Parramatta Marist Old Boys Union News & Blog

Keeping members of the Parramatta Marist Old Boys community up to date with developments among Old Boys and the School community

Celebrating the Centenary of School Boy Rugby League

100 Years of School Boy Rugby League 100 Years of School Boy Rugby League

A schools Rugby League competition began in Sydney on 20 May, 1914, with matches being played at the Domain and Metters Sportsground, Erskineville. Nine schools took part inluding Parramatta Marist and Saint Mary's Cathedral. 100 years later to the day this event was comemorated with a game being held between Parramatta Marist and St Mary's Cathedral at Erskineville Oval which is adjacent to where the old Metters Sportsground once existed.

The result was Parramatta Marist winning against Cathedral, 18-4. Also two of the boys donated their commemorative  jerseys for framing as part of the School's history. Here are some images from that historic day.

TheAdvertiser Parramatta Advertiser commemorative cover - 100 Years of School Boy Rugby League
Parramatta Marist Team with Brother Pat on the left and on the right is Jeff Phillips (coach and old boy from 2003) and Tim Woodbine (sportsmaster)  Parramatta Marist Team with Brother Pat on the left and on the right is Jeff Phillips (coach and old boy from 2003) and Tim Woodbine (sportsmaster)
The teams being lead onto the field by Mr Charlie McGee (ex teacher, author and founder of the NSWCCC) The teams being lead onto the field by Mr Charlie McGee (ex teacher, author and founder of the NSWCCC)
The Old Boy spectators are Colin Walsh and John Donnellan from the Class of 1955 The Old Boy spectators are Colin Walsh and John Donnellan from the Class of 1955
The completion of the game The completion of the game
Beside Brother Pat while being interviewed is John Williams (ex-NRL, Old Boy Class of 2002 and current teacher); beside him is Justin Hollis (Class of 1995 and member of the Commonwealth Bank winning squad) Beside Brother Pat while being interviewed is John Williams (ex-NRL, Old Boy Class of 2002 and current teacher); beside him is Justin Hollis (Class of 1995 and member of the Commonwealth Bank winning squad)



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Research into MBP Old Boys who paid the ultimate sacrifice at Gallipoli

Periscope_rifle_Gallipoli_1915The OBU was contacted recently by Frank Olson (Class of 1962 and former North Sydney Bears player) and he is writing an article for the RSL/Veteran Affairs about MBP students who were killed at Gallipoli. He is attending the Centenary celebrations next year at Anzac Cove.

Many of you may recall that the school building that used to be beside St. Patrick's Cathedral had some wall mounted marble Rolls of Honour showing the students who had been killed in various conflicts including Gallipoli and the Western Front. We are currently searching for the marble rolls as they never seemed to make it to the Westmead campus. However, if any Old Boys have pictures of the Victoria Rd site (with some marble rounds in the background) or had Old Boy relatives who fought at Gallipoli, or have any information that may help us shed light on the matter, Frank and the OBU would be very appreciative.

rank also mentioned that recent articles in the VA journal lauded The King's School and Melbourne Grammar's efforts on April 25th, 1915, at Gallipoli - efforts that Frank seems to think we can more than equal. If anyone has any information, please email OBU President, Adam Hendry, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Parramatta Marist Old Boys - Fighting MS

AdrianDolahentyKissGoodbyeMSMultiple Sclerosis Research Australia's recently launched its 'Kiss Goodbye to MS Campaign' at Parliament House, NSW. Our Old Boy Committee Member, Adrian Dolahenty (Class of '86) was there to represent his employer, Bayer Pharmaceuticals - one of the backers of the campaign. Also present to help launch the campaign, was Australian dual international sportsperson, Ellyse Perry, the daughter of our very own Old Boy and ex-teacher, Mr. Mark Perry. If you wish to support the MSRA campaign, please visit and donate a 'kiss'!

If any Old Boys are involved with community causes, please let us know about the good work.

