Out of order but orderly!
The 2017 annual general meeting of the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys Association was held on Sunday 29 January commencing with Mass at the Church of the Holy Rosary and later in the nearby St Mary’s Hall.
Traditionally, it is at the AGM that the Alma Mater is delivered but this year during his address to the congregation Father McMahon gave a splendid overview of the manner in which the Marist Brothers had conducted their education task at Kyneton and many other places. He set out the connections back to the formation of the order in France and the continuation of the missionary charter.
Brother Kevin Hoare who fifty years ago taught at the school in the last year of its operation responded and related to the history of the Marist Brothers and the changes made over the past fifty years. The closure of Kyneton basically commenced the paradigm shift from teaching in classrooms to administration and development of catholic based education. Brother Kevin advised that the Marist family has now entered what is described as the “third order”. Like public private partnerships promoted by governments the Marists and laity now have partnerships working in many new arenas.
Three brothers and three lay persons form a working party and are sent to areas where counselling and compassionate need is determined. One situation described by Kevin was the working parties now in Sicily assisting in the care and resettlement of African refuges that arrived by boat during the exodus, and are now stranded.
President Peter Law addressed the meeting and talked about the declining numbers particularly in Kyneton where the main focus remains. Over the last year the death of eleven Old Boys came to notice including committee member Peter Clohesy. He noted that whilst the Alma Mater was delivered out of order it was considered to be in order.
Peter said ‘the candle is blowing in the wind, but is still flickering”. He then thanked the committee members and their families for a sterling year of achievement. The election followed and the status quo remains for the coming year.
Surprises always carry a meeting and this year was no exception. It had been determined back in early March that Peter Clohesy was to be elevated to the status of Honorary Life Member but his untimely death on 15 November prevented him from accepting the plaque. It had been displayed on his coffin and his wife Maxine was in attendance to ratify the elevation.
Stating “we are tired of awarding posthumous Life Memberships “ the President then called on Michael Halley, Paul Plowman and Len Young to come forward and join the ranks of Life Members.
Each acknowledged the honour but were very much representative of the credo of the Old Boys which is Servabo Fidem which translates to keep the faith.
Ian Stewart a renowned Australian league footballer had been engaged as guest speaker and breasted the lectern.
One mark of a champion is humility and Ian Stewart showed this “in spades”. He glossed over his unique position of a triple Brownlow medallist and concentrated upon his family life which held the floor in utter silence.
In past years the audience would have been all Old Boys and no doubt football would have been left right and centre but with the event now being a family affair the tone was markedly different. Ian’s address fitted the scene perfectly as he spoke of his business deals, life’s ups and downs and his family’s establishment at Carlsruhe.
He spoke about their daughter Amy and her untimely death in a car crash in September 2006. His sorrow is still evident but he showed empathy with those in the assembly who had also suffered the death of loved ones.
As the Stewart family are not again changing address and will stay in Carlsruhe Ian may again be called upon at a future date. No doubt those there on Sunday will be first to register.
Seventy Not Out
In cricketing parlance seventy not out would indicate a good innings. At Kyneton on Sunday 24 January around two hundred  Marist Brothers Old Boys together with wives and girlfriends [WAG] came to together to usher in the year in which the Old Boys Association will attain the great age of seventy.
To commemorate the coming of the Marist Brothers to Kyneton, a 21st Birthday celebration was held at Kyneton on August 2nd and3rd 1947, when 150 past students gathered at a reunion dinner from many parts of Victoria, and later formed an Old Boys' Association.
So in August 2016 the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys Association will click over into its seventieth [70th] year!
The formation of the Old Boys was in the same year as the commencement of the United Nations and the finish of the Kon-Tiki expedition. In fact the Kon-Tiki raft arrived in the Tuamotu Islands on August 7, the same week as the Old Boys first reunion
The late Dr. Gerald Loughran was unanimously elected as the first president of the Kyneton Marist Brothers' Old Boys' Association. And every year since an Annual General Meeting and reunion has been held, so the eighty plus past pupils that came together on Sunday 24 January 2016 continued the tradition.
Time has taken its toll on membership which was evidenced by a video presentation showing the names of Old Boys who are known to have died. So the numbers of men now eligible for committee has also diminished aggravated by the basic need for members to live in Kyneton or district.
Jack Ramsdale the outgoing President has been replaced by Peter H Law who fronts up the association with all previous executive members retaining their portfolios.
