Where are they now – Peter Vaughan (SPC 1946-48)
February 18, 2022
The College recently reconnected with Old Collegian Peter Vaughan (SPC 1946-48) who reminisces about his hitchhiking adventure around Australia when he was younger and his fondness for footy and boxing at SPC.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
After leaving St Pat’s I had many jobs and careers. At one stage I hitchhiked around Australia, taking on many jobs from bakers cart driver, factory worker, station hand, railway porter, apprentice carpenter, shearing team hand, tram conductor and office worker. On returning to Melbourne, I became a primary school teacher and married my girlfriend Joanne.
Not being an academic, it took me four years to gain my Leaving Certificate. I had to battle through Teacher’s College and other subjects associated with teaching.
After I retired, I volunteered with Saint Vincent de Paul. I am now in retirement in Wangaratta.
Do you have family ties with SPC?
My father Gerald Vaughan went to St Pat’s in the 1890s. He was a member of one of the original St Pat’s Football teams.
I had three brothers who also went to St Pat’s. My brother Arthur was a member of the 1943 Football Team. He was also a great rower but unfortunately he had a cramp in one losing race much to the disgust of Br O’Malley. My other brothers Joseph and David also attended St Pat’s. Joseph became a doctor in England while David was an accountant with Shell Oil.
What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
My fondest memories of SPC, besides making many friends, I enjoyed the football. In those days, they had competitions (house teams).
I did not make the 1st XVIII as I left early in 1948. However, I played a lot of football after leaving SPC. I played with St Bedes 1st XVIII, St Kilda reserves in the VFL and Sandringham in the VFA. I also coached and played in the country. At one time when I coached in the Mallee, there were four coaches, who all went to SPC.
In my time, boxing was a big sport in SPC. Val Stewart, a middleweight champion, used to teach us boxing on Sunday mornings. I liked boxing and I won a few bouts. In those days, fighting amongst the boys at SPC was very prevalent.
If there was going to be a fight, all the kids would go up on the hill to watch. I was caught for fighting and myself and the other kid got six cuts. Br Dowd had boxing banned due to too many knockouts.
I did a bit of boxing after St Pat’s but I did not find it worthwhile.
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
Br McCarthy (junior teacher). There were two Br McCarthy’s and the junior Br McCarthy had the greatest impact on me. He influenced me in religion and studies. As I mentioned before I was not an academic and Br McCarthy gave me a great example in life, especially in religion.
How has your education shaped your professional life?
My education at St Pat’s laid foundations for religion. I admired the brothers for their deep faith. I still go to Mass every Sunday and I say the rosary. At St Pat’s, I realized that I was not an academic and if I wanted to improve my life, I would have to study hard.
This realization hit me when I had to go to night school and pass subjects at Teacher’s College. Fortunately I had many people helping me on the way like my ex-wife (R.I.P) and many others.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Study and work hard especially at SPC. Combine with sport but remember unless you are a top liner, eg AFL star, your school records are more beneficial.
Take your opportunities and don’t be too disappointed if you miss out. Hardships are a part of maturity. I should know as I have had quite a few.