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Celebrating 100 Years of Catholic Schools Rugby League 1914-2014

Come and celebrate 100 Years of Catholic Schools Rugby League 1914-2014 at Erskineville Oval on Tuesday, 20th May 2014, at 11.30am. 100 years to the day that it was first played. It was originally a primary school competition but only St. Mary's Cathedral, Parramatta Marist  and St. James, Forest Lodge (which remains a primary school) still remain from the 9 teams that participated that day 100 years ago.

marist_brothers_1943 Marist Brothers High School Parramatta Seven Stone Sevens 1943 Terry Sheens front row, centre

The 'Under 60kg' Parramatta Marist RL Team will take on St. Mary's Cathedral on 20th May 2014 at Erskineville Oval. The celebrations commence at 11:30 AM. Old Boys are very welcome.

A schools competition began in Sydney on 20 May, 1914, with matches being played at the Domain and Metters Sportsground, Erskineville. Nine schools took part, eight of which were Catholic and one Anglican – St John’s Darlinghurst. These schools were:

St Benedict’s Broadway      St Joseph’s Newtown

St Patrick’s Church Hill        St John’s Darlinghurst

St Patrick’s Parramatta         St Mary's Cathedral

Marist Parramatta         St James Forest Lodge

St Peter’s Surry Hills

The event was recorded in The Daily Telegraph of 20 May, 1914:

“League football will enter upon an important stage of its career to-day. For the first time the 13-aside game will be played by a number of school teams. The competition has been launched after considerable beating down of prejudices, and even now, only denominational schools have taken up the code”

A commemorative ceremony and games of rugby league will take place at Erskineville Oval on Tuesday 20 May 2014 commencing at 11.30am. Erskineville Oval is adjacent to where the old Metters Sportsground once existed. The three surviving schools that played in 1914, St James Forest Lodge, St Mary's Cathedral College and Parramatta Marist High all played matches at Metters in 1914, and will take part in the event.

We hope that there will be support for the commemoration of this centenary in the history of our Catholic schools. It was certainly a significant event for the schools in 1914. They were not the large well known colleges of the city but were small schools that predominantly served working class Catholics. Their participation in schoolboy rugby league, in the early years, became an important part of their struggle for acceptance within a sometimes hostile society.

Further information can be obtained from Charlie McGee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source: - New South Wales Combined Catholic Colleges

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What ever happened to John Yanz? - Teacher at Parramatta Marist 1980s

wherearetheynowNigel Warnock (left 1985 Year 10) asks

"John Yanz was my form master 1983,1984& 1985.just wondering what ever happened to him and  is he still alive? Cheers Nigel Warnock (left year 10 1985)"

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Helping the Sister School Alumni - Catherine McAuley High School Class of 1972 Reunion tracking down students

CatherineMacCauley1972_1 1972 Catherine Mcauley 4th Form (Year 10)

We have received a request from Trish Lohan of the Catherine McAuley High School Alumni to help track down members of their Class of 1972. Trish writes:

"We are trying to track down ex-students from the Class of 1972 from Catherine McAuley Westmead and wondered if you could help us find our old schoolmates by way of an ad or notice please? Many of our classmates had brothers or married men who attended Marist Brothers and were friends with their brothers, cousins etc.

If at all possible it would be great to contact our friends from so long ago! As many of the girls have married and changed their names, it is proving a challenging, but rewarding, task!
Thanking you in anticipation,
Kind regards Trish Lohan"

You may like to visit their Alumni's Facebook page by CLICKING HERE and see if you recognise anyone. You may have walked up to the station with some of them or taken them to the Cadet Ball. Some of you may have memories from YCS (Young Christian Students) which was a joint organisation between the two schools

We have included a photo of the 1972 Catherine McAuley Form 4 (Year 10 these days)

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Tracking Down History: Herbert Allan Sharp/Sharpe/Rutter Circa 1915 - 1920 (Also at St Vincents)

stvincentsBev Sharpe is trying to find out about her father-in-law for her children. He had a number of surnames(she doesn't know why) his name was Herbert Allan Sharp/Sharpe/Rutter.  He was at St Vincents Westmead and Parramatta Marist from about 1915 to approx. 1920.  Bev is trying to do genealogy for the family and are at a loss about the surname.    She knows he attended quite a few reunions so if there is anyone who would know anything about him, or otherwise can point her in the right direction could they leave a comment to this post or send an email via the Contact Us form.

