Phil Nagle speech at College apology

June 27, 2017

The following is a full transcript of the speech delivered by Old Collegian Phil Nagle on June 27, 2017 which formed part of the ceremony around the College’s apology to those affected by child sexual abuse and to mark the opening of the reflective garden and monument.

A full video of the ceremony can be seen at this link

Today is another important step in the right direction of my journey through life as a survivor.

As we all know and acknowledge what happened to myself and other survivors cannot be changed or fixed.

During the 1970s I was a boarder at St Pat’s for five years and I couldn’t get away from the place fast enough. I left in 1980 and didn’t come back until 2015 – 35 years later.

2015 was a game changer for me. After the Royal Commission sat in Ballarat the student body from St Pat’s penned an open letter and it was published in the Ballarat Courier.

I met with the St Pat’s lads who penned that letter. To Kelsey Gannon, James McKinnon and Jacob Hopper, thank you. This was the first real sign that St Pat’s truly cared and that they were on the front foot in dealing with the past.

St Pat’s, under the guidance of John Crowley, continue to do this today.

In life you will always be judged and measured on what you did, but moreso you will be remembered and measured on what you did about it.

So here we are today where two very important things are happening.

The opening of the reflective garden – a permanent structure which will be a legacy that will endure through time as a true recognition of what happened in the past. Somewhere to reflect going forward into the future.

And an apology, which we have just heard.

As we all know, it takes courage and guts to say sorry, in particular when you are apologising for something you didn’t actually do – to apologise for an act in time that you inherited. A truly admirable and tremendous gesture.

So, as my journey continues I would just like to say personally to St Pat’s and to John Crowley that I accept your apology. Thank you.

A full transcript of the apology delivered by Headmaster John Crowley can be found at this link

A full transcript of the speech delivered by College Captain Mitch Tuddenham can be found at this link