Principal’s Message

November 12, 2021

by Principal, Mr Steven O’Connor

Remembrance Day

As I write this short article, staff and students in Years 7-10 will gather this morning (Thursday, November 11) to remember those men and women who have served Australia in the military across so many conflicts, particularly in WWI, which ended on Armistice Day 103 years ago on 11 November 1918.

Like many schools at the time of the outbreak of WWI, St Patrick’s saw many of its brave young men enlist for service in the war. Nearly 300 young men from SPC volunteered for service during the course of the war. During the war, the College community and the families of many young men mourned their loss as news of their fate filtered back to Australia at the time. Forty-nine (49) Old Collegians died in active service; most of them in France and Belgium along the Western Front, a number in Turkey (Gallipoli) and others in Egypt, the Palestine and the UK. Thirty-three (33) were awarded military awards or medals, including 7 Military Crosses, 7 Military Medals amongst several others, including Distinguished Service Orders.

WWI or the Great War, as it was often referred to was not ‘great’ and led to approximately 40 million casualties, including nearly 21 million deaths. It was a highly traumatic and tragic period of history. But it is important that we remember and honour the significant courage, commitment and contribution of so many men and women who were involved in the conflict.

If we learn anything from conflict and from history, it should be that as we focus on the future, that we do not fall into the trap of making the same errors which were made by many in the past. And it should be that as a human race, we should respect and honour all, regardless of their cultural or religious backgrounds or heritage.

Ataturk, Commander of the Turkish Fifth Army at Gallipoli wrote the following tribute to the ANZACs killed at Gallipoli:

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore, rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours…you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well’.

And this message of human dignity and love is reflected in the Gospels:

(John 15:12-17) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.


On Remembrance Day, we Honor, remember and give thanks for the many courageous men and women from all countries, who gave their lives in wartime and as a result of war. As we remember the lives that have been lost, let us promise each other to work for the freedom of all who are oppressed in the world today.

Appointment of Assistant Principals for 2022.

I am pleased to advise the College community of the appointment of our new Assistant Principal roles for 2022.

The College engaged the services of Hutton Consulting to assist with the process and was delighted by the high quality of the applications received from both internal and external candidates. Candidates were assessed by the experienced staff at Hutton, completed a first round interview with a senior consultant and then, if shortlisted, participated in interview with the panel at the College.

I am very impressed with the number and calibre of candidates for these positions and am delighted with the outcome. The College has identified key areas of responsibility in these roles and will through the Assistant Principals, continue to strive for excellence and continual improvement with and for our boys in these integral areas.

The four appointments are:

  • Assistant Principal – Mission and Identity: Mr Geoff Brodie

Mr Brodie is well known to the St Patrick’s community where he has done an outstanding job as our Director of Mission. Geoff also has experience as SPC’s Head of Humanities. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Graduate Diploma of Education and Master of Arts (Theological Studies), a Master of Philosophy and he is currently undertaking his Doctorate in Philosophy.


  • Assistant Principal – Learning and Innovation: Ms Carol Roberts

Carol joins us from Ballarat and Clarendon College and is an experienced leader and boys’ educator. With over 20 years’ experience as a teacher, Carol has a demonstrated deep knowledge and commitment to education and more recently has held the roles of Head of Music at Ballarat Clarendon College and at St Paul’s College in Adelaide.

Carol holds both a Bachelor of Teaching (Honours) and a Bachelor of Music whilst having undertaken further study to complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and is a qualified VET trainer and assessor.


  • Assistant Principal – Pastoral Care and Wellbeing: Mr Kevin Robillard

After 12 years at Loreto College, Mr Robillard’s experience includes leadership positions as Director of Student Wellbeing and previous roles as Year Level Coordinator, Head of House and Positive Education Learning Leader. Kevin has completed a Master of Education in Student Wellbeing and is currently undertaking a Master of Educational Leadership (Catholic Educational Leadership) at Australian Catholic University.


  • Assistant Principal – Staff and Culture: Mr Tom Ferguson

Like Geoff Brodie, Mr Ferguson needs no introduction to the St Patrick’s community. Tom is our current Director of Administration with responsibility for school timetabling, managing staffing requirements, subject selection, calendar planning and much more. Tom is undertaking a Master of Educational Leadership and has completed a Graduate Diploma of Technology Education and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment amongst other qualifications.


With the announcement of these appointments, along with the key appointment of Mr Ric Brodrick as the new Deputy Principal, St Patrick’s looks forward to 2022 and beyond with great confidence in the knowledge of the capacity and experience of these leaders and that our College employs staff and leaders of the highest quality.

In addition to these staff, the Leadership team will also include Ms Kathy Prince, Director of Human Resources, Mr Andrew Ballesty, Business Manager and myself.

I am very much looking forward to working with the new Leadership team at St Patrick’s from next year.

 VCE Exams

Many Year 12 students will have by now completed their VCE exams as we publish this edition of The Crest. Some exams will occur on Monday and Tuesday of next week, with the last of our students finishing on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 16.

I am very proud of how our students have responded to the challenges of 2021 and navigated their way through the VCE exams. Well done to all – you should be feeling a great and genuine sense of satisfaction on reaching this milestone!

I look forward to celebrating and honouring this with our Year 12 students and parents at the Valedictory celebration on November 28. Congratulations!

 Mr Steven J O’Connor