Jack Willmott who ninety years ago started school at the then mixed sex Convent was present to deliver an inspiring Alma Mater address. He recalled that after one year at the Convent the Marist Brothers commenced teaching so the Convent became an all-girls school and he had to move to the care of the Brothers. Jack also attended the 21st birthday party when the Association was formed.
Mr Willmott encompassed not only the alumni but the whole Parish revolving around the church of the Holy Rosary. He brought into focus the Parish Priest Joe Ruys and the various groups apart from the Old Boys that make up the Alma Mater. In English, the phrase is variously translated as "nourishing mother", "nursing mother", or "fostering mother", suggesting that a school provides intellectual nourishment to its students but when school closed in 1967 it did fall on the Parish to take the mantle, as was proposed by Jack.
Brother Kevin Hoare and Brother Ian Howes who were teachers at the school in its last years were in attendance and Brother Kevin responded on behalf of the Marists.
He recalled the phasing out of the school and how they commuted daily from Macedon. He then went onto advise where those of the brothers that taught at the school and are still alive are currently engaged in the profession of faith. Whist the Marist Brothers are no longer at the “front of the class” they manage the continuing education in the spirit of the founder Saint Marcellin Joseph Benedict Champagnat (20 May 1789 – 6 June 1840)
In 2015 Marist College Bendigo began as a learning community for students in Year 7 and 8. Br Kevin explained that construction work continues unabated and by 2019 the College will be populated with students from Prep to Year 12.
After a modern version of the “loaves and fishes” presentations of Life Memberships to the late Leo Law’s family and Pat Clohesy concluded the formal proceeding and the rest of the afternoon was taken up by a concert. Many took the opportunity to put the word reunion into its true meaning and were seen yarning or searching through photos and other memorabilia that had been collected and displayed.
So as the Old Boys carry the bat for the next session of play it is hoped that a new zest for life amongst past students may lead to large attendances on the last Sunday of January in 2017 and beyond. How’s that? Not OUT!!!
Written by Michael B Halley
15 January 2016
The Committee of Management of the Old Boys remains the same with President Jack Ramsdale still at the helm. Over 80 people attended the family luncheon and concert that followed the AGM.
Old Boys had come from afar with John Hegerty flying in from Chile and Barry Green attending for the first time from Weddeburn. A number had made the easy run up the Calder Freeway from Melbourne, including some Marist Brothers that had taught at the school.
Michael Halley presented the Alma Mater which was a short history of the forty –six Brothers that taught at the school between 1926 and 1966.
Brother Jack on behalf of the Marist Community responded and was glowing in his acknowledgement of Kyneton as part of the family.
He went on to talk about the new schools that are being established by the Marists and advised that the major Victorian college Assumption at Kilmore will have female principal in 2015.
Reverend Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, President Jack, Committee members, Old Boys and family members. I have the privilege to deliver the Alma Mater address but have been told to be brief. So I will spend one minute on each of the 41 years the school operated.
Alma Mater is about one’s school, which in our case is the Kyneton Marist Brothers College that had a profound impact on the lives of the boys who attended during those forty-one years it operated.
Bricks and mortar make buildings but it is flesh and blood that brings it to life. Nothing lives forever and this is more and more evidenced by the number of past pupils and Brothers who have changed their address to Heaven. So it is behoven to recall some of the flesh and blood that passed through our classrooms.
Sport is as encompassing as religion here in Australia, but if one does not excel at some form you seldom get a mention. This is a truism in reference to our school. Brother Marius once said “there will never be a day that sport of some sort is not reported in the Sun”. The now Herald Sun can dedicate as much as twenty five percent of an edition to sport.
Brother Boniface who was principal at the school for a total of eleven years kept a book of paper clippings, which is basically the only historical record that we have been able to locate. But it only covers our sporting achievements!
On 14 August 1926 we played football against a combined team from Lancefield and Romsey at Lancefield with the final score Kyneton 10 goals 14 behinds and Lancefield 1 point. Scores aside, the historical significance of our first team is recorded with the presentation of the Cerise and Blue jumpers. In October the same year it was reported “A photo of our team has been taken and it is hoped it will be kept in the school as a sort of historical souvenir of the first Marist team in Kyneton”
Form reversals are not new, for when Kyneton played a team from Castlemaine the score was 11 Goals 9 behinds to one point in favour of Castlemaine!
