Where are they now - Noel Forster (SPC 1963-68)
author: Lorrie Liston
The College reconnects with Noel Forster (SPC 1963-68) who came from Perth to attend our special St Patrick’s Day Luncheon in March, marking 125 years of education at St Patrick’s College. Noel share his fondest memories of his time as a day student at SPC in the 60s.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
After leaving St Patrick’s, I got a job as a trainee at an insurance company in Ballarat. During my time there, I was able to complete tertiary education, part-time, at the company’s expense. After travelling for a few months in 1977, I found a job at a corporate insurer in Melbourne which was to set my path for the next 40 years working for insurance companies and brokers in corporate and management roles until my retirement in 2017.
I married a Perth girl, Melanie (Loreto Convent, Eldoret, Kenya 1959-1968) in 1979 and we moved there not long after. We have two sons, Michael and Andrew, who are aged in their early 30s, but there are no grandchildren yet as they and their partners, Rene and Emily, are still working their way up the corporate ladder.
Since retirement, I have kept myself busy being a house husband, going to the gym daily and occasionally driving former Melbourne trams at a tourist park in Perth.
What are your favourite memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
As a day ‘rat’, being able to escape every afternoon, walking past the boarders’ dining room where the smell of boiled cabbage pervaded the atmosphere. The wise cracks by Br T G O’Brien. The day someone (who shall remain anonymous) let off jumping jacks at school assembly. Treats at the tuck shop (not allowed now, too much sugar).
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
Br G Francis, who was so passionate about American History. It has led me to enjoy several trips to the USA over the years. Br O V Wynne in Form 1, who was a great teacher, although he didn’t set a good example by smoking down the back of the bus on school excursions (!) and Br T G O’Brien for his acerbic wit and the love/hate relationship we had during the footy season (his beloved Essendon and my beloved Melbourne).
How has your education shaped your professional life?
I battled a bit with some subjects but persevered which led me to believe, if you first don’t succeed, then try again. Never give up, it will pay dividends.
How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?
My time at SPC taught me to be up front and honest with people. In Rotary, there are guiding principles called the Four Way Test. These principles are Truth, Fairness, Goodwill and Better Friendships and Beneficial. I think being educated at SPC sets principles such as these in motion.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Respect your peers and in turn, you will earn their respect.