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Professor Michael Gracey AO (1955) compliments his old school on Project Based Learning Leadership

From Adam Hendry - President of the Old Boys Union

MichaelGraceyProfessor Michael Gracey AO, an Old Boy from the illustrious Class of 1955, recently emailed me and was interested to hear of his old school's recent achievements:

"I was interested to learn of my old school’s international outreach – well done. I was also interested in .... problem-based learning. Not surprisingly, much of my training, particularly in the clinical parts of my education, was just that. But it wasn’t called PBL in those days."

Very high praise indeed when you get a snapshot of Professor Gracey's achievements:

"I studied Medicine at Sydney Uni, graduating at the end of 1961. I worked in Sydney (RPAH), Melbourne (Royal Children’s Hospital), the then Territory of Papua New Guinea, then in the UK for 2 years before moving to Perth in 1970 working as a paediatrician at the Children’s Hospital there for almost 20 years. While I was there I developed a collaboration with the Paediatric Department of the University of Indonesia (Jakarta) and with other Indonesian hospitals and clinics. While I was in WA, I became the Principal Medical Adviser on Aboriginal Health to the WA Dept of Health. In 1997, I was made Professor of Aboriginal Health at Curtin University (Perth) - the first such appointment in Australia. In the 1970s and 80s I worked in other countries, mostly in the Asia-Pacific Region including India, Singapore and Thailand and with Tibetan refugees in the Himalayas; while I was there (Dharamsala, north India), I had a private audience with his Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.

I have worked with remote, very remote, rural and urban Aboriginal people, mostly in WA for more than 45 years and continue this in my “retirement”.

I worked with the International Paediatric Association (IPA) for many years; the IPA represents about 600,000 thousand paediatricians in more than 100 countries. I was the first Australian to be made President of the IPA and, as part of my responsibilities, visited dozens of countries on all inhabited continents; many of these are among the world’s poorest nations.

In my retirement I teach young Vietnamese doctors and nurses at hospitals in Hanoi ..... I am an Honoured Professor in the Kazakh National Medical university in Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan and that I was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2001. And I am also currently involved in a project through Sydney Uni to help improve Maternal and Child Health in Myanmar (previously Burma)."

Professor Gracey has certainly led a full life and contributed much to this country, our indigenous people and improved the lives of thousands of children the world over. He has certainly lived his life in the way of Champagnat!

Fortior Ito

Adam Hendry
President, Old Boys Union

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12 Past School Captains Attend 2014 Parramatta Marist High Commencement Mass

12Feb2014PastSchoolCaptainsCommencementMasslabelsOn Tuesday 11 February 2014 12 past school captains attended the 2014 Commencement Mass and installment of the new prefects. Adam Hendry, president of the Old Boys Union and teacher at the school reported that many comments have been made by staff and students in the following days about the impact of the past school captains being present.140211CommencementMass1

In the photo looking at the stage - from right to left - the past school captains in attendance were:

  • Mark Procajlo - school captain 1976
    Andrew Houseman - school captain 1990
    Matthew Harrison - school captain 1993
    Trent Atkins - school captain 1994
    Brendan Decelis - school captain 1996
    Michael Yuen School - school captain 2004
    James Bourne - school captain 2008
    Corey Owusu-Ansah - school captain 2009
    Anthony Mackett - school captain 2010
    Nathan Haddad - school captain 2011
    James Younis - school captain 2012
    Adrian Sujaraj - school captain 2013


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Class of 64 - 50 Year Reunion

EH-Holden-1964-World-Champs-Booklet900 Images from 1964 - Pick the Holden Model

The organisers of the Class of 1964 Reunion advise that they have located all but five of their class mates. They are also chasing about ten classmates, who were in the cohort, but left before the 1964 Leaving Certificate. If you are interested in being involved just drop us a line using the Contact Us form on this website

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Tracking Down the Class(es) of 1964

David McFadden and his colleagues from the Leaving Certificate Classes of 1964 have been filling in the missing pieces of the puzzle of identifying those from the 1964 Class.

