Where are they now – Leo Freeman (SPC 1968-70)
October 26, 2021
We recently reconnected with Old Collegian Leo Freeman (SPC 1968-1970), who has kindly permitted the College to share his story, which was published in a reunion book produced by the Class of 1970 earlier this year. The cohort was due to celebrate their 50-Year Reunion at the College, however their celebrations have been sadly rescheduled to early 2022 due to the ongoing COVID lockdowns and restrictions.
Leo, or Gus, as he is known to many, was actively involved in many facets in school life as a boarder at SPC, particularly football. Leo aspired to making the First XVIII Football Team, and indeed made the team in 1968, 1969 and 1970. He was also a member of the BPS First XVIII Football team and enjoyed tennis as well. A nasty king-hit sadly ended his successful footballing career. Leo spent his working career in banking and lending and is now retired in his childhood home area of Koroit.
Years at SPC: 1968-1970
Status at SPC: Boarder
Family Situation: Married 45 years to Kathy (Maslin)
Children – Natalie, Chelsea, Rebecca, Nathan and Nicholas.
Grandchildren – Angus, Maslin, Reuben, Victoria, Spencer, Paddy.
Current Occupation: Retired/Part of Dad’s Army potato pickers.
Post Secondary Education: 40 years in the Commonwealth Bank. Two years in Melbourne (lending), 38 years in Warrnambool – 36 in the lending field.
Personal History: Football – I was lucky enough to play in a Premiership team but was king hit in a game and that was when I said goodbye to playing football.
Ongoing interest in beef cattle. We have a modest holding around Koroit, initially with cows and calves, but of late we have crossed over to steers.
Supported our boys through their football playing, being on committees.
Parish Finance Committee for quite a few years.
During potato harvesting season around Koroit, I am part of what they call the Dad’s Army team (we are all over the age of 70).
One truck driver arrived to get his load and was most concerned that there weren’t any workers to load him. “Where’s your men, I need to get loaded.”
“No worries,” pipes up an elderly gentleman, “We’re it”.
“Where’d you get this lot from?” the truckee said.
Quick as you like, one fella said “No worries, they just ring up the old folk’s home, ask who wants to get on the bus, and here we are”.
Best Memory of St Pat’s: From day one, I was welcomed and accepted as part of the College community. Academic challenges were realised very quickly. As a matter of fact, the first night of boarders study awakened me to the fact that I didn’t know how to study at all. When I looked forward (at study time), all students had their heads down. Then when I looked behind, I saw the same thing. I wondered what they were doing (studying perhaps?).
Coming from a school of 13 mixed sex pupils to a couple of hundred male boarders was a big eyeopener for me.
At the beginning we all had to say where we were from etc. One likely lad stood up and pronounced “I’m J. D. Lee from Wangoom” and promptly sat down. I thought “Beauty, I’m home. Another country bumpkin”.
I was amazed at the sporting history adorning the walls of the College. Particularly the First XVIII Football achievements. My aim was to try and make the first XVIII team, which I did. I would have loved to have been coached by the legendary Brother O’Malley, but unfortunately he had left the year before I got to St Pat’s. I enjoyed success with my tennis as well.
I met many terrific blokes from all across Victoria and also some great “day rats”. The biggest “rat” was Noel Sheehan (a legend in his own time, he will tell you). Not far behind was a fella called Peter Crawford and Bernie Frith.
I was often called on to cover for the boys (Cheezo), as apparently the powers that be, would believe me. (Yes, they were here with me Sir.)
When it was visitations to family day, it would seem that just about every senior boarder had either a sister or cousin at St Mick’s or Mary’s Mount. Amazing!
We were given every opportunity to excel at whatever we chose to do – academically or sport wise.
Great years, great memories.
Effects of Covid:
We weren’t really ever affected by COVID-19, apart from missing family contact. We just followed the rules and life went on as nearly normal.