ne hundred and five former teachers, together with 71 teachers and staff currently employed by Parade College, recently gathered in the Greening Auditorium in this the 50th anniversary of the Bundoora Campus’ existence.
The teachers – amongst them Bruce Walsh, Anne Marie Morello and Terri Walsh pictured here - responded to invitations forwarded by an Old Paradians’ Association organising committee which comprised former teachers John Joss and John Ramsdale, together with Parade’s Director Pathways Education John Nicholls, Deputy Principal Andy Kuppe and Assistant Liliane Crouch.
In addressing the gathering, John Nicholls confirmed that the overwhelming response reflected the view that the College “played a significant and important part in the lives of a good many former staff and those blessed to work at the College today”.
“It is timely to reflect briefly on the significance of this 50-year celebration. We have this wonderful school that has been the result of outstanding contributions by very many Brothers and lay staff as well as magnificent contributions of the OPA and Father and Mothers groups over that period of time,” John said.
“In 1968 there were 736 students with 21 full-time teachers, 13 of whom were Christian Brothers, eight lay staff and five assistant teaching staff. There were three Chaplains, an admin staff of four, Eileen Hecker in the canteen and, as many would remember, Alan Smith on property and grounds.”
Amongst the pioneers of 1968 on hand at the reunion were Ian Bibby, whose career encompassed 37 years at both the Alphington and Bundoora campuses and Br Peter Cole, whom john considered “an inspirational teacher and mentor to me personally and thousands of others”.
Br Laurie Collins and Br Denis Moore – Parade College Principals past and present – were also in attendance, and apologies were received from Neville Colvin and Spenceley Williams, who both served as teachers through that maiden ’68 year.
The organising committee hopes that having now reconnect, former teaching and non-teaching staff can be kept abreast of future gatherings, including the final-year class reunions of 1968 (May 16), 1978 (October 6), 1988 (April 27), 1998 (May 25) and 2008 (June 22), and the 50th anniversary reunion of all former students to be convened by the Old Paradians’ Association at the College later in the year.
The following is an edited version of John Nicholls’ welcoming address;
“Ladies and gentlemen,
The magnitude of change over the 50-year period of Parade College Bundoora has been enormous. In 2018 we have around 245 staff and, with the students from the other school, our external students, who access vocational training, more than 2000 students coming to our College - which since 2009 is on two campuses here and at Preston
It would be remiss not to acknowledge the huge demands of uprooting a century old College and moving it to an 80-acre site in a rural setting here at Bundoora. One must pay great credit to the leadership, foresight and vision of the Christian Brothers in the 1960s, particularly Br Nash, the last Principal of Parade East Melbourne. Br Nash (after which our new Learning Centre is named) bore much of the weight of the first phase of the Bundoora project, and gave great assistance to Bundoora’s first Principal Br Bill Greening, the Auditorium we stand in here being named after him.
Br Greening was quoted in 1968 as saying that “we are blessed with a magnificent building complex, ample fields dotted with stately gums”.
He was certainly on the money and we are still very blessed with our magnificent buildings and grounds in 2018.
The College has boasted six Principals in the 50 years at Bundoora – men who have navigated the College through the demands and challenges of providing a Catholic education to young men - Br Greening, Br McCarthy, Br Wright, Brothers Collins and Bond and Br Denis, who has been Principal for almost half of that 50 years. They are all men of faith who have put an enormous amount of energy and effort into ensuring the very best for the young men coming through the gates.
There were very many challenging times. Br McCarthy grappled with the needs of the College with limited funds, building the Nash Library after some Whitlam monies started to get to Catholic schools.
A man faithful to the College mission and its mandate, I recall Br Wright’s devotion to the spiritual and to the Mother Mary where there were whole school rosaries. Amazingly he knew every boy by name, was essentially the Business manager, Principal and taught HSC classes!
Br Collins brought significant structural and organisational changes unifying Parade College at the Bundoora campus after the closure of Flowerdale in Alphington which had operated since 1953.
Br Bond led a period of consolidation of the College which experienced significant debt and cost-cutting.
Br Denis was able to oversee the College’s 125-year celebrations. This year he is celebrating 50 years as a Christian brother in the 50th year of the College here at Bundoora and 150 years since the arrival of the Brothers from Ireland.
Br Denis’ tenure has been significant. The magnificent facilities and grounds that we have, have his fingerprints all over them. Br Denis is an inspirational and visionary leader in the tradition of those who came before him. As such, Parade College has been able to maintain its commitment to the values of Edmund Rice Education and meet the challenges of 21st century educational demands
It is clear that over the 50 years at the Bundoora campus, the College’s mission and its foundation of providing authentic, holistic education in the Edmund Rice tradition has been a constant. Key decisions over the period have been based on ensuring the charism of the Blessed Edmund Rice is central to what we do in word and in deed. Very many former staff have moved into positions of educational leadership where I would perhaps argue they have taken the Edmund Rice spirit with them.
We should also remember those former staff members that have passed away over that period of time and acknowledge their contribution whether in leadership, teaching, administration, property or grounds.
Thank you again to all who attended this evening. May the next 50 years of the College be guided by men and woman who will build on the contributions of those who came before them.
Images: Liliane Crouch, Tony Teo