Click on the links below for the photos for the 1964 B and C Classes. A photo for the 1964 A Class has proven to be elusive.  Please review the photos and lists and use the comments section at the bottom of the images to fill in the blanks or suggest any corrections.

1964 Leaving Certificate B Class 

1964 Leaving Certificate C Class 

If you have a copy of the 1964 A Class photo, a class list or both please click on the Contact Us Tab to upload the file(s).

Also a reminder that a group of the 1964 Class Old Boys are organising a 50 year (half century - scary isn't it?). Use the Contact Us Tab to let them know your interest in the 1964 Class reunion.

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Vale James Patrick (Pat) Flaherty - an Old Boy and former mayor of Parramatta and State Member for Granville

Pat Flaherty Pat Flaherty

John Flaherty, son of James Patrick (Pat) Flaherty , advised us that his father, Pat Flaherty, former Mayor of Parramatta (1962) and Former Member for Granville, passed away at approximately 2.30am on Monday 9 December 2013, just 3 days short of his 90th Birthday on the 12 December 2013.

Pat had been dealing with Kidney stones for the past 50 years. He was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 1995, and subsequent treatment put him into remission up until the start of 2012, where it was apparent that the cancer had returned.
He passed quietly in his sleep, whilst in the Palliative Care unit here in Townsville, due to Kidney complications. He is survived by his wife Joyce, and his son's David, James and John.

Our prayers are with Pat's family and we give thanks to a life of community service and the pursuit of social justice.

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Student Voice at Parramatta Marist PBL World Australia

Parramatta Marist Student presentation to PBL World Australia Conference welcoming participants. A great example of how students work together.


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Old Boys and Other Members of the Community are Invited to attend an Education Forum with World Leaders in Education

PBLKeynote speakersFLYER1As a preliminary event to the PBL (Project Based learning) World Australia Conference to be held at Parramatta Marist High in November 2013 Old Boys and other members of the community are invited to attend a discussion forum and Q&A Session with world leaders in the field of education innovation. The Forum will be at Riverside Theatres Parramatta 4PM - 6:30PM Tuesday 12 November 2013. The cost is $65. You can obtain more information and register at

PBLKeynote speakersFLYER2

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Old Boys Union Annual Reunion Dinner 2013 Souvenir Program

A great night. Our thoughts and prayers are with those Old Boys from the Blue Mountains who couldn't make it due to the ravages of the bush fires.

You can down load a Pdf copy of the Souvenir program here.

Page1 from OBU 2013 Dinner pamphlet - Copy

Page2 from OBU 2013 Dinner pamphlet - Copy

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Parramatta Eels Donate Items for Auction at Parramatta Marist OBU Annual Dinner Friday 18 October 2013

Parraleagues1Parramatta Leagues Club has donated:

1 x Framed Parramatta Eels Jersey. Value $795 each.
2 x Leather Bound signed books outlining the history of the Parramatta Eels. Value $210 each

for auction at the Parramatta Marist Old Boys Union Annual Dinner to be held Friday 18 October 2013 at Parramatta Leagues Club. Don't forget the cut off for bookings is this Thursday 10 October 2013.

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Old Boys Annual Dinner 2013 - Don't Miss Out! Friday 18 October 2013 - Bookings Essential


Ex-students and teachers of Parramatta Marist High are invited to attend the Annual Reunion Dinner and auction night.  All proceeds from the night go to the Late Brother Coman Scholarship and the framing of MBP Old Boy memorabilia; both of which are fully funded by the Old Boys Union.

Time: Friday, 18 October at 7.00pm
Where: Auditorium, Parramatta Leagues Club, O’Connell St Parramatta
Cost: $50 for buffet dinner (drinks not included)
RSVP: For catering purposes, it is essential to book and pay by Thursday 10th October

You can pay by credit card, direct deposit (including electronic funds transfer), or by cheque. Here is how:

By Credit Card:  Book & pay online at (some charges apply for credit cards)


By Direct Deposit: Firstly - Go to a Commonwealth Bank branch and deposit the funds to the Parramatta Marist Old Boys Union Commonwealth Bank account (BSB 062 223 Acc. No. 0080 1103) and include your surname as a reference on the deposit or you can transfer the funds the the Parramatta Marist Old Boys Union Commonwealth Bank account electronically. Then Secondly - book your place and confirm payment online at: - (no charges apply). Alternately, confirm the details of your direct deposit by emailing a committee member below.


