Where are they now - Damian Goss (SPC 1953-62)
author: Lorrie Liston
The College recently reconnected with Damian Goss (SPC 1953-62) who started as a shy seven-year-old and spent 10 years boarding at SPC. He says the experience taught him about being part of one big family and the paramount and enduring importance of keeping in contact, caring for each other and valuing each other.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
Family health and business issues prevented me doing my last year of school education at SPC. After 10 years as a boarder, I became a “bus kid” travelling from Sorrento to Padua College, Mornington. A very different experience with girls in the class. Following completing Year 12, my first job was as a junior administration officer at the Shire of Hastings. I lived with the Danaher family during the week and back home at Sorrento at the weekend. Their sons John and Brian were SPC students too.
During this time, I attended night school at RMIT, at least two nights a week, to achieve the required qualification necessary to become a town clerk. I picked up a senior administration officer’s job at the Shire of Flinders and found travelling to work from Sorrento to Dromana easier. After having good experience there, I managed to pick up an appointment as the assistant town clerk with Mildura City Council. On receipt of my qualification, I was promoted to deputy. In 1979 I was appointed Town Clerk/Chief Executive Officer.
When Local government restructure commenced in 1994, senior staff were made aware that there was little chance of retaining existing positions. At that point I started keeping my eyes open for provincial city jobs and was fortunate to be appointed as the first CEO of the new Warrnambool City Council. At the conclusion of my five-year contract I decided, with my wife Helen’s agreement, to cease full-time employment. Given the very heavy involvement in state, regional and national groups covering local government, valuation, sewerage authorities, art galleries, performing art centres, sale yards, airports, caravan parks, historical and tourist parks, regional libraries, local government purchasing authority, which most of the time we met at weekends and not very often in the home town.
Over the years I managed to find myself on the boards of many of these and in a few cases I held additional roles of either secretary or chairman. This meant that Helen had the role of bringing up our five children, more often than not on her own, as well as being expected to attend official functions, particularly visiting VIP’s such as Governors, Premiers etc.
On leaving a full-time position, I have in the earlier time filled in management positions at the Shire of Moyne and the City of Wyndham.
On the side, I put in time with service clubs such as Apex and Rotary. In more recent times I have had the wonderful experience of being a palliative care volunteer. I recently completed my role as a joint Deputy Chair of the Warrnambool and District Hospice Committee, an organisation that has been established to assist those who wish to spend the end of their lives living at home, not in hospital.
Helen and I have had five wonderful children, with great partners and we have 11 grandkids and two step grandchildren.
Our son Bryan was the only one of the three boys to go to SPC in 1990-2 and he managed to become Vice Captain of the 1st XVIII Football team, bow in the winning 1992 Head of the Lake Rowing Crew and in the Leadership group.
What are your favourite memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
Over 10 years there were so many. Starting off as the “school pet” having just turned seven years old and probably the youngest in the school, being looked after by Brothers Wilson, O’Malley, Tuck, Senior Boarders and Day Boys who invited me to their homes and bringing special snacks to supplement our boarding diet. This progressed throughout the 10-year journey. This was topped off with special competitive sports days against the other Ballarat schools.
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
Again, being there over a 10-year journey, there were a number. It is hard to separate them. Brothers Wynne, Tuck, Delahunt, Williams and O’Malley were determined to turn us young people into well balanced, reliable young men who would make a real contribution to our respective communities. Br O’Malley’s fantastic memories of past students, where they came from, their achievements, at school and after, school history and his development of teamwork stand out.
How has your education shaped your professional life?
I strongly believe the investment in communication, teamwork, public speaking and balance in everything I undertook, have been primary elements in assisting me in obtaining the various positions I achieved. It certainly helped me to select the work teams that I am so thankful for.
How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?
I am the third of nine kids in our family, and I believe that the 10 years of living with a vast mixture of people from a massive range of backgrounds gave me a sense of how we are all one family. The need to keep in contact, care for each other and value each other has been paramount. Now with five children, their partners, 11 grandkids plus two extras, I have an incredibly gifted life.
If you could pass on a message to the students of today, what would it be?
Make the most of every opportunity, communicate clearly and contribute to your community in any way you can. Don’t be a seat warmer saying negative things in the background, be part of the solution and you will never fail.