teachers from Canada, Campion College and the University of Notre Dame.

In 2020, the Academy was able to permanently situate itself on a rural property thirty minutes from Tumut, NSW. The property is nestled at the base of Kosciuszko National Park and boasts of flowing rivers, endless walking tracks, mountains, an outdoor and indoor chapel, and several farm animals including horses, chickens, sheep, and cows. This environment offers students a unique learning setting where they are met with the beauty and simplicity of rural living on a daily basis. Because of its setting, students are able to spend time each day gardening, swimming, walking, wood-chopping, and milking. These activities compliment their academic studies for a truly holistic educational experience.

The curriculum is grounded in the classical liberal arts. Students study Literature, History, Philosophy, Theology, Rhetoric, Drama, Debating, Logic, and Grammar. Each day consists of lectures, tutorials, and study sessions. Lessons are interactive and encouraging of questions and debates.

Students who attend Augustine Academy gain not only a rigorous education, but they also form lifelong friendships, develop a diverse range of practical life skills, grow in confidence and ability, and have a meaningful experience of what the pursuit of Truth can involve.

  • About the Author: Ben McCabe, Augustine Academy Director.