Where are they now – Peter Connell (SPC 1962-69, PY1970)
September 13, 2021
We recently reconnected with Old Collegian Peter Connell (SPC 1962-69, PY1970), 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.
Peter’s story with SPC started as a very young grade three student from the island of Nauru. Peter talks of his life and memories of St Pat’s and he has spoken to the College of the joy that has come from rekindling friendships this year with former classmates he has not seen or heard from since he was 17 years old.
Years at SPC: 1969
Status at SPC: Boarder
Family Situation: Married Marg Falvey in 1974 (47 years together this year) with groomsman Peter Mackey and Red Collins. Daughter Ashlee and granddaughter Luna.
Current Occupation: Retired.
Post Secondary Education: I left St Pat’s and went to St Kevin’s for half of the first term of Matric and left ASAP. Due to dyslexia and the great dislike of formal education I did not take up any other formal education.
Career: I went to Pooncarie NSW and worked on a few sheep stations as a shedhand and roustabout – absolutely loved it. My father was not so keen and coerced me into going home to Melbourne. He arranged to have me join Bank of New South Wales.
I stayed there for 27 years and to my great joy was retrenched on December 24, 1997. I was the Operations Manager for Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Northern Territory. I went fishing with a mate from Queensland, all over far north Queensland, Northern Territory and north Western Australia. The love of my life again (Marg Falvey) called me home to resume a “normal” life.
I joined Lend Lease as a Construction Foreman for 14 years – fantastic. I had missed my calling being in the bank. I retired in 2012 but that didn’t last long. I set up my own consulting business in Bank Security redesigning and constructing ANZ Country branches in Victoria, Tasmania and southern NSW.
I retired again in 2015. Now I am happy.
Personal History: I was born on June 17, 1952 on Ocean Island – Central Pacific. I was the youngest of three children. My father worked for The British Phosphate Corporation – Mining Super-Phosphate to fertilise the Mallee and Wimmera. At six years of age, we moved to Nauru until I was 16.
I went to St Pat’s very young, starting in Grade 3 and not seeing my parents for 12 months at a time. It used to take 7-10 days to get home by ship and a couple days flying. I stayed at so many peoples’ places. You may remember some of the names – Peter (Digger) Hall from Mittyack, Mick Tyquin, the O’Shannessy’s from Timberoo Sth, Smiths from Lismore Vic, Wayne Twite from Warrnambool and many more. If there are any others, sorry, but thank you all. You all added to my incredible life.
Passions: Fishing and shooting, not so much these days as I am a member of the Parkinson’s club.
Best Memory of St Pat’s: I have discussed this many times with (Peter) Mackey, who I consider to be a great mate. I was never a good student and not very interested in sport. I loved to go to Vic Park (Ballarat) with Hall, Buckley and Rylance, have a smoke and just get out. I was caught so many times smoking or not being in the right place I had a permanent place outside Sam’s office. I never got caught lighting up outside his outer window.
Rowing or being the boat driver was great. Br Guthrie was the only one who knew to get me out into the shed.
Bruce and Tiny Smith’s mum took about 10 of us under her wing. For those who were lucky enough to be chosen to be part of that family, thank God for Pat and Sid.
Effects of Covid: We wake each day and wonder what the hell happened. I am blessed with a beautiful family and fantastic friends, and a bucket of optimism for all our futures. Be safe and look after each other.
Peter Connell, pictured in his Leaving class photograph in 1969.