Old Boys Union 2016 the year that was…
2016, the Year in Review by the Old Boys Union President, Adam Hendry
2016 was another momentous year for the Old Boys Union and the school alumni for many and varied reasons. This year also marked the 90th Anniversary of the official formation of the Old Boys Union following a social function in April of 1926 - a ‘smoko’ concert which raised money to build science labs at the old Victoria Road site. As we approach the school’s bicentenary as a Catholic school and our centenary, the union will continue to support both current and past students of this great school as best it can but in other ways that do not involve tobacco! The Union cannot, however, fulfill our aims without the terrific (and growing) support of many of our Old Boys. Below is a snapshot of this year’s events and we hope to grow these in 2017:
Old Boy School Captains at the Commencement Mass
In February 2016, we were fortunate to have over 20 former School Captains and Vice Captains attend the Commencement Mass to help install our new school leaders for this academic year. The presence of so many Old Boy leaders greatly enhanced the significance of the investiture of the 2016 school leaders.
Sons and Grandsons Photo
2016 year’s school photos, the tradition of the Sons and Grandsons photo continued. Presently, over 50 current students are sons, grandsons or great grandsons of Old Boys or, in the case of Ben Halligan of Year 11, the fifth generation of his family to attend the school - an impressive feat!
Old Boy Olympian John Devitt comes to the School swimming carnival
In 2015, the school pool was decommissioned so where better to hold the carnival in 2016 but at the ‘John Devitt’ pool at Granville Aquatic centre! Named after our illustrious Old Boy and dual gold medal winning Olympian, John Devitt (Class of 1954), the Granville pool proved a great venue to hold our carnival. We were also fortunate to have John Devitt come to the carnival and award the age and aggregate (team) champions. John addressed the students and was an inspiration to all!
Gunner Kevin Dolahenty cricket trophy
The Gunner Kevin Dolahenty trophy for the best fielder in the first XI team was awarded to Arya D’Souza of Year 12. Kevin was an Old Boy of the school who was killed fighting the Japanese in Malaya in WW2. Cricket was a passion of Kevin’s and this trophy, donated by the Dolahenty family, commemorates his service and life.
Anzac Day Service
This 2016 Anzac Service focussed on the Battle of the Somme and our Old Boys killed in WW1. David Cronan, an Old Boy and long-serving member of the RAAF, addressed the school community and reminded us of the stresses and strains that our service people endure. A significant number of Old Boys and their families attended the service and we appreciate their support. Lest We Forget
Class of 1964 gift to the school
The Class of 1964 gathered at the end of 2014 to celebrate their Golden Jubilee - 50 years since graduation. Following their dinner the class of 1964 provided a gift to the school and the old boys matched their amount to make this gift happen. Whilst it took a little time to find a metal fabricator, the gift has finally been installed! And it looks magnificent. Thanks to Greg Corr, John Granata and Chris Jurd (not pictured) for officially opening their Class' gift to the school at 'Illumination' (Creative and Performing Arts night).
Old Boy Tennis Champion Geoff Brown - exploits at Wimbledon 1946
This 2016 Wimbledon marked 70 years since our Old Boy, Geoff Brown, played in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles finals in 1946 - and lost all three! An amazing achievement for the RAAF gunner who fought in WW2 and had only been recently demobbed before playing in the 1946 tournament. Geoff went on to play (and win) many more tournaments as well as play Davis Cup for Australia.
The inaugural Stephen K. Tompsett prize for Outstanding Achievement in the Applied Sciences
In 2016, Stephen Tompsett's brother, Geoff (Class of 1980), and his wife Dorry and daughter Emily, visited Parramatta Marist High. Dorry and Emily were visiting from New York and took the opportunity to meet with the Principal, Brother Patrick, and school staff as well as visit the new learning spaces. Emily, following Stephen's lead is now a Maths and Computer Science teacher, and was impressed with the Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) and approaches to learning at PMH. Emily was also educated by the Mercy Sisters in New York; she was, therefore, very pleased to see 'Catherine McAuley' High School located next door to her father's old school! Dorry was also quick to remind us that "we are trying to make Catherine McAuley a saint!"
2016 marked 15 years since Stephen was killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York. He was only aged 39. A brilliant career and life cut dramatically short. Stephen was the Dux of the school in 1979 and also received the school's 'best pass in the HSC' that year (receiving 469/500). Stephen's brother, Geoff, believes it was at Parramatta Marist that Stephen was afforded a much greater opportunity to explore computer science - a passion he maintained his whole life. Stephen went on to win the University Medal at Sydney University in 1983. Arriving in New York in 1986 to facilitate a contract on behalf of his employer, Stephen met and fell in love with Dorry and never left. Stephen and Dorry married and Emily was born in 1991. On September 11, 2001, Stephen, as Vice President of Technology for Instinet Corp (an electronics equity broker), was attending a technology conference at the Windows of the World Restaurant at the top of the World Trade Centre's North Tower. At 8.46 am, the North tower was attacked several floors below.
