Principal’s Message

March 18, 2021

by Principal, Mr Steven O’Connor

St Patrick’s Day Celebrations

I was thrilled to participate in this year’s celebrations to mark the feast day of St Patrick, the patron Saint of the College. As a Catholic community, it is important that we gather regularly in communion in the Eucharist and we were blessed to have Bishop Paul Bird celebrate the St Patrick’s Day Mass at the College. I am grateful for the enormous amount of work that went into preparing the Mass and I thank Mr Geoff Brodie, Miss Anne-Marie Driscoll and the Mission Team for their leadership in this.

I was indeed humbled to be commissioned as the new Principal of St Patrick’s College by Bishop Paul and members of the College community at the end of the St Patrick’s Day Mass. I am honoured to be leading and contributing to this great school and was encouraged and inspired by the pledges that formed an important part of the commissioning service. I pray that God may always guide and bless me in my role as Principal and seek the prayerful support of the wider College community in this.

I also wish to thank Mrs Elizabeth Ryan and Mr Paul Nolan for the tremendous work they did in preparing the various gatherings and services across St Patrick’s Day. Many other staff contributed to the day and I thank them for the care they took to ensure that it was such a special day of celebration!

St Patrick’s has many strengths but to me, one of its greatest strengths is its students. The College exists to serve the educational needs of our boys and to walk the journey with our young men is a great honour and privilege. I am grateful to the boys for their welcome and endorsement of me at this week’s service but also, as they go about their daily routines and business. Their enthusiasm and energy is magnificent and I thank them for adding to the joy of the College community through this.


Music Camp

Last weekend the College conducted a Music Camp at Cave Hill Creek, near Beaufort. It has been brilliant that in 2021 we have been able to revert to a normal routine, including camps and other special activities. I was delighted to attend the concert to end the camp on Sunday afternoon out at Cave Hill Creek. It is a beautiful setting and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the various ensembles as they performed pieces to the parents and friends who had gathered in the idyllic setting. I was very impressed to hear as the pieces were introduced that many of them had only been learnt and rehearsed across the weekend of the camp – well done, boys!

I take this opportunity to thank Ms Fiona Wilson – Head of Music, Ms Katrina Bird, Mr Roger Knight and the instrumental staff who gave up their weekends to provide this wonderful opportunity to the boys. I thought it was a great success and I also thank the parents who supported the camp.

Well done and congratulations to all involved!


Student Achievements:

I am thrilled to acknowledge the following student achievements from the last few weeks:

  • Year 12 student Kacee Kirwan-Hamilton continues to excel at Golf where he plays off a handicap of plus one and recently shot an incredible score of 65 at the famed Royal Melbourne Golf Club. Well done, Kacee!
  • Year 10 student Matthew O’Brien has won a gold medal and set a Victorian record in the boy’s Under 16 400m event at the State Track and Field Championships in Melbourne last weekend. Matthew ran a time of 51.97sec to beat the previous Victorian best by 0.8 seconds. His time meant he has qualified to compete in both the upcoming Stawell Gift events as well as the National Track and Field Championships in Sydney.
  • Year 10 student Fletcher Burger and Year 11 student Alex Molan have been selected in the Victorian Country Under18 Basketball team for the 2021 Australian Junior Championships in April.
  • The following current and former students have been selected in the final Greater Western Victoria Rebels squad for the 2021 season: Sam Butler, Charlie Molan, Josh Gibcus, Jye Lockett, Blake Scott, Fraser Marris, Nick Hodgson, Kai Lohmann, Jack Bambury, Flynn Loader, Paddy Simpson, Isaac Lovison and Nick Cushing.
  • In addition to this, the following students have been selected in the final Greater Western Victoria U17 Rebels squad for the 2021 season: James Clark, Jessie Cairns, James van Es, Alex Molan and Josh Sparkman – congratulations, boys!
  • The first round of DAV Debating kicked off recently at Ballarat Grammar. A big congratulations to all students, especially Joel Ballesty and Bailey McQuie who participated in their very first debate. The Year 12s won against Clarendon and the Year 11s went down to a strong Grammar team.
  • Year 7 student James Simone won a Gold and a Bronze medal at the Victorian Karate Titles recently. James took out the state title in the 12 and 13 year old category, under 50kg Kumite (Fighting) event and bronze in the Kata (Karate form) event.
  • Year 9 student Caleb Conduit and his father will be taking part in a fundraising bike ride called Ride4Rescue next month. It is an “off-the-beaten-track” charity mountain bike ride from Canberra to the top of Mount Kosciusko. The duo will cycle over 300kms in four days through some of the most scenic terrain in the Australian High Country.  Caleb’s aunty is the founder of the Blossom project which organises the Ride4Rescue.  It aims to raise funds to educate and support young women in Vanuatu in relation to unwanted pregnancies and general safety. Caleb and his father aim to raise $3000 between them to be able to enter their team. Well done and good luck, Caleb!
  • Year 9 student Archie Caldow who ran a personal best time of 4min6.27sec to win gold in the Under 16 1500m title at the Victorian Track and Field Championships in Melbourne recently. Well done, Archie on taking your sixth State Championship!
  • Year 10 student Frazer Carnes has been named Young Citizen of the Year for the Pyrenees Shire in honour of his continued amazing achievements in his sport of Woodchopping. Well done, Frazer!


