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2019 Visit to Torrumbarry

Piscatorial Experiences!

Piscatorial is an adjective of or concerning fishermen or fishing. The Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys have been visiting the Torrumbarry Weir Tourist Park to foster this pursuit for more than twenty years.

As with any assembly there is often a prize for a member that by actions or omissions becomes the stand-out participant. To immortalise the annual winner a perpetual trophy was established and named Possum Trophy. This is in memory of Brother Paul Bourke who taught at the school for many years. Paul was one of many brothers that taught at the school from 1926 until 1967 and to which Old Boys owe a debt of honour.

The group that came together on the first weekend in May 2019 included   three octogenarians and many quickly approaching or have eligibility for a Seniors Card. Males; particularly in older age have more frequent relief visits. With shared accommodation the inevitable interrupted sleep by some “needing a visit” will occur. If one adds a second “S“ to piscatorial the meaning more or less reflects the situation!

Norm Schmidt has been a frequent visitor over the years and purports to be an expert piscatorialian. But he has seldom bagged a fish to get bragging rights. But waking his Bunkie’s over ten times during Friday night got him the nomination for the Possum Trophy. If that was not sufficient at breakfast he described a crumpet as one of those “round things”.

Vice President Roly Sandilands was presenting the Possum Trophy to Norm when from around the darken corner came a glowing surprise. Judy and Peter Law had entrusted Jack Ramsdale and Len Young to transport and deliver a birthday cake for Michael Halley who attained octogenarian status on May 7th. Michael was surprised with the generous thought and effort but still found time to deliver one of his long dissertations, which began with saying he recalled being born and that his mother was there at the time. Finally [phew] he acknowledged the Marist Brothers whom he said were “the men who shaped our lives”. The boys also penned personal remarks on an appropriate card. 

The judges’ decisions are final for the Possum Trophy, but Len Young “threw the keys into the ring” on Sunday morning after most had departed. His effort would have relegated Norm to second place if it had been earlier in the day!


2018 visit to Torrumbarry

Possums Invading Mildura

The Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys held their annual excursion to Torrumbarry Weir Tourist Park this past weekend. [20 to 23 April] 

The weekend gathers up fishers and non-fishers who are members of the Old Boys Association that was formed in August 1947. Members and selected friends use the three days to renew acquaintances and catch up with the news since the last meeting.

The school closed in 1967 but the Old boys Association is still delivering community support to those in Kyneton and district that find themselves in necessitous circumstances. Given that fifty years have passed since the school closed and ninety-two since it opened the ranks of Old Boys are thinning so a special time is dedicated to remembering those who have died. This year was particularly poignant as one of last year’s attendees had died, and Tom Walsh of Trentham, believed to be the oldest Old Boy passed away on 17 April.

That honouring ceremony morphs into what big business calls networking opportunities and folks are free to do whatever takes their fancy. But, like all kind, hunger will bring the herd together, and the nominated camp cooks prepare sustainable meals. Communal efforts ensure tidiness and discipline.

No group gathering goes by without some noteworthy action and an award fitting the group is given. [E.g. Golf’s NAGA Football’s Down-low]  The Torrumbarry visitor adjudged the winner becomes the holder of the Possum Trophy for the next twelve months. The trophy is named in honour of Brother Paul “possum’ Bourke the Principal at the school when most of the active Old Boys were finishing their education.

There were a number of contenders including Kevin Mustard the 2017 winner, who was reluctant to lose the trophy. Although he had a toehold for some time Kevin was found wanting toward the end of the activities. Others also slipped behind as the days progressed.

Gerry Laverywho now lives in Mildura was the judges’ choice as the 2018 winner. The reason for his selection is known only to those who were in attendance and remains so, to protect Gerry and other winners from possible mockery or even blackmail! No doubt the Possum Trophy will enjoy a vacation to sunny Mildura and away from chilly Kyneton this winter.


2017 Fishing adventure

With baited breath!

The annual visit to Torrumbarry Weir Tourist Park by members of the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys association and selected friends took place on Mother’s Day weekend [May 12th to 14th].

