en-us Inspired by Yarra

Mark Buchanan

YOG 1979

Innovator - Rock Climbing Wall Creator

"For me, Yarra embodied core friendships, great teachers, exploring new experiences and respecting other people."

Over the past fifty years Yarra has inspired students to pursue their individual passions and interests. Yarra Old Grammarian Mark Buchanan, class of 1979, shows us how you can turn your interests into a lifelong business opportunity.

Mark Buchanan’s professional life and his personal interests revolve around the great outdoors, nature and climbing – passions ignited during his time at Yarra. Designer of rock climbing walls, Mark is internationally renowned. He designed Hard Rock in Melbourne CBD and one of Australia’s first climbing walls, built at Australia National University in Canberra in 1992. Mark is also a certified ski instructor and President of Yarra Snowsports, a Yarra Community Group supporting the Snowsports team.

Mark’s favourite subjects were geography, earth science and biology and he started an Environment Club at the School. Ceramic classes were influential, too.

“I loved the ceramics room and still have a couple of sculptures from my School days on my wall at home. The sculpting skills I now use are directly linked to those classes and my passion for the outdoors also comes from this place”.

After graduating Yarra, Mark studied Environmental Science at Monash before deferring to work in his family’s outdoor retail business. But his direction changed when he went to the USA to design his first climbing wall. Mark says while his father taught him to live his dreams, Yarra taught him to never give up.

“This School taught me to pursue my skills, to get as much out of them as I could and to use Yarra as a launching pad. I am forever grateful for my education at Yarra”.

In his life and career after Yarra, Mark has shown how Yarra gives our students the confidence to achieve.


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