There is saying, the apple does not fall far from the tree! Members of the first team still live on in descendants, many of whom also attended the school. C Vereker, R Buckley, F Halloran, R Beare, J Brown, L Loughran and Mahoney were mentioned in despatches with a note “Buckley and Vereker gave promise of being excellent players”.
And through the years many of our Old Boys are mentioned in the results of the various sporting events. The last record is the 39th Annual Athletic Carnival held at the Showgrounds in October 1964. During the war teams were in keeping with the patriotic spirit and pupils were allocated to R.A.N, R.A.A.F or A.I.F groups with respective captains in 1944, B Sullivan, J McCarthy and James Bowe.
After the war teams became Red Blue and Gold but in 1959 the decision was made to form four houses in the names of Brothers who had taught at the school and were natives of Kyneton. These were Brendon [Red] Benedict [Green] Kenneth [Blue] and Abel [Gold]. Brother Brendon, then aged 90, was born at Hanging Rock, Brother Benedict, then deceased, one of the Comans was born at Pastoria, whilst Brother Kenneth was the first boy of the college to become a brother. He must have been a boarder as Brother Abel was the first day boy to enter the Order.
School of course covers more than sport! On our web site the Brothers are listed and the page is entitled “the men who shaped our life” so try to recall some of the things taught to you by the Brothers that are as appropriate today as they were last century.
I have had the opportunity to travel. On a flight to Italy I said to my colleague “do you know the major rivers of Russia?” He said no; so I “parroted” Volga, Oka, Don, and Dniepr. He asked how I knew that. I said “Jock” Celian taught me!
We all know that our colleague Jack Willmott was at the school in the first year 1926 and many of the boys there in 1967 the last year are with us today. The last Principal of the school Leo McVeigh aka Brother Arnold died on 22 June last year and John Chalmers aka Brother Victor principal in 1958 died on 7 December. Only six of the 46 brothers that taught at Kyneton are still alive.
So as we journey through 2015 let us reflect on two points, things the brothers taught us that have carried us through life and memories of those deceased Old Boys and Brothers who can not be with us today.
So charge your glasses! I give you the Alma Mater.
Young at heart
On 28 January 1949 the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys Association held its first meeting. At the fiftieth annual general meeting in 1999 a gold key ring was presented to Stan Plowman one of the founding members.
Stan has since died but his son Paul organised the annual church service that precedes the election of office bearers and nowadays a family luncheon. Paul, assisted by his mother Pat searched the family treasure trove and put on display a number of trophies and photographs from times past.
Jack Willmott, who was also a foundation member, is still active in the functioning of the association was one of the boys who attended the school in 1927 the commencement year. Jack relates that he was a student at the Convent of Mercy but when the brothers arrived the convent became an all-girls school. As his mother did not have a dress to fit him he was sent to the brothers’ school.
So an overflowing church saw the commencement of the sixty-fifth reunion presided over for the first time by Parish Priest Joe Rhys. Protocols have certainly changed since the late nineteen forties when it was sinful to behave in church otherwise than saintly. Father Joe conducted a service more reflective of this century. For instance he asked for a show of hands of Old Boys in the church and then commented “I know how many to expect next week”! He later explained that the school hymn may now be considered politically incorrect.
The brothers withdrew from the school in 1966 so it has now been closed longer than it was open, but has a very vibrant alumnus conducting charitable undertakings within the Kyneton community. Past pupils are spread across the country so keeping in touch is no mean feat particularly as a sixteen year old in 1966 is now in his mid-sixties. Many have died so to attract the number that attended the annual general meeting is commendable.
Thiry-nine ageing, but young at heart men attended the meeting and participated in a slight changing of the committee of management. David John Ramsdale [more recognisable as Jack] moved into the President’s seat, vacated by Arthur Clarke and has Peter Law as his Vice President. Most other executive and general positions on the committee remain filled by the last incumbent.
So members and extended families assembled for a sumptuous luncheon, and an afternoon of festivities culminating with a medley by the two remaining “crickets”.
The crickets were originally four old boys known in the district for their melody making. John Biddlestone and Gerry Brown have both died leaving Laurie Marshall and Leon Fallon to continue the tradition.
Father Jack Brady after a fifty year absence retuned to be the guest speaker and gave a humorous overview of his early days in the priesthood and his eleven years at Kyneton [1959- 1970]. One recollection was conducting a Sunday mass at Baynton and praying for rain, which the Good Lord provided in abundance, so much so that Bart O’Sullivan contacted him and asked if he could pray for the rain to stop.