Most had been given a leave pass, but all departed Sunday morning in time to get home for family activities. Apart from Kyneton, members from Sunraysia and metropolitan Melbourne made the pilgrimage. 

The assembly is a diverse group with ardent fishers and equally passionate land lubbers. But the mix adds to the orderly operation of the camp. Whilst some are away fishing others prepare the food and keep the home fires burning.

President Peter Law was not in attendance this year due to a bout of ill health, but Vice President Brian Fleming rose to the challenge and ensured that the tradition of good food and good humour was delivered. 

Part of the activities is a tipping competition which was won by the said Brian Fleming but no protest was entered. Last year Kevin Willey from Nagambie had entered a protest which the chief steward Len Young dismissed as frivolous.

All had been forgotten, for during dinner Saturday evening Len made a presentation to Kevin to mark his 80th birthday the milestone which he passed in January. Roly Sandilands provides the wood for the cooking and heating and is chief stoker. He got a bit close to one piece and it was suggested that he be called “Roly Poley”.

The school closed in 1967 but the alumni are vibrant and active in Kyneton and district undertaking community support. We all remember one teacher from our school days and the majority of the committee were taught by Brother Paul Bourke.

Brother was known as Possum when he was a seminarian and that name went with him though his life. To make these weekends more memorable an award is given to the person that conducts themselves in a manner that sticks in others memories.

The recipient has his name engraved on the perpetual Possum Trophy. This year it was won on a clear decision of the judges by well know Kyneton identity Kevin Mustard. Kevin was a guest and gave an impromptu comedy and vocal concert which put him in the running, but it was his fishing acumen that clinched the day.

He announced that he was going to catch a fish and commenced to get his gear ready. First the line was so tangled that it had to be cut and reduced in length. Then came the bait; he took out a piece of cheese and tried to cut a piece with a knife but failed. Not to be beaten he decided to use the wood splitter to make some small pieces; that too failed so more traditional bait had to be used.  Kevin later determined that the cheese was a couple of years old.

October 2016 sick list

Jim Barron is in the Kyneton Hospital with serious kidney and herat conditions, He expects to return home soon but will need constant medical attention.


Meanwhile Peter Law can not shake off a debilitating virus that has curtailed him for weeks.


Peter Clohesy and Jack Ramsdale are both still undergoing medical treatment for their respective illnesses.

Sausages but no snags

The first Saturday in June was a typical Kyneton winter’s day with biting winds driving the sleet around the BBQ but the volunteers manned the sausage sizzle despite the conditions.

The Old Boys attended in good numbers but absent were Brian Patrick Fleming and Jack Willmott. Brian had to attend his grandson’s football match at Golden Square before he heads north for the rest of the winter.

Jack Willmott has, much to his chagrin, become a resident at Ray M Begg Kyneton Aged Care and his “pope mobile” lays dormant at his previous residence. We wish Jack all the best for his settling in period at his new home.

Overall this was one of the best days in the “kitchen “for many a year. Twenty one [21] kilograms of sausages were devoured by the passing parade to warm the insides and ignore the sleet.

The competition for a trailer load of firewood was won by Mary Taylor [nee Patterson] but not having an open fire she handed it over to her niece Sophie Collins. It is hoped that hubby Richard is warmed as they burn the wood.

Interestingly Mary was the first entry that President Peter Law accepted but we see no conspiracy.


2016 Fishing expedition

Every year members of the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys Association [Old Boys] and selected friends travel to the Peoples Republic of Torrumbarry [PRT] where the reigning President of the Old Boys becomes the supreme commander for the period of occupation. 

The closest location in Australia is the now deserted township of Patho which is in the annuals of Victorian History and was even passed by Burke and Wills. 

  PRT   El Presidente Peter Law welcomed the score of folks who journeyed from all parts of the state and made special mention of our mates who had died since the first excursion to PRT. It was a year and a week since the camp chef-de-mission Leo Law died. Kevin Tresidder, Gerry Brown and one of the more notable regular attendees “Sunny” Sundblom were also remembered.

