When Brian ‘Buddha’ Lynch reconnected with the Old Paradians’ Association’s ever-expanding Old online network recently, he took the time to reflect on his substantial kindred links with the College.
Of a family of 11 siblings in all, Brian and his six brothers were all students of Parade – from Sean (‘John’) in the 1960s through to Stephen in the 1980s – with an eighth brother Peter having died at primary school age.
In this photograph kindly supplied by Brian, six of the seven surviving Lynch lads and the three sisters can be seen at his Mt. Martha home, on the happy occasion of their mother Josephine’s (Jean’s) 90th birthday.
In the back row from left to right is Mark (1972), Terry (1985), Geraldine, Stephen (1987), Brian (1976), Paul (1974) and Michael (1984), with John (1970) the absentee); and in the front row Margaret, Jean and Bernadette.
There in spirit was little Peter and the patriarch Gerald, who died at the age of 68 in 1995. To quote Brian: “Dad was President of the Epping Football Club for many years, President of the Legion of Mary and a great community man. More than 500 people attended his funeral at St. Luke’s – they were queueing out the door”.
In forwarding the photograph of his mother’s birthday gathering, Brian also offered a fascinating insight into the Lynch family’s links with the country, which were first forged in the early post-World War II years.
“My father Gerald Lynch and mother Josephine (‘Jean’) Campbell met in their native Dublin in the late 1940s,” Brian said.
“Like many Europeans after the war, Gerry took up the Australian Government’ offer of migration and came to Melbourne as a boilermaker in 1950.
“Gerry’s plan was to spend a year out here to see if Australia really was ‘The Lucky Country’. He must have been impressed because Jean followed at the age of 21 exactly 12 months later.”
Not that it was all smooth sailing. As Brian revealed: “Mum, who was a dressmaker, told me later in life that she got another ‘offer’ aboard the Orion on the way out”.
“Another Dubliner tried to convince Mum to go with him to Auckland and she considered the offer, but stuck with her original plan,” Brian said.
“Mum had to live in a hostel in Port Melbourne until they were married in St. Augustine’s in the city.”
One of Brian’s early memories relates to the traditional Sunday mass at St. Luke’s in Lalor, when migrant families like the Lynchs turned out in their droves.
Mum and Dad were Irish migrants and like many families of the parish, whether Italian, Greek or Maltese, had lots of children . . . which is why all the pews at church on Sundays were filled with families of six, seven or more,” Brian said.
“Beyond primary school, my three sisters went to St. Monica’s in Epping and we boys all went to Parade. Mum gave to the Parade cause too. On the wall at her home hangs a plaque from the College for a lifetime of service in the canteen.”
In pondering his own days of the old schoolyard at Bundoora, Brian couldn’t be more indebted for the opportunity Parade and his parents availed.
“The thing I am most grateful for in life is that my working class parents with eleven children afforded me an education,” Brian said.
“I was a very average student and considered dropping out at the end of Year 10, but the Christian Brothers at Parade pushed me and got the best out of me. it all turned around in Year 11 and I went on to graduate from University.
“I can remember on my last day at Parade we went across to the Bundoora Hotel to celebrate with a few of the teachers who joined us. I remember sitting there thinking ‘I would never have got through without them’.
“They say it take a village to raise a child and Parade was a critical part of the village. It was a ‘sliding doors’ experience and my life would have been very different and with less opportunity without my six years at Parade.”
Brian and the Lynch boys are the latest Old Paradians to reconnect with the Association’s ever-growing network via www.oldparadians.com.au. If you are yet to reconnect, click HERE to keep up with the latest happenings out of OPA central.