By Cheque: Please complete the return slip below, attach your cheque payable to "Parramatta Marist Old Boys Union" and place in a sealed envelope addressed to the Secretary, Parramatta Marist Old Boys, 2 Darcy Road, Westmead, NSW 2145.

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Cadet Band were NSW A Grade Champions in 1960

Source:  Ron McLaren (1961)

The MBP Cadet Band were NSW A Grade Champions in 1960 having beaten Kings for the title. The winning trophy is shown below.

1960 Band Trophy

More about Ron McLaren (1961)

"I was at MBP from 1955-1961 in the A Class, I joined the Navy at 15 and spent most of the next  ten years at sea going back and forth to Borneo during Konfrontazi and Vietnam 10 times. I was pleased to discover Bob Skipholtz on your forum, he lived not far from where I was at Dundas, I recall him being a recent arrival with his family from RSA and his thick Afrikaner accent. Colin Heazlewood lived around the corner from my place, we were good mates back then. I noticed a pic of Dan Mahoney on your site, Dan was my dad's campaign manager when he was the Federal Labor candidate for Parramatta in 1963, he was beaten by Garfield Barwick on DLP preferences, pretty good effort for a council meter reader."

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1955 MBP Cadet Band plays at Celebrations on Electrification of Rail to Blacktown

Source: Pat Connelly.  The following info is drawn not from memory but from more or less contemporary notes I jotted down on the back of the photos by Pat.


MBP BAND PIC 1 shows the musicians in majestic assembly at Blacktown, participants in celebrations marking the extension of electric rail from Parramatta in 1955. We had marched a mile from the station to Blacktown Oval where a fete and sports were held. We had to go through mud to get there and a few members slipped but the band played on. There was plenty of mud at the oval too, as you can see.

MBPBand pic2

MBP BAND PIC 2: Back row from left -Drum major Richards, Sergeant Gilmour, Sergeant Cooke, cadets Wall, Connelly, Corporal McInnes, cadets Brien, Dargue, Hayes, O’Sullivan, Wooldridge, Dolan, Balestrieri, Zarb.
Front row-Cadets Cheeseman, Graham, Roche, Ledlin, Corporal Mereniuk, cadet Dreise, cadet Ransome .

Below: Blacktown Station 1955 Electrification celebrations


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Your Prayers are requested for Brother Coman "Coey" who is seriously ill

The much admired Brother Coman Sykes, "Coey", was recently admitted to Campbelltown Hospital with some serious health complications. His heart and lungs are not functioning correctly and other bodily systems seem to be failing. He is currently being medicated and is understood to have been returned to St Gregory's College Campbelltown, where he has been spending his retirement. His condition appears to have stabilised however the care he will be receiving may be palliative care. (Source: Adam Hendry)

CoeyatGregsYou may recall the scholarships funded by the Old Boys Union are named in honour of Brother Coman.

Brother Coman worked at Westmead for 20 years of his Marist life, St Vincent's Westmead Boys Home (1949-1956), Community Superior (1973) and the secondary school (1984-1995).

Geoffrey Sykes attended St Gregory's College Campbelltown before joining the Marist Brothers. He was professed as Brother Coman in 1948 and after 12 months scholasticate began his apostolic work at St Vincents.  he was the principal at St Gregory's and Marist North Shore before moving into formation.

During his years at Parramatta Marist High he was the Year 11 co-ordinator and sports coach. His work in maintaining the school bus fleet, the fields and school buildings are legendary. Brother Coman retired to Mittagong in 1995 and later moved to St Gregory's. (Source: McDonald I, A School of Their Own - The Story of Parramatta Marist 1820-2000; 2000; p.353)

We hope and pray for the recovery of such a terrific, industrious, honest and caring man as Coey.

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