The sun shone bright every day and warmed the atmosphere until the fires for cooking and heating were set ablaze by the flametender Roly Sandilands. The assembly was diverse with many reasons for being in attendance. Some had come for fishing, others for relaxation and some for devilment. 

The blue green algae bloom that has engulfed the Murray River was notable but folklore dictated that if your bait is deep enough any fish you catch is safe to eat. The reasonably sized Yellow Belly caught by Lenny Hourigan has been consumed with no ill effects.

It was interesting that the Patho Plains were predominately used to grow wheat, oats, and barley which was turned into chaff or kept intact for stock feed. One of the attendees was Owen Perry whose family business of Chaff production is a long established Kyneton icon.

Hay and chaff have been used as animal feed in Victoria since the 1830s when hay was cut by hand with sickles. Horse drawn binders, which made sheaves from cut cereals, were developed in the 1880s. After a few days of lying on the ground, the sheaves were stooked with pitchforks and dried before being carted for stacking. The making of a hay stack required precision skills. 

Michael Halley and Owen had stories to swap as Michael’s father Tom used to build haystacks for Perry’s and Watson’s Straw envelope factory and was always involved in the harvest when chaff cutters were taken into the paddock and driven by traction engines.

Michael Halley is responsible to provide the deserts to compliment the sumptuous meals prepared on site by the maître de Jack Ramsdale and assistants. The traditional steamed plum pudding was served on the first evening with a brioche bread and butter pudding and a French styled fruit crumble for the celebratory roast dinner.

One of the guests Graeme Edwards a member of the Renault Car Club brought along his newly acquired specked up Clio and went from PRT to Rob Roy to partake in the hill climb competition. Graeme recorded 26.96 seconds which is just over a second outside my personal best of 25.88 seconds. The ever competitive Graeme is slightly constrained by the effects of Chemotherapy and is determined to better the results next competition.

Kevin Willey was leading the tipping competition from race one but was pipped on the post when an outsider won the last. Kevin entered a protest that was quickly dismissed by Chief Steward Len Young. Brian Fleming nursing a “football injury” imitated Michael Jackson  with a colourful glove on the injured hand, but at one stage introduced himself as Elvis.

Part of the weekend is the awarding of the Possum Trophy which is in memory of Brother Paul Bourke [Possum] and is for the outstanding activity during the weekend. Arthur Clarke now joins Brian Fleming as a winner for the second time. The PRT Minister for Information declined to provide details of Mr Clarke’s exploits but Vino Veritas was mentioned in passing.

The planning for the next excursion to PRT is well in hand and all are welcome.




Class photos:

 Photographic record

Gerry Danaher and others have provided many photos of past classes but it is nigh on impossible for them to be posted here on the web site.


We have the photo that covers the assembelled class shown below. If you would like a copy just ask!

FORM 3 1960

Back Row:  Bill Scott: Brian Lee: Leo Mudford: Gerry Danaher: Denis O’Donnell

Middle Row: Greg French: Adrian Donovan: Russell Mangan: Denis Collery: 

 Kevin Falloon: Paul Donovan

Front Row: Colin O’Sullivan: Ted Beattie: Jim Cusack:  Rodney Mumford:

  Jim Lavery: Noel Boyer: Brian Sheppard

Photo and names supplied by Gerry Danaher


 A question was asked at the reunion about Terry Rowe who after graduation became a wheat farmer in the Mildura area. The Mildura Vice-President Gerry Lavery provided this information:-

I know Terry Rowe his brother Barry Rowe married my sister Maureen. Barry died on the 2nd December 2003 in Geraldton WA is buried at Mullawa WA. Maureen is living in Geraldton visits Victoria a couple of time every year. When in Mildura she always visits Terry who lives in Mildura and is alive although not as fit as he used to be! Terry used to attend Sunday morning mass in Mildura so I would see him a fair bit and speak to him.

 Although since his last hospital stay in mid 2015 he is unable to drive and has to rely on taxi’s to get to mass which is a bit much for him. I used to work with Terry in the shearing sheds around Sandon that’s where the Rowe family farm was after they left Kyneton. He also used to help Barry out at the Barfold Vic farm when I worked for Barry. Terry’s wife is Beryl they has one son who runs the farm at Merrinee near Werrimull Vic and one daughter who lives in Melbourne.

