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Membership is open to all past students or Marist Brothers and for compliance with the articles of association an annual fee is payable. Financial members attending to Annual General Meeting [AGM] are eligible to vote and debate issues before the committee.

At the AGM a committee is elected comprising of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer , Public Officer and general committee members.

Elected officials are entitled to serve in the position until they resign or are voted against at an AGM.

Activities

The revenue of the association comes from members’ subscriptions, fund raising events and donations. Over the years KMBOBA has held all sorts of fund raising events that are ploughed back into the community of Kyneton without fear or favour and with a clear non-denominational charter.

It is not only monetary assistance that is provided for the community ,for free labour and material is provided for many worthy causes such as house painting and repairs and gardening.

In the early days an annual firewood collection day was important but today wood fires are fewer however traditions remain and firewood is raffled by the trailer load [some is given to the needy] to swell coffers.

KMBOBA provides the agricultural chemicals and some labour to the Kyneton Cemetery Trust to combat weed growth and rubbish. Each year a “shed sale” is held where all manner of donated goods are sold and other events such as “last man standing” and an annual fishing competition are always popular.

Two parishioners bequeathed a sizable sum of money to MBOBA to use for the good of the Community of Kyneton. [Quite specific in will] Fighting off many grabs for the money by other groups and individuals who considered they were entitled was a balancing act for the honorary executive officers of KMBOBA.]

Bequeaths do not come every day and now that the generosity of the Shilliday Brothers has been expended MBOBA is back to having only a couple of thousand dollars a year to deliver their public spirit.

The Shilliday Bequeath

Bernard and James Shilliday were well known, respected, successful farmers in the greater Kyneton district for many years.

It is thought their parents were James Matthew (1879 – 1945) and Margaret Veronica (nee McCarthy) who came from Sunbury, where James Matthew had two brothers – Robert William and Martin Thomas.

Bernie and Jim possibly came to work on “Darlington” at Baynton at first, later leasing the property “Kinrara” at Barfold.

However, they made their eventual home at Emberton, possibly in the late 1940’s, a small district about 25 kms north of Kyneton, buying a property adjacent to the site of St James Catholic Church and School building (built 1868). The school closed in 1892, but the church operated until it was burnt down in the 1944 bushfires.

Although they are not thought to have been living there in 1944, it is thought that the house on that property was also burnt at that time. Subsequently they built a new cream brick house there that still stands near the corner of Shilliday’s Lane and Morgans Road. The Emberton Railway Station was nearby on the old Redesdale line which closed in 1952, as was the Emberton State School. That building was moved to Barfold and became the Hall there in 1895.

Bernie and Jim were both bachelors, the former having a pronounced limp possibly as a result of polio. The combination of being successful prime lamb and wool grower farmers and bachelors no doubt enabled them to be eventually financially well off.

Later in life they purchased a house in Baynton Street, Kyneton (previously the home/surgery of Dr John Connell). They are thought to have divided their time between it and the farm, before the house was purchased by Woolworths for demolition. They would have travelled back and forth in Bernie’s Ford Falcon utility, driven by Jim.

– Information provided by Frank White an Associate of KMBOBA.

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Disbursement of the monies bequeathed

  • Kyneton hospital-operating theatre
  • Kyneton fire station-an extra bay on the new fire station
  • St Mary’s hall-audio system
  • Defibrillators for all five schools in Kyneton and the Showground.
  • The Bluestone Theater appeal
  • Kyneton Swimming Pool appeal
  • Showground electronic scoreboard.

April 2015 The fund is now depleted and the generosity of the Shilliday Brothers is acknowledged.

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The Association In Print

St Mary’s Mission Kyneton – 1852-2002 by V.I.Ramsdale at pages 87 to 98 contains much information about the Marist Brothers and the school. The book also contains a comprehensive history of the Kyneton and district Catholic community.

At the 1992 reunion Peter Law was charged with presenting the Alma Mater. It was published in The Guardian [Kyneton] at page 6 on Friday February 7 1992

Here it is:

It was mum’s third call at the bedroom door
That got my feet to hit the cold floor
Yawning and scratching I sleepily dress
It’s off to the bathroom; hell the hair’s in a mess
A stroke with the comb this way and that
It’s not too bad so on with the school cap
It’s back to the bedroom brothers and sisters rushing by
And it’s on with the honoured old school tie
With the colours of red and blue that are on grey
I grab a piece of toast and I’m on my way
A bag with some books draped over one’s shoulder
I don’t think “The Queen of the Uplands” has ever been colder
Up Yaldwin East at a pretty slow trot
I might catch my mate one called John Scott
Turning into Mollison I’m full of glee
There’s Scottie way up in front of me
With a couple of loud shouts I got him to stop
And caught up to him at Martine’s Butcher Shop
There’s Stan in the window hanging a body of mutton
And we’re off to school at the corner of Powlett and Hutton

