Where are they now – Brian Pola (SPC 1967-68)

December 5, 2017

The College reconnects with Dr Brian Pola (SPC 1967-68) who shares his interesting life story, his recent work with SPC and commitment to improve the rights of gay people.

Brian Pola.


“After leaving St Patrick’s in 1966 and a confused two years, I started at Latrobe in 1969. I was heavily involved in the anti-Vietnam War and radical- student movement and did three months in Pentridge Prison- in 1972 as a political prisoner. Professionally, I had an up and down teaching career, with positions at Scotch College, ACU, RMIT, Ballarat University and St Patrick’s College. I was awarded a Doctorate in 1988 with a thesis on the Australian Radical Student Movement. In 2017 the university welcomed me back in a public and televised event to celebrate the university’s radical history.

As a very out-gay man my life has been and still is very involved with the rights of gay people from a social justice perspective. I learnt about social justice at St Patrick’s as a Christian, then as a Communist at university. Brother Kelty was influential as a teacher of Roman History.

During the past two years I’ve- worked with (St Patrick’s College headmaster) John Crowley in helping the many survivors of sexual abuse and developing- contemporary methodologies regarding homophobia. The College, its students and staff,- have been courageous in addressing this tragic past and now, in 2017, the College- is happy and strong.

In 2007 I published -Yarrowee: A Radical Life-, a warts and all, drugs, sex, rock n’roll- speculative autobiography, which is available free on-line at brianpola.com

I’m delighted the College is re-invigorating boarding. Boarding at St Patrick’s helped me to grow up and learn what it- means to be a man, not a great man, but a man. Needless to say I’ve never married and my family are my many wonderful friends.”