A proud family tradition for Maurice Sheahan

August 10, 2020

Maurice Sheahan proudly remembers his time at SPC in the 1950s.

Maurie (the 2nd) (SPC 1951-55), pictured right, son Maurice (the 3rd) (SPC 1986-87).

So does his son Maurice, who attended in the 1980s and his father, Maurice, whose enrolment in the 1920s would spark the beginning of a special family tradition over the next half a century.

During that time, three generations of the Sheahan family, each bearing the first name Maurice, have been students at St Patrick’s College.

This was not an uncommon family tradition in days gone by, but it is rarely seen nowadays.

For the Sheahan family, it is a proud legacy and an extra special connection they share with their memories of their time at St Patrick’s College.

The family tradition began with the arrival of Maurice Senior (or Maurice the 1st), who attended SPC between 1920-25.

This was followed by his son, Maurice (the 2nd) from 1951 to 1955, and then his son Maurice (the 3rd) between 1986-87. The family tradition continued with the family’s fourth generation, also named Maurice. But sadly for us, Maurice (the 4th) attends a secondary college in Queensland.

To have such a family legacy is still quite remarkable.

Maurice Sheahan (the 1st) with brothers Frank and Dennis, pictured in the 1923-24 College Annual.

Maurice the 1st attended SPC with his brothers Francis and Dennis and the trio were boarders from Narraport, near Birchip. Maurice was a good musician and played violin and College records show he won the College music prize in 1922.

Maurice also represented SPC in the firsts for both football and cricket and was captain of the College XI and part of the 1923 Ballarat Public Schools premiership team. He was a particularly good cricketer. The fast bowler at the time of the record cricket innings was his first cousin Leo Dillon. Despite his cricketing abilities, Maurice took up the invitation to train with Richmond Football Club instead.

References to Maurice Sheahan’s cricketing prowess in the 1924-25 College Annual.

A poem about Maurice Sheahan’s Leaving Certificate Class, penned by fellow classmates Frank Finnegan and James Murray.

In the College’s 1925 Annual, Maurice is proudly referred to as “our champion and record batting genius. Maurice scored 154 in ’23 before he left. He was also one of the best halfbacks St Pat’s has had.”

Maurice debuted with the Tigers at the age of 23 years in 1929 through until 1936 and became a premiership player in 1932 and 1934, a shown here

As a full back, he played on many great full forwards, including Bob Pratt in Pratt’s record-breaking 150-goal year in 1934. Pratt only managed nine goals in three games against the Tigers, so Maurice must have done his job!

Maurice the 1st or “Maurie” as he was known around the club was part of a famed Richmond backline at the time of Bolger, Sheahan and O’Neill. They were dubbed in the newspapers of the time as “The Three Musketeers”.

Maurie’s family have a scrapbook, proudly pieced together with newspaper clippings from his footy career. In addition to playing for Richmond, he also served as Club Secretary in 1939 and was made a life member that year.

Testament to his footy prowess, Maurie was also named in 2014 in St Patrick’s College’s Greatest Team of 120 Years, shown here

Maurice went to Ballarat Teachers College, and married Eileen (nee O’Loughlan) and together they had four children, Maurice, John, Peter and daughter Noel. Maurie sadly died at the age of 50, in Ballarat.

His namesake, Maurice (the 2nd) attended SPC between 1951-55 and remembers he was the first boarder in McCann House. He boarded for four years from Underbool, near Ouyen, before becoming a day student for a year when his parents bought a pub at Bungaree.

Maurice Sheahan (the 2nd) in his matriculation class photo in the 1955 College Annual.

Maurice was a member of the Sodality of Our Blessed Lady.

Maurice was a prefect in 1955 and member of The Sodality of Our Blessed Lady. He was also the president of the Executive of Holy Name Society and a Purton Oratory finalist in 1953. Maurice still remembers his heat, where he spoke passionately about Bishop Fulton Sheen, the famous American Catholic Archbishop.

“In the final using the same reference book, I chose John Cain Snr – Labour Premier of Victoria – and I finished unplaced. I am sure the adjudicator (Fr W McCunnie), our chaplain, made an unbiased decision,” says Maurice.

Maurice Sheahan (the 2nd) remembers fondly being a Purton Oratory finalist in 1955.

Maurice still remembers clearly his experience in the final of the Purton Oratory in 1955.

Maurice’s mother’s family (the O’Loughlins) gifted the pieta to the College when the College Chapel was being built. Maurice was an altar boy at the first Mass in the new Chapel and he remembers all the altar servers that day were sons of Old Boys.

Maurice also joined the St Vincent de Paul Society at the College in 1953 and it has had lasting connection, as he has continued his association in numerous towns in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland since that time. He is currently a member of the Coolangatta/Tugan conference.

After finishing SPC and whilst living in the family-owned Bridge Hotel at Bungaree, he played football and served as president of the club for a time. In his working life, Maurice has embarked on two long careers.

“One in the CBC Bank which became the National Australia Bank. I was attracted to the job with promises of overseas travel. I worked in the bank for almost 50 years and it has taken me to numerous towns and cities along the Eastern Seaboard – not the international travel I was originally promised,” he said.

“In my early 20s, I was involved in a car accident which put me in hospital for 12 months. The silver lining being the nurse I met and later married, was Ballarat girl, Margaret Maltman. We had four children, Maurice (SPC 1986-87), Gavin, Claire and Martin.

“My second career was with St Augustine’s Primary School in Currumbin Waters on the Gold Coast. I thoroughly enjoyed my 21 years there as part of the school community.

Working as a bursar, Maurice is now retired and enjoys living in the much-warmer climate of Burleigh Waters in Queensland.

“SPC remained influential in my life, for one thing, I remain an active member of the St Vincent de Paul Society since 1953.”

Maurice’s connections with St Vincent de Paul, which began during his time as a student at St Patrick’s College, continue to this day.

Maurice (the 3rd) kept the Sheahan tradition alive with his enrolment at SPC between 1986-87. He remembers being named as the volleyball champion in 1987 and was a strong breaststroke swimmer and a member of the College swimming team.

Maurice Sheahan (the 3rd) in his 1987 class photo.

After finishing SPC, Maurice worked for the Public Service for 10 years prior to travelling and working in the UK for an extended stint, where he met and married his Danish love, Katja Petersen. They married and returned with baby son Maurice (the 4th) when he was just three months old in 2004. They now live on the Gold Coast, where Maurice has worked in the construction industry for the past 15 years in management positions including running his own business.

“SPC has also had a positive impact in Maurice’s life – in addition to the education, his life-long best mate Haydn O’Neale from Echuca, was also at SPC between 1986-87,” continues his father.

Maurice Sheahan (the 4th).

“Maurice (the 4th) is about to turn 16 and in Year 10. His Dad and I had a conversation recently about whether Maurice might go to St Pat’s but it looks like it is time for the line to be broken … I think we would just prefer to keep him around.”

Tell us about your family connections with SPC by emailing oca@stpats.vic.edu.au