Old Boys and boarders bond in special virtual chat

September 11, 2020

In an exciting new experience, seven Old Boys recently chatted with our current boarders as they bonded over their shared experiences of boarding at SPC.

Old Boys, Allan McKinnon (SPC 1966-69), Alan Jubb (SPC 1954-59), Paul Squires (SPC 1981-86), Michael Ewing (SPC 1991-93), Dominic Bushell (SPC 2006-08), Gordon Hutcheon (SPC 2006-10) and Patrick Farnan (SPC 2010-12), chatted with about 30 current boarders, who have remained in the SPC boarding house in Ballarat during the second COVID-19 lockdowns.

Old Boy Allan McKinnon (SPC 1966-69) and current president of the Old Collegians Association, chats with current boarders, Ben Howard (Year 12), Dwayne Hayes (Year 8), Lleyton Priest (Year 12), Richard Abbott (Year 9) and Tylane Campbell (Year 7).

Many stories and memories were shared in the special chat session, which took place in either a virtual online forum or by mobile phone.

The Old Boys enjoyed the opportunity to share what life was like for them as boarding students at SPC from their respective school years, dating back to the 1960s, through to the most recent years.

Current boarders, Riley Turner (Year 11), Eoghan Purser (Year 8), Mikey Raggett (Year 7) and Ethan Councillor (Year 12) chat with Old Boys Dominic Bushell (SPC 2006-08) and Alan Jubb (SPC 1954-59).

Likewise, our current boarders happily exchanged their own stories of boarding life, and their own unique experience of boarding during a worldwide pandemic. It was also a wonderful opportunity for our current boarders to talk about home, with some joining SPC from very remote communities interstate.

Our current boarders were also interested to learn more about where life has taken our Old Collegians in their years after school. Old Boys enjoyed sharing their life stories and career paths, how they benefitted from a SPC education, as well as sharing their own messages and advice to our young students.

The overwhelming message from Old Boys to their younger peers was to simply enjoy their time at school.

When organising the special chat session, we asked our Old Collegian community to share a special anecdote with the boarders of today. Old Boys were quick to respond. Their responses ranged from funny memories to great advice for our young men and we thought we would share them with you:

  • “Live life to the full. Humility, kindness and respect are wonderful attributes. We are going to have our bad days. It is all about how we deal with those days that will see all of us endure and be a stronger person” – Chris Minchinton (SPC 1968-71)
  • “Don’t take anything for granted. Get involved and make every day count.” – Tomas Gall (SPC 2008-11)
  • “Every Sunday night instead of cooked meals, we went to the Pleasant Park shops, and had fish and chips or hamburgers, opposite the City Oval” – Gavan Johnston (SPC 1988-93)
  • “Don’t push the limits and get punished with a walk-through lunch! Nothing worse than a lukewarm pie and having to stand in a Ballarat winter with the day students.” – David Morris (SPC 2011-12)
  • “Mateship, the time at SPC was amazing. Being a boarder gave the best opportunity to get to know your mates, some of which are still my best mates. Being a boarder gives access to so many possibilities, use the time wisely, you will not know how fortunate you are.” – Chris Bedggood (SPC 1988-93)
  • “I have many memories, from food experiences right through to playing with the 1st XVIII Football team and athletics.” – Allan McKinnon (SPC 1966-1969)
  • “Choir practice, snot blocks, jelly eating and general competitive eating. Scum bags (lunch bags), being kicked out in the snow at night and wrestling in the Purton dorm.” – Michael Ewing (SPC 1991-93)
  • “Rugby passing our boarding master’s watermelon, which was subsequently dropped and split in half.” – Dominic Bushell (SPC 2006-08)
  • “The ability to use the positive and negative influencing people around you, to help define and change the way you view and see yourself in the world for the better.” – Patrick Farnan (SPC 2010-12)
  • “First weekend at boarding school with 35 of us in the dormitory and we thought the Brothers were at mass on Sunday morning. We were VERY wrong.” – Paul Squires (SPC 1981-86)
  • “When I was a boarder, we used to absolutely smash loaves of bread and cheese through the toaster every recess. One slice of bread with a square of cheese through the conveyor. You had to be careful to catch it before it slid down the back though, or you’d be stuck cleaning the cheese off the tray.” – Gordon Hutcheon (SPC 2006-10).


Share some of your memories of boarding life with SPC by emailing us at oca@stpats.vic.edu.au