The College Swim team performed very strongly at the recent BAS Swimming Championships. The team finished a very close second to a strong team from Ballarat and Clarendon College and I know that Ms Louise Macquire and all the staff involved were very proud of their efforts. Notable individual performances are from the following swimmers who dedicate many days and hours in the pool:-

  • Blake Scott, Year 7, swam in all events possible and won his 12/under A Breaststroke
  • Eoghan Purser, Year 9, won 15/under Medley relay, 14/under A Backstroke and 2nd in Freestyle
  • Angus O’Keefe, Year 10, won 15/under Medley relay, 50m Butterfly,2nd A Backstroke B Freestyle and Freestyle Relay
  • Nathan Louw, Year 10, won 15/under Medley Relay, A Breaststroke, 2nd A Freestyle, won Freestyle Relay
  • Justin Ishii, Year 11, won 15/under Medley Relay, B Backstroke, C Freestyle, 21/under Freestyle Relay
  • Bailey McQuie, Year 11, 2nd in A Open 100m Freesyle, won Senior Medley, 21/under A Freestyle Relay, 2nd B 21/under Breaststroke
  • Liam Wright, Year 12, won Senior Medley Relay, 21/under A Backstroke, B Freestyle, A Freestyle Relay
  • Nick Hodgson, Year 12, won Senior Medley Relay, A Freestyle Relay, 2nd in 21/under A Breaststroke
  • Darcy Williams, Year 12, won Senior Medley Relay, 21/under B Freestyle Relay, C Freestyle

Our 1st IV Rowing crew performed strongly last weekend at Nagambie winning the School IV comfortably over rival crews. The crew heads to the National Rowing Championships in Tasmania on Sunday morning where they will contest the Schools IV, the Men’s U19 IV and the U19 VIII with the Mercantile Rowing Club. I wish all members of the crew: Tom Foley, Jake Polkinghorne, Austin Reinehr, Angus Murnane and Edward Peucker and the Director of Rowing, Mr Brendan Scott all the very best for the Championships!

I end my article reflecting on the amazing efforts and achievements of these students and on the joys expressed as a community this week on St Patrick’s Day. With humility and sincerity, I offer this prayer for the St Patrick’s College community:

St. Patrick’s Prayer:

May the Strength of God pilot us.

May the Power of God preserve us.

May the Wisdom of God instruct us.

May the Hand of God protect us.

May the Way of God direct us.

May the Shield of God defend us.

May the Host of God guard us

Against the snares of the evil ones,

Against temptations of the world.

May Christ be with us!

May Christ be before us!

May Christ be in us,

Christ be over all!

May Thy Salvation, Lord,

Always be ours,

This day, O Lord, and evermore. Amen.


Mr Steven O’Connor