During the Tompsett's visit, the Old Boys Union and the school proposed to them the possibility of honouring the life and memory of Stephen by naming a new Year 12 Major Technology prize after him. Geoff, Dorry and Emily were overjoyed with the proposal and Geoff has agreed to attend the Year 12 prize-giving ceremony in September to award the recipient.
We thank the extended Tompsett family (whose links to Parramatta Marist extend back over a century) for their support of this new technology prize in Stephen's name and our thoughts and prayers are with them always.
The ‘Fortior Ito’ mural - gift from the Union for the Westmead Campus Jubilee and 90 years of our alumni association
This mural was gifted to the school by the Parramatta Marist Old Boys Union to commemorate two significant anniversaries. The 50th anniversary of the Westmead Campus (1966 - 2016) and the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the Old Boys Union (1926 - 2016). In the early 1920s, the Principal of Parramatta Marist, Brother De Sales Curran, introduced the school crest and with it, the motto, Fortior Ito: 'Go Forth With Strength’. For nearly a century, Fortior Ito has been 'our cry’ and has served as a powerful exhortation to thousands of young men to achieve their best in all facets of school life and—it is hoped—throughout the remainder of their lives.
Year 12 Major Prizes
Along with the newly inaugurated Stephen K. Tompsett Award, we were pleased to welcome Gabrielle Harrison to Parramatta Marist to present the memorial prize that she donated in the name of her late husband and Old Boy, Andrew Ziolkowski MP, in 1994. Gabrielle and her son, Tristan Ziolkowski, have been great supporters of the school for many years and we are greatly appreciative. Also, Jim and Eileen Gallagher returned to award the Captain Raymond Allsopp award. Jim’s uncle ‘Ray’ was an Old Boy of Parramatta Marist and was a Doctor with the Australian Army Medical Corp when he was killed saving the lives of fellow soldiers at Balikpapan in WW2. Again, we thank Jim and Eileen for their support.
Concept Craft donates to the school
Thanks to Old Boy Geoff Dwyer (Class of 1995) and Concept Craft Exhibition and Event Services for organising multiple deliveries of (free!) quality timber which, whilst surplus to their requirements, is perfect for our constructions, woodworking, art, technical and STEM students! Concept craft is an exhibition and events company dedicated to all aspects of the industry from creation and output of architectural drawings, to construction, installation & dismantle of stands, pavilions, air-show chalets, interior fit-outs, organisation and management of events and product launches, graphics & signage output, audio visual and all associated logistics at the national and international level. If you need some help with the above, I am sure Geoff and Concept Craft can help you out- please visit http://www.conceptcraft.com.au.
Class of 1956 Reunion
Congratulations to the Leaving Certificate Class of 1956 who celebrated their 60th Anniversary on October 21st. Around 25 members gathered at the Sydney Rowing Club and reminisced about their school days and the intervening 6 decades. Thanks to John Gwynne for his efforts in organising the luncheon.
Class of 1961 Reunion
Congratulations to the Leaving Certificate Class of 1961 who celebrated their 55th Anniversary this year with a round of golf and dinner.
Old Boy John Minski
Thanks to John Minski from the Class of 1962 who spoke with Year 9 students about his long and distinguished career as an aeronautical engineer and airworthiness specialist. John flew in from Melbourne to attend the Old Boys Union Annual Dinner and took the opportunity to come to the school. We thank him for his time.
50 years at Westmead Sign and Marian Garden
To commemorate the Westmead Campus Jubilee a large commemorative sign was hung from the Harroway building and a new commemorative Marian Garden was built by Year 11 construction students with materials donated by Old Boys Peter and John Lianos (Class of 1994 and 1995 respectively).
Scholarship fund DGR status
As Parramatta Marist approaches its bicentenary as a Catholic school in 2020 (and 145 years under the care of the Marist Brothers), the Old Boys Union continues to fulfil the aims contained within our constitution including promoting and fostering the welfare of the school. A strong, independent and well-resourced Old Boys Union will be vital in ensuring the proud legacy of this country's oldest Catholic school continues well into its third century. However, as you are aware, our old school is about more than just buildings and tradition alone for it is composed of many young men whose lives are (and will be in the future) transformed through education. To this end, the OBU has established a new scholarship fund and gained Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status. All donations to the scholarship fund are now tax-deductible and provide another avenue by which we, as proud Old Boys, can support current and future students; moreover, this scholarship fund is a tangible way that we can give more boys the opportunity to access and get the most from their education at Parramatta Marist. Please support the OBU so more boys ‘go forth with strength’!
The Fijian Prime Minister visits PMH
Parramatta Marist High School hosted a special guest on Tuesday 18th October 2016 – the Honourable Prime Minister of Fiji, Rear Admiral (Ret.) J.V. Bainimarama.