Posted 4 February 2016

The 2015 excursion to Torrumbarry Weir 


Michael Halley was unable to attend this year so a verbatim report from Peter Law is being published.[Some minor modifications have been made]


A GREAT TRIP...lots of chat and drinkies. Kev [Kevin Willey] had a good time.... Roly [Sandilands] must have been a bit off because the hole under the chair wasn’t quite as big as the norm.


Our normal funny man Paul Healey could not attend due to his mum’s illness! However the replacement Mr. Kevin Mustard a renowned mop bucket player and story teller filled the bill, he is a funny man and will be coming next year.


2016 trip is already booked for the weekend of the 18th 19th 20th March 2016.


At breakfast on Sunday there was a national disaster when the cook L.J.L  [Leo Law] was cooking the eggs which were supplied by Mal Tyquin. (it couldn’t have worked better really)


Leo came to the last 4 eggs in the carton and unbeknown to all he had some trouble cracking the shell so he tried another one same result then smelt a rat and investigated only to find the last for had been boiled....”tykie” had done the job so therefore winning the possum trophy. [Perpetual trophy for a stand out performance during the weekend! [Named in memory of Brother Paul Bourke]


However there was another great effort again by the president [Jack Ramsdale]....phone call to Leo from Elmore…”have you left yet?' Leo.no …can u pick the eggs up from tykies” Leo ok ....not much time after, a call to Leo from

Rochester ‘have you left yet' Leo no can you go to pups place and pick up the fish and potato cakes Leo ok.


But you have to give it to Jack once again he had everything hid the 3 huts.....no sweets only two fruits'do we have any cream jack asks arty' no reply....cream was found this morning packing up, it was hiding behind the orange juice which was not used .....in the fridge .....


Arty [Arthur Clarke] ,Leo and Owen Perry caught a few fish Yellow belly....


To Michael Halley..get mending because you were sadly missed by all...catch up PH



Kevin Rowe

Kevin Rowe who lived in Kyneton for only a few years attended the school in the mid 1940’s. He contacted us via the web site and provided a photo and the names of the students.


The sports record shows: -

In temperature of 99F at Barkly Square [due to meadow hay being cut at racecourse] on an unknown date in 1945 Kevin Rowe was placed third behind Terry Barron and Gerry Brown in throwing the cricket ball. Terry set a record at 80 feet and 4 inches for the under nine group. Kevin and Gerald O’Reilly were third in the Cock Fights [how politically incorrect!] Gerry Brown/M Dexter won with Terry Barron/Barry Green second. 

Many of the others that took part in sports that day have died.

Those in the photo are:-

Back Row: Jim Leahy - Joe Derricot -Thomas Hayes- Blair Morrison -Douglas Ferris- Arthur John Hayes -Bill Trehwella  -Brian Green

Middle Row: Graham Devaney -John Tyndall -John Mc Inerny -Colin Pavelitich- Kevin Lynch- John Shearman- Bill Mudford- Noël Maloney - Kevin Rowe- Brian Fleming- John(widy)Beer 

Front Row: Ken Roberts  -Martin Dexter- Keith Chapman - Brother Conan -Snooks O’Reilly -Frank Crow -Peter Main 

We have acopy of the photo but can not uplaod it to the web site. If you want to see it just ask.


On the Sick List

Our Emeritus Old Boy Jack Willmott had a spell in John Faulkner Hospital with a bout of pneumonia   but was discharged and returned home on Friday23 May 2014

V.i Ramsdale is Bendigo Hospital in a quite serious condition. The Last Rites were administrated and as often happens some improvement was noted.

V.I is known in her own right as the author of The Journey Turns Full Circle a history of the Church on the occasion of its 150th Anniversary in 2002. But she is also the spouse of Leo a long time stalwart of the Old Boys.


Conjoined Possums 

After another year of community support the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys took some rest and recreation. In the recent past they topped up the needed funds to secure the future of The Bluestone Theatre Kyneton; and made a sizeable donation in support of Courtney’s Crew. The latter is a fund raising effort in memory of Courtney Keast tragically killed in January. 

