His time at CBC

I still remember vividly where I sat in that first class at the rear of the classroom which adjoined the tennis court which ran alongside Victoria Avenue. In this first class I was placed in a group comprising Dennis Rees, Gulio Aiberti and John Murphy. I was a natural fit with the first two as we had been classmates back at St Josephs. Many a shirt and thigh were the target of fountain pen ink sprays and paper pellets respectively in that first year.

Perhaps the highlight of that first year was the visit to our classroom of a contingent of Collingwood footballers which included the legendary Bob Rose, Thorold Merrett and Frank Tuck. Their presence was due to the efforts of Brother Morgan - a one eyed Collingwood supporter if ever there was one - and Frank Murphy (father of John) who had been in the Collingwood teams which won four consecutive premierships from 1927.

I was a reasonable student who engaged actively in the life of the College. Cadets, where I rose to the rank of Cadet Under Officer, debating and participation at various times in athletics, cricket, football and tennis meant school days were busy. My appointment as a College Prefect in 1964 was a source of particular pride.

After CBC

Post- school, I attended the University of Western Australia (UWA) and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education. In the four years I was at UWA I became a regular member of the Claremont Teachers College football teams in the amateur competition and was the inaugural student President in the new Secondary Teachers College in 1968.

My first teaching appointment was to Pingelly District High School and this was followed by two years as a national serviceman in the Australian Army. The bulk of this time was spent as a sergeant in the Royal Australian Army Education Corps in New Guinea.

On my return to Australia I went back to work with the Education Department of WA and spent time at Morley, Norseman, Manjimup and Lockridge and two years writing curriculum materials at the then recently established Isolated Schools Matriculation Scheme. During this period I completed a Bachelor of Economics degree and co-authored a workbook which was widely used in Australian schools in the teaching of Economics.

In 1981 I began a career in Catholic education when I was appointed as the first lay Deputy Principal of Aquinas College, Manning. This appointment was followed by a short period in the Catholic Education Office of WA and then appointments as Principal of Kildare College, Holden Hill in South Australia (5 years) and Prendiville Catholic College, Ocean Reef (12 Years). The final two years of my time in Catholic education were spent at Newman College, Churchlands as the administration officer during that school's amalgamation process.

His greatest achievement

Others may choose to judge my greatest achievement in my chosen vocation but I like to think that my greatest achievements have been as a husband (48 years and counting) and as the father of three wonderful children, each of whom has their own distinct personality and are fine citizens and parents.

A special mention

It is hard to assess the role that role of CBC Perth and Trinity played in my development and life but they always gave witness to the role of parents in all College activities.

Brothers "Tony" Kelly and John Carrigg - in addition to others - were influential at important times of my life - none more so than in my staying at school and completing Year 12 and continuing a role in schools and education over a forty year period. Towards the end of Year 11 I was about to leave school and take up a trainee linesman role with the then Post Master General department. Believing this decision was not in my best interests the aforementioned Brothers drove to my parents' home and made it clear in no uncertain terms that they felt this was not a good decision. The result: my plans to leave school at the end of Year 11 were short lived. Their intervention and expression of confidence in my ability, I always considered a blessing.

I have many fond memories of life at CBC/Trinity which continue to play a role in my life. Trinity was the scene of my date with my now wife on March 15, 1968 and subsequent marriage in the College chapel in 1970, I was a member of the first premiership winning team of the Trinity Old Boys Football Club in the amateur league, club captain in 1974, member of the College board and Chief Supervisor of the WACE examinations for the past ten years.

Changes and developments

Over the 60 years that I have had a connection with the College, I have witnessed many changes; some which come to mind include:

  • Building and demolition shortly afterwards of the new classroom and science block on the Terrace site
  • Movement of the College to the East Perth site and attendant changes: new name, new uniforms, new war cry, new faction system, the development of the bare site and the creation of a school culture based more explicitly on the charism of Edmund Rice
  • Decline in the number of Christian Brothers and the subsequent increase in the number and role of lay staff and the employment of female staff
  • Participation in the Public Schools Association competition
  • Broadening of the College curriculum offering including the provision of facilities for students with special needs
  • Development of a class leading Music program under the initial guidance of Brothers Gerry Crooks and Vince Vasille and more recently under the leadership of Dr. Rob Braham
  • Disappearance of the Air Force and Army cadets
  • Development of a strong and effective service and vocational education programs

I took from my years as a student at CBC Perth and Trinity a very clear understanding of how Catholic boys and men ought to behave - thanks largely to that little book "The Christian Gentleman" and the example of the Christian Brothers. Their lives were one of sacrifice and dedication in times when resources were more scarce than they are today. One of my abiding memories is taking home bags of black socks belonging to the Brothers, and badly in need of repair, for my grandmother to darn. She used to quip she was putting darns on darns.

My understanding(s) of the role of Christ as an exemplar and the teachings of the Gospels was to come in the years after leaving school and which informed my work as educator, parent and citizen.