Where are they now - Michael Ryan (SPC 1954-59)
author: Lorrie Liston
The College reconnects with Michael Ryan (SPC 1954-59) who continues to work part-time in building and construction law at the age of 75 and fondly remembers Brothers Maloney, Ulner and O’Malley during his time at SPC. Michael is pictured with his wife Rani on their 46th wedding anniversary at Lake Maggiore in Italy.
“I remember my time at St Patrick’s very fondly. I was there from 1954 to 1959 after coming up from St Alipius Primary School. Both my older and younger brothers, Alan and Paul were also at St Patrick’s.
Brother Maloney (Mouse) made a great impact on me in Year 8. He taught me to straighten up and fly right. But the fondest memories I have would be shared with many others – those of Brother O’Malley (Bill). He would start religion period and make an effort, but within a few minutes we’d be talking football.
Also Brother Ulner in 1959, my matriculation year, was a person who commanded great respect.
I still recall the deep shock the class felt when we arrived at school one Monday morning to be told that he had died unexpected over the weekend. We all tried to live up to his standards in his memory.
I was a sergeant in the cadets and my platoon commander was George Pell. There is a picture of us in the 1959 school magazine.
My message to today’s students would be to be aware of the great history and traditions of the school and make an effort every day to live up to those standards.
I went to work as a Clerk of Courts in Ballarat starting in December 1959. At that time I did not want to go to university even though I had a Commonwealth Scholarship. In 1965 I left this job and commenced a full-time Law Degree at Melbourne University earning my way with weekend and vacation jobs.
At the end of that year I got another Commonwealth scholarship and was able to earn enough, with the mature student allowance, to take up residence at Newman College – where some of my erstwhile classmates were finishing off their studies.
After doing articles with Frank Galbally in 1969 I went to practice in Wangaratta. I had met my wife at a Newman tutorial and she had graduated the same year. We were married in June of 1970. We came back to Melbourne in 1972 and I worked in Footscray until I took up a partnership in a Mitcham law firm in 1974 where I remained for 30 years. During this time my wife, Rani, did not practice law, but instead became a marriage and family counsellor for over 25 years.
I specialised in building and construction law, and after retiring from the firm, I still consult within this area of the law on one day per week. I will be 76 in July and I guess it may soon be appropriate to hang up my boots.
We had four children. We lost one in a farm accident in 1983. I don’t want to brush over that. I’ll just say that for some years after that I thought I would never smile again. We came through it as a couple and our children went on to thrive. Our eldest daughter is a specialist gastroenterologist married to a cardiologist and they have four daughters. Our second daughter is a lawyer with the Department of Education married to a senior public servant and they have two daughters and a son. Our son is managing director of a national public relations firm and is married to a designer and they have two boys. We have a farm which I actively manage. I also paint in oils.
I was very much saddened recently to hear of the deaths of two of my classmates, Kevin Scully (SPC 1954-58, PY1959) and Ian Slockwitch (SPC 1950-60). I see little of any other classmates, although we had a great night, at the school in 2009 to celebrate 50 years since leaving St Patrick’s.”