Headmaster’s Message – October 18, 2018

October 16, 2018

In reply to Br Bill Wilding’s toast to St Patrick’s College at last week’s 125th anniversary celebrations, Headmaster John Crowley delivered the following speech:

Good evening to everyone. What a fantastic occasion for the green, white and blue in bringing together so many Old Boys of the College, with partners, and in such a beautiful setting, to celebrate our rich history as a school. In formally welcoming everyone here tonight on behalf of the current staff, parents and students of St Patrick’s College, I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we stand, the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation, and I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. May we continue to walk on all of the land of our First Nations’ people with respect and care.

And, as I do at the assemblies of our student body, I also acknowledge the many Christian Brothers who have dedicated their lives selflessly to educate and inspire young men in the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice at St Patrick’s College for generations.

Who would have thought, way back in 1858, that the land on which the College now stands would see the establishment of a school, a community, whose such enduring and rich traditions would continue to inspire generations of young men for the next 125 years. -­-­-­-­-­

This was the year when the Tannery Gold Mining Company opened a s-­-­haft on our site. Shortly afterwards, in 1861, the shaft was operated by the Copenhagen Company, and from 1866-1870 by the Inkerman and Durham Junction Company.

Similarly, the Tunbridge family, when strolling through their lush grounds in the 1870’s would never have envisaged the imprint on the landscape that over 20,000 students would make as they walked over every inch of the College site, imbued with a sense of hope and optimism about their futures.

Or the Diocese of Ballarat, who purchased the site in 1887 for -£9000, and later gifting the site with the buildings to the Christian Brothers, who opened St Patrick’s College in 1893, whose vision, I am sure, could never have foreseen the growth of a such enriching and extensive faith filled community that has- strived to make the Gospel of Jesus a living presence in the lives of so many.

And of course, those very first students who attended on the first day of 1893: 15 boarders and nine day boys – what would they make of the 1400 boys and 200 Staff who stroll through the front gates each and every day, together with the new boarding precinct, the new Whelan Food Technology Centre, the beautifully designed Wilding Wing, our inspiring Indigenous Program and the incredible array of buildings and facilities now in place at the College?

One thing is absolutely certain I am sure they would be proud of their old school.

Recently, the College community commenced work on a new strategic plan. We asked a simple question to all members of our community, including our boys: who are we are SPC in 2018? What are the Foundational Statements that speak to what we stand for? What inspires us? What gives us life and joy?

I want to share one of these Foundational Statements with you tonight, one that speaks to the legacy that each of you here tonight have gifted to this great school.

-We want all boys to help shape our living College community, to strengthen and be enriched by our Catholic faith and heritage and our great College traditions.-

Tonight, here is this space and at this time,- the authors of those traditions, the Headmasters, Deputy Headmasters, staff, parents and Old Collegians, whose toils and efforts and vision have built the St Patrick’s College of 2018, are sitting right in front of me. We, the current community of St Patrick’s College exist because of your story. We stand on your shoulders. And so, on behalf of the College community, we say humbly, and with the deepest gratitude, thank you. –

I would like to acknowledge the incredible work of our Development Office – Paul Nolan, Lorrie Liston and Rachel Bryant, who have done such a superb job putting tonight together. And to the OCA Committee, who work tirelessly to support each of you in continuing to connect with St Patrick’s College and to provide opportunities for many more young men to attend our great school. Thank you for the gift you have given us tonight.

And finally, if I could ask you all to please join me in offering Grace.

In the name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit,

God of infinite beauty and love,

We gather tonight as a faith community inspired by the charism of Blessed Edmund and in the good news of the risen Christ.

Alight with the flame of your presence amongst us, we give thanks for the community of St Patrick’s -“ past, present and future.

May we continue to be people who unite others around us in love, peace and joy.

My we always provide an education for boys that is rigorous and hope-filled, one where all students are reminded of their call to use their gifts to improve the lives of others who are wounded and vulnerable.

May we always give thanks for the work of the Christian Brothers and the multitude of committed lay staff – in seeking to offer an education to young men at SPC which challenges the mind and heart to be people of the Gospel.

We give thanks for all who have prepared our food tonight and of those whose vision has made our celebration possible.

All of this we offer to you, loving God, with joyful and appreciative hearts


You can listen to Mr Crowley’s speech at this link: https://soundcloud.com/making-media/spc-john-crowley-mixdown-1?in=making-media/sets/st-patricks-college-125-years