We also gained insights into management systems of the late Dean O’Sullivan and his housekeeper Miss Evelyn Paine and the disposal of the Dean’s poultry after his death. The Dean’s introduction to television was related and we found out that “westerns and other stories on TV end in the middle. Miss Paine’s phone remote answering system was sad but humorous!
The Alma Mater was delivered by Frank Walsh and responded to by Brother Kevin Hoare. Frank discussed the association motto Servado Fidem literally meaning loyalty. He commented that a school is only land and a building but the alumni is the loyalty aspect and the Old Boys Association is not only loyal to the old school but to each other and the local community.
It had been related at the general meeting that during the past year over $3500 in cash and much in kind had been dispensed to families in the district that found themselves in necessitous circumstances.
The loyalty aspect had been brought to the fore earlier in the day when Cath Ramsdale was awarded an Honorary Life Membership to acknowledge her ongoing hosting of a monthly meeting and the award winning sponge cakes always provided.
Brother Kevin advised of the changing focus of the Marist Brothers but education is still a tenet of the community. He told of activities in Timor Leste and the soon to be opened co-ed Catholic College at Bendigo. His time at Kyneton in the final years of the school was still part of his happy memories. Relating to prayer he told of a mother praying “God please make my son a better boy” to which the son during his prayers said “I am happy as I am”.
So the New Year for the Association commences! One of the ongoing agenda items is to continue to update the register of deceased Old Boys which is detailed on the web site www.kynetonmaristbrothersoldboys.com.au . So if any of your family attended the school over its forty years of operation and has died please check the list and if he is not listed please advise details.
The 2013 Annual General Meeting was attended by 34 members, but the number was swollen later at the luncheon when 47 people renewed their membership and paid the subscription.
President Arthur Clarke gave his summary of the year past, Len Young gave an account of the financial position and Pat Clohesy read the minutes of the last Annual General Meeting. All reports were accepted by the assembly. [The activities of the Committee are contained in Committee Meetings reports elsewhere on this site]
With changes to the Association Law Pat Clohesy the Secretary also becomes the Public Officer.
Arthur Clarke vacated the chair and Jack Willmott conducted the ballot for 2013 Office Bearers. With the exception of Nick Adams who did not offer for office the committee was returned unchanged. Tom O’Dea applied for the vacant position and was duly appointed.
The only issue is the escalating cost of Public Liability Insurance. Overtures in the past have delivered a reduced price but indications are that the price offered in the future will be not negotiable.
At the luncheon Member John Scott was the guest speaker and gave an insightful overview of the activities beyond the portals of a funeral director. John has archived a number of positions of importance in the state and federal offices of the Funeral Directors Associations. He achieved the Master of Funeral Director award in 2010. But his climax has been the appointment to the World Organisation of Funeral Operatives [http://www.thanos.org/ ] and his convincing the organisers to hold the next World Congress in Western Australia. Delegates from thirty one nations will be attending in March this year.
Jack Willmott delivered the Alma Mater and Frank Walsh gave a stirring response which was certainly food for thought. Both these gents are truly Old Boys Jack being “four score years and ten” and Frank closing in. Their ability to address an assembly with clarity and clear direction reflects on the early education at the hands of the brothers.
The normal concert followed with the Walsh Family Quartet and Len Young keeping the audience’s attention and in good voice when required.
The members who attended the AGM and the eighty diners sets a benchmark for the Committee to beat in 2014.
Natives of Kyneton understand that although more noted for invigorating days it can be very hot as well. Old Boys will recall learning the poem “Underneath the spreading Chestnut Tree the Village Smithy stands”.
So that sets the scene for the 2012 Annual General Meeting of the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys. Commencing with Mass conducted by Father Barry Caldwell the short official proceedings took place in St Mary’s Hall and then a family get together underneath the magnificent spreading chestnut trees in the church garden rounded out a superlative day.
After many years as Vice President Arthur Clarke took the high office and will conduct the business affairs supported by David Ramsdale as Vice President who on unofficial occasions can still be known as Jack!! The rest of the Committee remains unchanged from last year and look forward to supporting the new President.
It took some while for mantle of high office to feel comfortable and for Artie to mingle, but once he hit his straps he went for broke.
