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INAUGURAL PARADE PREP PRINCIPAL BILL CLOHESY DIES

William (‘Bill’) Clohesy, formerly Brother WL Clohesy the founding Principal of the now-defunct Parade Preparatory College in Alphington, has died in Adelaide at the age of 94.

When the gates of the Flowerdale campus were formally opened on February 3, 1953, Bill took charge of 110 students, with the assistance of Brother Dyball and two lay teachers Mr. Ivor Davis and Mrs. V. Mills. Brother Naughtin, in his tome The Parade Story, noted that when Archbishop Mannix solemnly blessed and opened the College on March 15 of that year, “for the time being the Brothers lived in East Melbourne, since a section of the residence had to be used for school purposes until a new school block could be built”.

At Parade, Bill served as Principal whilst fulfilling his role as teacher to students of Years 5, 7 and 8. In 1956, he was appointed Superior of the Community for what would be a six-year term – after which he accepted the Principalship of St Virgil’s Preparatory College in Austin’s Ferry, Hobart.

On leaving the Brotherhood in Hobart, Bill met and married a widow with seven children. Not long after, he accepted the position of Deputy Director of Catholic Education in Adelaide. A notice, placed in Adelaide’s The Advertiser, advised that Bill, loving husband of Carmelita (deceased) died on October 29 at the Carmelite Retirement Home.

Emeritus Professor of Religion and Education at the University of South Australia Robert Crotty, a final year student of Parade’s Class of 1954 and a close confidante of Bill’s, remembered the man from those early years at Flowerdale.

“Bill actually taught me at Parade for three years,” Robert said. “He was a firm teacher. He kept order in the classroom, but at the same time I found him a very kind and good man, both as a Brother and afterwards.

“I was at the university when he came across to become the Deputy Director of Catholic Education, and from then on we became socially quite close.

“He became more and more Catholic. He was very close to his wife, who died about five years ago, but he kept going and until the last two or three years he maintained good health.”

Four hundred and fifty boys were schooled at Parade Preparatory College when Bill Clohesy’s term as Principal came to an end in late 1961. The following year, a full page tribute to the man was paid in The Paradian. In an edited version of that tribute, the unnamed author wrote the following:

Brother Clohesy came to office comparatively young; yet, from the outset he displayed, above all, a marvellous judgment. He brought to all situations and problems a broad and balanced vision and a perspective thoroughly religious. His speeches were typical of the man. They revealed a penetrating mind, a sense of order and fitness and a flair for ‘le mot juste’. Such qualities, combined with a high degree of efficiency and organized ability, ensured his success as Principal.

He was a true educator. He possessed the ability to inspire and uplift his pupils. His own enthusiasm for things intellectual and cultural he communicated to the boys. His numerous successes in Eisteddfods were the result of a rich harmony achieved by the united efforts of pianist, conductor and choir. On several occasions after a rehearsal lads of twelve quite spontaneously expressed dissatisfaction with their performance. Such comments demonstrated the value they attached to music and gave evidence of the growth of a spirit of critical self-appraisal.

All with whom Brother Clohesy came in contact were charmed by his genuine courtesy and deep spirit of charity. He was the soul of tact and understanding, quick to see and relieve a need, and deeply appreciative of benefits conferred. He was a fine host. All, whether personal friends or casual acquaintances, felt at ease in his presence.

In all things a Paradian himself, he was able to rally to the school a grand body of loyal workers, by whose unremitting toil and enthusiasm so much was accomplished in this new phase of the development of Parade.

Having completed his term of office at the Parade Preparatory College, Brother Clohesy was appointed First Principal of the new foundation at Austin’s Ferry, Hobart.

‘To pioneer once more’ – Brother Clohesy’s talents so eminently suitable for such, will not lie fallow.

Life moves inexorably forward and change is the necessary condition of progress. Yet we can assure Brother Clohesy of our lasting and grateful remembrance, and we will pray that his labours in future years prove as fruitful as those which have fashioned the present Parade Preparatory College.

A funeral mass for Bill Clohesy was offered at Holy Name Catholic Church in the inner city Adelaide suburb of Stepney on November 6, before the cortege proceeded to the Catholic Section, Centennial Park for the Committal.

Mourners were respectfully asked to consider donations to the Leukaemia Foundation in lieu of flowers.