Principal’s Message

April 28, 2022

by Principal, Mr Steven O’Connor

Welcome to Term 2

I hope that everyone in the St Patrick’s community enjoyed a restful holiday and a happy and holy Easter. It is always a very happy day when students and staff return to the College for a new term and it was, in this sense, terrific to see everyone back on Tuesday for Term 2.

I formally welcome some new members of staff to the College this term. These staff are:

  • Mr Alex Guevara – who will commence as a Tutor in the Year 12 Study Centre
  • Ms Wendy Sheridan – who will be with us for the next couple of terms covering the long service leave of some teachers (Mr Matt Taylor this term and Mr John Davey in Term 3)
  • Mr Tom Nash – who will teach Health and PE and takes on the role of Rowing Coordinator
  • Mr Jerry Lau – who commenced this week in the role of Head of Music

I am thrilled that the team at SPC now includes these people and I look forward to working alongside them in the future.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Kiera Davidson on her recent appointment as Head of English for the duration of the 2022 school year and acknowledge Joe Magee for his enormous contribution to the department as Head of Faculty, a role he has held since 2014.

I also warmly welcome the following students to the College this term:

  • Alfie Wadling (Year 7)
  • Lachlan Shipcott (Year 8)
  • Jacob Vereker (returning to the College – Year 10)



It was really encouraging to see so many people attend the Dawn service and the later service at the Cenotaph in Sturt Street on ANZAC Day. For the last few years, these important commemorations have been significantly impacted on by COVID, so it was really lovely to see so many – young and old – in attendance. A number of SPC musicians led the Ballarat ANZAC Day March at 10:30 along Sturt Street and I was really proud of how well they did so! Congratulations to these boys for contributing to this important service so professionally and so well! I also wish to thank the Student Council for their attendance and support of this important community event. I was thrilled to be joined by 12 of the 14 members of the Council at the Dawn Service.

The College marked ANZAC Day at an assembly on Tuesday, 26 April. At this assembly, we were joined by members of the Mardling family. Farnel George Mardling (SPC 1903-1904) and James Wilfred Mardling (SPC 1914) were boarders at the College from Port Fairy. Their parents ran the Post Office at Port Fairy and both Mardling brothers enlisted in the second half of 1915, completed their training in Australia and then Egypt and were then shipped to Europe for active service along the Western Front in 1916. It was at this point in France, that the brothers were reunited in the 8th Battalion.

After some months on active service, both brothers were granted leave between 10 September and 29 September 1917. Upon their return, their Battalion was preparing for action at Passchendaele. Both Farnel and James were killed together, along with several of their comrades, on 4 October 1917. Eyewitness accounts reveal what happened:

‘… We had hopped over on the morning … had taken first objective and dug in, and a shell killed Mardling J W who was a Lewis Gunner, and all the rest of the gun crew, including his brother Mardling F G. This was about dinner time …’

‘… On Oct 4th they, Bells and another man, all that were left of a L G [Lewis Gun] team at Passchendaele in a shell hole near to mine with their gun, when about 10am a shell pitched in their hole and killed all four besides putting their gun out of action. They were brothers from Ballarat, about 25/27 both big fine men, one the corporal of the gun.  They were well brought up well educated men professional men or perhaps in a bank. Very much liked and looked up to in the regiment.  What remains there were, were afterwards collected and buried on the spot by the pioneers …’

Farnel George Mardling, aged 31 years, was buried where he lay at Passchendaele and is remembered at the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial.

James Wilfred Mardling, aged 27, was buried at the Oxford Road Military Cemetery, one and a half miles north of Ypres.

At our assembly this week, we remembered the brave and selfless commitment and service of all service men and women in WWI, all other conflicts and peace keeping missions. The moving story of Farnel and James Mardling highlighted the human impact of war on all peoples and in this context, our very own College community. Farnel and James were just like the young men who attend the College today. They are just like the citizens of Ukraine who are fighting to resist the aggression of their Russian invaders. They were courageous and selfless and it is important that as a College community, we commemorate them and give thanks for the contributions they made to ensuring that we live in the Australia we live in today.

They went with songs to the battle

They were young, straight of limb,

True of eye, steady and aglow,

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old,

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,

We will remember them.

  • Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)


Edmund Rice Day

Next Thursday, 5 May, we will celebrate Edmund Rice Day as a community. This is one of the really important days in the life of St Pat’s and provides opportunities for us to gather in communion, to raise awareness and funds for those who are far less fortunate than us and to experience the joy of being member of this place. The day includes a Mass, an assembly, our walkathon, lunch and our talent quest, ‘St Pat’s has talent’!

This is not an optional day and all students are expected to attend Eddie Rice Day! I look forward to another great community day next Thursday!


Mothers’ Day

Mothers’ Day will be celebrated on Sunday, 8 May and I wish all mothers associated with St Pat’s the very best for this day. I am conscious that some in our community have lost their Mums in one way or another. In particular, we remember these people, we give heartfelt thanks for the mothers who have passed away and we pray for those whose relationships have strayed.

The College will conduct a Mass and breakfast for Mothers’ Day on Friday, 6 May and details of these gatherings have been sent to the community. I look forward to seeing lots of boys and mums at the Mass and breakfast on Friday morning!

Happy Mothers’ Day!



As most would be aware, further changes have been made to the COVID restrictions and protocols which have an impact on the College. A letter was sent to all parents and carers earlier this week outlining these but I would like to take this opportunity to further highlight the following:

  • Whilst masks are no longer mandatory at schools, students and staff may choose to wear masks should they wish to whilst at school
  • Masks must still be worn by all people aged above 8 when travelling on public transport (including school buses), taxis and Ubers
  • If a student or staff member is a household contact or household-like contact, they are no longer required to quarantine. They must:
    • Notify the school that they are a household or household-like contact and that they are attending school during the 7-day period.
    • Follow the checklist for COVID contacts.
    • Undertake rapid antigen testing 5 times within the 7-day period.
    • Wear a face mask at school when indoors during the 7-day period if they are aged 8 years or above, unless they have a valid exemption.
    • If symptomatic, stay/return home, take a rapid antigen test, or get a PCR test if RA kit is unavailable.

Once again, welcome to Term 2 everyone. I hope that it is an enjoyable and rewarding term for all.

Mr Steven J O’Connor