The numbers were down a little from previous years but members of the Dempsey family were notable in the attendance as was Gerry Danaher who contributes greatly to our listing of past pupils. Gerry advised that he has been to see Brother Victor who said he is happy to be still thought about although he left the order.
Ill health and other commitments were the reason for apologies received. Father John Hegerty who is a missionary in Chile was in Australia but had family commitments in Perth. Mick Law and John O’Dea were both on the sick list. Danny Bowe, John Scott and Mick Halley had prior engagements that prevented their attendance. Brother Kevin Hoare is working in Alice Springs and also apologised for his absence.
Pat Clohesy donated the raffle prizes which were won by Mary Taylor, Kevin Sundbloom and Leo Law. Sales were initially slow but Jack Willmott and Leo Ramsdale who are probably in the Guinness Book of Records for raffle ticket selling made sure that all available tickets were sold.
So we close in on the seventy anniversary of the formation of the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys we look forward to our new President and Vice President putting their year to good use.
The Annual Requiem Mass for deceased Brothers and Old Boys and their families will be held on Wednesday 8 February 2012 to be followed by the first Committee meeting not chaired by Roly who is now relegated to the back row!!
The 2011 event was held on Sunday 30 January and the attendance was bigger than last year.
The management Committee was re-elected without change
Damian Vella found out about the Old Boys via our web site and had a busy day renewing acquaintances.
Brother Jordan travelled from Adelaide to join with other brothers and responded to the Alma Mater presented by Frank Walsh who was also celebrating his 80th birthday.
The day was an outstanding success and everyone who attended will have fond personal memories.
Around 35 old boys attended the 2010 Annual General Meeting held at the RSL Club on Sunday 24 January 2010.
Jack Willmott asked to be allowed to relinquish his position as Secretary which was not disputed.
Pat Clohesy has accepted the position and his Brother Peter has joined the Committee.
No other management changes were made but John O'Dea has been elected as Bendigo Vice President
Many family members joined in the afternoon's proceeding which including a buffet luncheon and the traditional concert.
Michael Halley presented the Alma Mater and Brother Tom responded on behalf of the Marist Brothers
“God moves in mysterious ways”.
We have all heard the phrase “God moves in mysterious ways”.
On Sunday 25 January 2009 the parishioners of the Combined Catholic Parishes of Kyneton and Trentham were joined by members of the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys Association [Old Boys] for their annual thanksgiving mass before the sixty-third Annual General meeting of the Association.
A member of the Old Boys John Hegerty happened to have taken a vocation and become a Columban Father and happened to be home in Kyneton from his parish in Lima Chile. John officiated at the Mass and to add to the mystique the Gospel for the day was Mark 1: 14-20………. As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him…….
Father John told of his experiences in Lima and clearly showed that there are still Fishers for People following Jesus direction to the Apostles. John’s parish takes in sixty thousand of the nine million inhabitants of Lima and covers twelve communities in the poorest part of the poorest part of the disadvantaged areas. Fifty percent of the people live in poverty 20% are unemployed and 60% are underemployed with little Government support. There is one hospital to cater for nearly two million people in a particularly violent macho society where domestic violence, robbery and assaults are rife. As well there is little understanding of nutrition and admixtures of food that leads to wastage and improper intake of the essential nutrients. [Quite often rice and potatoes are served together.]
The Columban Mission has developed a series of programs beyond the celebration of the mass and includes teaching the values of family life and how to respond as a parent or child. Youth programs focus on interpersonal skills specifically to break the gang mentality and street robbery with violence. The mission of the mission is to Proclaim God’s message by word and actions! Funding is difficult but John said a simple thing like contributing to the Far East magazine is a great boost……………details of the activities of the Columban Mission are at http://www.columban.org
A donation was made to Father John to assist in his work and although in Australia it would be “small beer” in Chile it will give a least one student a chance at tertiary eduction.
Remembering deceased brethren
It is traditional that after the festivities a special mass is convened at another time where people can remember those who have predeceased the collegiate.
Over the past years we have compiled much information including a list of names of past pupils and the thirty two Marist Brothers that have died.
The lists were compiled by the Committee Members and are far from complete but believed to correctly identify deceased mates! [One or two managed to have suffered premature death but corrections were soon made]
The list can be read on the web site or a printed copy can be provided if requested.
It would be appreciated if readers could check the names and advise of any additions or corrections.