Researching the origins of the SPC War Cry

June 16, 2021

The SPC War Cry has been handed down from generations to generations of young and budding St Patrick’s College students.

The non-sensical lyrics of the song are taught to incoming students at Year 7 school camps, sung with gusto by current students and continue to be still remembered and heartily sung by Old Collegians, 10, 20 and 50 years after leaving the halls of St Patrick’s.

Researching the College Chronicles, Annuals and the History and Heritage Book, it appears SPC’s War Cry originated as far back as the 1920s, with College publications first referring to the wording around 1928-1929.

Any previous publications make no mention of the song.  The reference prior to 1928 in the 1927 College Annual makes mention of the chant “Who are, who are, who are we? We are, we are SPC”.  Unfortunately, the originator of the chant or why its worded is unknown.

History tells us that around the 1880s chants were used by football fans. And prior to this ‘Battle- Cry’ were vocalised to intimidate the enemy. And ’Gathering-Cry’, a summons to war.

College Archivist Halina Sztynda has pieced together the following references from various College publications and archives, see below, to show some of the origins of the much-loved song.


This is the first known reference, published in the 1927-28 College Annual.

It is noted in the College Annual from 1928-29 that “the ‘war cry was lustily rendered” by SPC’s First XVIII footballers during their bus trip to Colac to play a ‘friendly’ football match against Colac CYMS.

It appears there may have been some confusion surrounding the wording of the War Cry, as described in the popular SPC publication, College Chronicle, published for students in May, 1937.

Consequently, the wording of the SPC War Cry is printed in full, for the first known time, in the College Chronicle in 1938.

The War Cry becomes a popular tune for SPC students.

The following excerpts are published in the History and Heritage 1893-1993 – St Patrick’s College, Ballarat book, written by Br P.C Naughtin CFC.