Off we head with a bit of haste
This precious time we mustn’t waste
It’s into the hedge behind the Church
Scottie produces a small packet of Turf
With fags ablaze and both puffing hard
Hell here’s Dean O’Sullivan patrolling his yard
With his silver locks and stern looking frown
This is no place to be hanging around
Off with the speed of a startled gazelle
Here’s hoping we haven’t missed the blasted school bell
Running hard both at full gait
We got to the school; you guessed it we’re late
Into the class we try to sneak
Both forgetting the door had a bloody loud squeak
Brother Bonnie bellowed what is this stunt
Both of you up to the front
Come on Brother we haven’t done nothin’
You couldn’t put anything over the legend that taught at the corner of Powlett and Hutton

Great Scoot was up first to the cane wheeling show
As I stood there shaking waiting my go
Taking all mine on the left hand and boy did they hurt
With my right I near ripped my own shirt
The time had come to turn and face my classmates
Well all the bus travellers thought the show great
Back to my desk with my stinging left hand
Don’t show that it’s hurtin’ you’re all but a man
Passing by Bevans, Boswell and Bowe
My real emotions I tried not to show
Down with the shirt sleeve and I’ve done up the button
Boy I had respect for the brothers that taught at the corner of Powlett ‘n’ Hutton

Now school wasn’t all smoking and getting there late
The Brothers, they taught us how to be mates
A kick of the footy or a hit in the nets
Then back into school to study to become doctors or vets
Of course this didn’t happen to most of the lads
But we had a great start to life through the Brothers and our dads
The building still stands with its glazed tiles on top
Memories are plenty and they all mean a lot
Some of the Brothers and students have passed by
Maybe they’re reunited at the school in the sky
Of the schools around the world and there’s millions of others
But there’ll never be another like the Kyneton Marist Brothers
Being a man that has an odd bet
I think the one in the sky will be on the corner of Hutton and Powlett

In a book entitled The Way We Were [ISBN 0 9586071 2 5] published by Floradale Productions Pty Ltd in December1988 contains a chapter [page 20] written by MBOBA member Michael B Halley entitled Driving Rabbits to Despair

It is repeated it here with due regard for Andrew Rule the publisher ‘s copyright. Two dates [shown in red] have been changed.

The release of the rabbit calicivirus might be applauded as a step towards eradicating Australia’s most costly animal pest, but it could also kill off an Australian institution.

The rabbit is probably the most talked about animal in Australia, and for good reason. Many readers will have fond memories of the humble bunny, some good, some bad, and some ugly. I would proffer that the rabbit deserves a place in history, particularly in the middle years of the twentieth century.

My early memories on the farm are certainly rabbit related, but I would like to time warp to a period about which my memory is clearer.

I am one of the lucky five thousand or so who had the privilege to be educated by the Marist Brothers at St Mary’s College, Kyneton, Victoria. The Marist Brothers Old Boys is still a very active charity fund raiser in the district, although the school closed in 1967. An institution that has been closed nearly as long as it was open, but still maintains an active alumni, must have been something in its heyday. The old boys who gather in Kyneton each Australia Day weekend for an annual mass and reunion are proof of that. But to get back to the rabbits – the link between the Marist Brothers old boys and bunnies isn’t as tenuous as outsiders may think.

In the 1950s, when rabbits were a plague, the boys of the old school took the incentive to help the school to pay its way. There was less Government assistance to church schools in those days and the Catholic community in Kyneton had to follow the school hymn Faith of our Fathers!

In order to provide sports equipment for the school a series of rabbit drives were conducted. Like Don Bradman with his stump and golf ball. Our cricketing aspirants had to often “bat” with a pick handle. Their targets were the rabbits fattened on the lush pasture of the best fat lamb country in Victoria. School, their fathers, relatives and friends took part.

A large paddock was selected, and a corner was reinforced with double wire netting in each direction. The beaters started some five miles back and like an escaped football crowd whooped and hollered, beat tins, stamped feet, sooled dogs, ran ferrets, set smoky fires, spilt water – anything to get the rabbits on the move. The aim was to get them into the corner, then kill them for sale to the local rabbit exported, Harry Portelli. Kyneton rabbits fed the world in those days.

Skins were stripped of the carcasses by skilled rabbiters and sold to Jim Duggan at the skin store. We sometimes took notice of the signs on the railway fences, 57 miles to Griffiths Bros tea, to send our skins to J Kennon & Sons.

The “myxo” [myxomatosis for the technically minded] was set amongst the rabbit population in the middle 1950s and the numbers fell so fast that the rabbit drives became unviable. Some say it spelt the demise of the fur felt hat.

Whether the rabbit will be totally eradicated by the calicivirus only time will tell, but those who grew up in Victoria in the post-war years won’t forget the little furry creature. I still take and opportunity to catch and cook a bit of “underground mutton” for old time’s sake.

There may not be rabbits next century but the Marist Brothers Old Boys will still have a reunion in January. Be sure to visit us and we’ll drive you mad with rabbit stories.