Where are they now – Hugh (Paul) Bourke (SPC 1983-85)

June 17, 2024

The College recently reconnected with Hugh (Paul) Bourke (SPC 1983-85) who has retired now as a veterinarian and believes that his SPC education taught him a sense of order, discipline and respect.

Hugh Bourke.

Where has your life taken you since leaving SPC?
I was lucky enough to be granted a place to study Veterinary Science at the University of Melbourne in 1986 and reside at Newman College in my formative years of tertiary study.  I worked in mixed practice in Bacchus Marsh for four years, then London for 11 years as a small animal practitioner.  On returning to Melbourne in 2006, I purchased Vermont Village Vet and ran this for 18 years.  I am now retired, enjoying tennis, horse-racing, fine dining, and strolls with English Springer Spaniels.


Hugh, who was known as Paul during his school years, pictured in his Form 6 class photograph in 1985.


Do you have family ties with SPC?
Absolutely.  My grandfather Michael Bourke and great-uncle Hugh (namesake) boarded at SPC from 1905-1910.
Dad was one of seven children. David, John, Brien, Hugh (father, namesake), Michael, Gavan, and Mary.  The boys boarded at SPC in the 1940’s and 1950’s; Mary boarded at Loreto, Mary’s Mount in the 1950’s. My cousins David and Peter boarded with me in the 80’s. Dad’s family hosted the St Pat’s Old Collegian Raceday at the old Pakenham Racecourse, which they owned and established in 1876.  The January meeting’s standout race was the Brother O’Malley Welter.  It was an Old Collegian’s catch up for many years. Once the race club moved to Tynong, this tradition was unfortunately discontinued.


Hugh, pictured in the academic prizewinners group, as published in the 1985 College Annual.


What are your fondest memories of your times at SPC?
The only choice: spiced mince on buttered toast, for breakfast. Br. Wilding “banned’ mince in Sept 1984 due to a Boarder’s Riot: it was never presented again.  Mince can be fabulous, just ask Karen Martini (the chef). I was scared of Br Wilding, though he taught me diplomacy.

The safety and support of friendship from mates when away from home.  I was terrified on arrival, but the collegiality solved that.


Which teacher had the greatest impact on you and why?
I seriously respected Br Aron.  We enjoyed racing.
I loved Br Miller’s Mathematics Methods: you got me into Vet Sci Big M!


Hugh, pictured in his First IV Tennis team photo, as published in the 1985 College Annual.


How has your education shaped your professional life?
My education taught me a sense of order, discipline and respect.


How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your personal life?
It taught me to be authentic.  I am an atheist, however SPC taught me Christianity: treat people the way you would like to be treated… that simple.


If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Be true to yourself, but more importantly, always be kind.


Hugh, pictured in the squash team photo in 1985.

Hugh was also a member of the SPC Student Council in his final year in 1985.