Principal’s Message

May 27, 2021

Thursday, May 27, 2021

by Principal, Mr Steven O’Connor

Temporary return to remote and flexible learning from Monday, May 31

As you may be aware the State Government today announced a seven-day lockdown to help combat the growing COVID-19 outbreak. We understand this presents another challenging time for us all and will cause some distress in our community. Your ongoing understanding and support is always greatly appreciated. Having been down this path on three separate occasions we can take the following steps with the confidence that our staff, our students and our parents are equipped to deal with these challenges.

The lockdown will take effect from 11.59pm tonight and is due to be lifted at the same time next week. This will result in a return to remote and flexible learning. In readiness for this, tomorrow (Friday, May 28) will be allocated as a staff planning day with students encouraged to spend this time preparing their own week ahead.

We will commence remote and flexible learning on Monday, May 31 and will plan to continue this for the entirety of the week for boys in Years 7-10. We are planning to welcome Unit 3/4 Classes back on-site on Friday, June 4. A scheduled Year 11 trial GAT will proceed on that day. We will offer on-site supervision for those students whose parents are deemed essential workers or who are classified as being at-risk, from tomorrow. Parents who require their sons to be supervised on-site must register their attendance by filling in the form at this link. Our hope and our intention is to return to in-class learning for all students on Monday, June 7.

For more details regarding the temporary return to remote and flexible learning please click on the below link.

Temporary return to remote and flexible learning from Monday, May 31 – St Patrick’s College Ballarat (

Reconciliation Week

This week the College marked and promoted Reconciliation Week via a number of activities, gatherings and learnings. The significance of reconciliat

ion was promoted strongly amongst the College community and reflects the College’s long-standing commitment to working with and supporting indigenous Australians. I agree with Fr Andy Hamilton SJ when he states that the most significant act or statement from any government or political organisation was Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s formal apology made in 2008. But this year, Reconciliation Week is all about taking action – ‘Don’t Be Sorry – Do Sorry’!


The week commenced with a Mass, smoking ceremony and then dinner for our boarding students, families and staff on Sunday evening. This was well attended and received by the boys and their parents. The College received a beautiful gift of a piece of indigenous art from the James family (Jack – Year 11). This was presented to the College as part of the dinner.

The highlight of the week was our Reconciliation Assembly, which was held on Tuesday, 25 May. The assembly was led by our College Captain, Darcy Williams and Vice-Captain, Jack Sheehan and provided a number of opportunities for some of our first nations students to address the assembly about their stories and why reconciliation is important to them. I was hugely impressed by the students involved and congratulate Corey Bell, Keanu Minniecon, Daniel Spiteri, and Tashaun Wright for their contributions to the assembly. The College was pleased to have Mr Jon Kanoa tell his story to the assembly and then to be interviewed by two indigenous students, Isaac Hucker (Year 12) and Bethany Hucker (Year 12 Loreto College). I thank Jon for his presentation and for sharing his story; it added so much to this year’s Reconciliation Assembly.

All students, staff and visitors were presented with a St Patrick’s College Reconciliation Badge, which the boys will be able to wear on their suitcoat permanently. This was a simple thing to do but it has been received well by all and is an outward sign of the College’s commitment to developing a genuine reconciliation.

Reconciliation Week is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, as a school and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. St Patrick’s, like any school stands on and thrives on its relationships – and the relationships we develop with our First Nations people are some of our most precious and most significant.

And reconciliation is more than words – it does take action. And I am proud of the active approach we have developed as a school. At St Patrick’s we:

  • Acknowledge and celebrate all significant First Nation events
  • We proudly fly the flag
  • We commence all major gatherings with an acknowledgement of country – including assemblies, staff meetings, College Advisory Council meetings, our religious cere
    monies and so on
  • We support the efforts towards reconciliation in all sorts of ways including providing students and staff with a reconciliation badge today
  • We have an official indigenous tie that can be worn throughout culturally significant events and periods – such as NAIDOC Week and Reconciliation Week
  • We have well established indigenous students program and we welcome indigenous students to St Pat’s locally and of course, from across the country
  • We have an Indigenous Office and have employed wonderful staff in this office to support our indigenous boys on their educational journey at SPC
  • We have employed an indigenous trainee in the boarding house to further support our First Nations boys
  • Lastly, our dedicated RAP Committee are meeting regularly to review our Reconciliation Action Plan to ensure that it is up to date and relevant

Further to this, it is planned that we will launch our new Reconciliation Action Plan later this year. All staff continue to participate in regular professional development on cultural issues. It is my hope and intention to enhance the relationship between the College and local elders and indigenous organisations; we will continue to work with our indigenous boys and encourage and prepare them for leadership roles in the College and I hope that we will continue to provide options for indigenous traineeships and employment at the College.

Recent Chess Success

Congratulations to all boys involved in last week’s inter-school Chess competition. I was thrilled to hear that St Patrick’s was the winning school and has therefore made it through to the State Finals! Congratulations to Darcy Williams, Sean McMahon, Sam Hansen, Jack McKenny, Mason Armstrong, Blake Hertog, Addison Crane, Angus Pascoe, Lachlan Wills, Justin Goodison, Ben Collier, Jesse Mattson, Charlton Hand and Harley Passalick. I understand that Justin Goodison (Year 7) was named as player of the tournament last week – well done, Justin!


Mr Steven O’Connor