Prime Minister Bainimarama is an Old Boy of Marist Brothers High School, Suva, and was keen to take up an invitation from the Parramatta Marist Old Boys Union and the Principal, Br Patrick Howlett, to visit Parramatta Marist. The Prime Minister was in Sydney celebrating 46 years of Fijian independence and was keen to take up the invite given his passion for innovative approaches to education and his desire, as expressed in Pillar 9 of his People’s Charter for Change, Peace and Progress, to make Fiji a knowledge-based society and economy with a focus on developing Fiji as an attractive info-communications hub in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Prime Minister was very interested in hearing from Parramatta Marist students and staff about their experience and insights regarding the innovative approaches to education implemented at the school as well as the regional, national and international connections developed over the last decade to ensure world’s best practice is deployed.
Thank you to Mr Daniel Lynch (teacher and Marist Association Local Coordinator), Mr Sak Vuki (teacher) and Mr James Mataitini (father of Peni, Year 11) for conveying the invitation to the Fijian PM on behalf of the Parramatta Marist Old Boys Union and school.
Thank you to Prime Minister Bainimarama for taking time out of his schedule to visit us - Bula vinaka!
AWM Director Dr Brendan Nelson visits PMH
Parramatta Marist High School hosted another special guest in November 2016, Dr Nelson, Australian War Memorial Director. Dr Nelson laid a wreath for Remembrance Day and addressed our Old Boy ex-servicemen, local RSL members and school community. Dr Nelson spoke most eloquently and in detail about his role, insights and experiences as Director of the Memorial. Dr Nelson also related very detailed information about Australia's military services and that of our Old Boys who served as well talking with students from the History Elective class in Year 9. We greatly appreciate Dr Nelson taking the time to visit PMH.
Old Boys Dinner and Brother Coman Scholarship
In October 2016 over 100 Old Boys gathered again at Parramatta Leagues to socialise, reminisce and help raise funds for the Br Coman Scholarship fund. This annual reunion dinner is a great event and it was fantastic to see so many familiar faces. Again, the Union raised over $4000 for the Brother Coman Sykes Memorial Scholarship. Thank you to the committee for their hard work and we look forward to seeing many more old boys at next year’s dinner.
Farewell to Old Boys and members of the Parramatta Marist community
The Old Boys community extends its deepest condolences to the family, classmates and friends of those members of our community who passed during the year.
May they ‘go forth with strength’ in the next life
John Eather: One of our oldest old boys, John Eather, from the intermediate Class of 1941, recently passed away. John served in the Second World War and lived most of his life in Wentworthville. John was also a regular attendee at our Annual Reunion every October and he will be sadly missed. He was 90. May he rest in peace.
Dr Rick Hope (Class of 1983): Former School Vice Captain Rick was a very well respected gastroenterologist, husband and father and his tragic passing during the year came as a shock. May he find peace in the next life.
Chad Robinson: Old Boy, former NRL player, brother, husband and father died in tragic circumstances in late 2016. May Chad Rest In Peace and go forth with strength in the next life.
Robert ‘Bob’ Freeman: (attended 1932-1937). Much loved grandfather to Old Boys Chris Carr (Class of 1995) and Steve Carr (School Captain, Class of 1997). Founding member of the Parramatta RSL. He will be missed. May he rest in peace.
Des Ledlin (Class of 1957): After leaving Parramatta Marist, Des trained as a pharmacist with his business being based at Mattara in Charlestown (near Newcastle) for many years. Des was also a Bugler in the School Cadet Band and will be fondly remembered by his old class and band mates. May he rest in peace.
Mrs Barbara Wade: Barbara was a valued member of the Parramatta Marist community for many years and was a dedicated and cheerful person who worked in a wide range of roles including retreat leader. Barbara was laid to rest following a service at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Wentworthville. May she rest in peace.
Saul Flicker Munro (Class of 1964): Saul led a most interesting life as an accomplished sculptor - "Saul graduated from Alexander Mackie Art School, Sydney and then studied under New York bronze casting master, John Gardner. Spent four years at East Sydney Technical College and served with stone masons to learn marble carving. Took a study trip to the Greek island of Paros to work in its renowned stone and exhibited at Diogenes Gallery, Athens. Studied at Beaux Arts, Paris. Held numerous exhibitions in Australia with both the Barry Stern and the Hogarth Galleries and was represented in some important collections such as the bronze and marble sculptures purchased by Mr and Mrs Kirk Douglas. Recently held an exhibition at the Windsor Library. Now operating a stall at the Windsor Sunday Markets" (thanks to Saul's Classmate, David McFadden, for the biography). RIP
Br Kevin Willits: A one time teacher at PMH and member of the Lavalla community until recently. Thank you for your support of Parramatta Marist. May he rest in peace.