The have an annual excursion to Torrumbarry Weir on the Murray River at Patho a somewhat remote location. The area is a favourite spot for fishers and some of the Old Boys actually are followers of piscatorial delights. Some are closet aquaphobics and remain around the camp to assist with catering and keeping the fires alight for both warmth and cooking.

One of the treasured but not sought mementoes of the weekend is the Possum Trophy. The plaque is so named to honour the memory of Brother Paul Bourke a long term Principal the school, nick-named possum more as a term of endearment than derogatory. [Actually the name was given to him as a young seminarian] 

Eligibility to be named on the trophy is open to all participants and is adjudged by two Vice Presidents of the alumni association. The criteria is somewhat flexible but is awarded to reflect a memorable part of the weekend.

Len Young the association treasurer has attended all weekends over the last two decades but has never been conspicuous as he maintains an important behind the scenes function and is also official photographer. He could be called “Teflon Len”!

But even on Teflon something will stick; so it came to pass on the most recent weekend for Len. Set to capture his first photograph of the day he exclaimed “my [expletive deleted] card is still in the computer at home”. No one was going to beat that so the judges were relaxed and less observant. However favourites often get beaten!

The inaugural winner was Brian [Flemmo] Fleming way back in the year 2000 so as a past winner was more or less excluded! Since the sad demise of Keith McGowan Flemmo has become the Irish Singer Daniel O’Donnell’s unofficial public relations manager. He arrived in “mummy’s” car playing a tape of his favourite singer and over the next three days switched it on a played it to taunt those less inclined to Irish music and lyrics.

As the camp was packed up and departure was happening Brian shook everyone’s hand and bade fond farewells as he sat in the driver’s seat. But all of musical interludes had flattened the battery on mummy’s car much to the delight of all and sundry.

Whilst he was being helped to get the car going the judges took a decision that 2014 would see joint names engraved on the trophy. The last time this occurred was when two lads fell out of their bunk beds at the same time.

So if you see Len or Brian in your travels extend hearty congratulations for contributing to the history of the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys.



At the 2014 AGM Brother Kevin Hoare advised that Brother Tom Maher was in Adelaide on retreat when he had a fall. he was indisposed for some weeks but is now back in Brisbane and fully recovered.


We received a letter from  Brother Victor Chalmers former headmaster at the school who was appointed in 1958...he came across the web site by chance and he said he was impressed that the old boys were still active ....he is no longer a brother and left the order not long after leaving Kyneton....he was flattered to be on the list of headmasters....but goes on to say "there is another list that has me down as "Victor Chambers RIP", its a rumour, I’m eighty and quite well....

His address and email are.....John G Chalmers 2a Boscarne Ave Torquay 3228    jmchal@iprimus.com.au 

The web site has been altered to “raise the dead”! Sorry John but it was the brothers who gave us the list of deceased

  • On Sunday 13 December 2009 the sun shone brightly on the Kyneton Football Oval where the families of members gathered for the annual fish luncheon. 
  • In some cases three generations of an old boy's family were in attendance. More than twenty members dropped in during the afternoon.
  • Jack Ramsdale and Len Young took the responsibility to prepare the food which was deep fried fish, scallops, potato chips and cakes, together with dim-sims. The table service was provided by Brian Fleming and Peter Law. Accompaniments for the freshly prepared food was provided by the ladies and consisted of several salads and other condiments.
  • Desserts were also provided and although not low calorie were very popular-------------after all it is Christmas!
  • After the food had gone Santa arrived to treat the children with ice cream and sweets and specially selected presents from Santa's own workshop.
  • President Roly Sandilands thanked the attendees for support and also the chefs and wait staff.
  • A good day was had by all!
  • David Gellion sent in a request to correct the spelling of his father' Jack's name in the deceased old boys register. He provided this family insight: -
  • Dad worked with Goldsbrough Mort in Wycheproof for about 10 years until we moved to Cobram in 1966 where he joined Younghusbands. He worked for a number of companies around the Cobram/Numurkah area after that.
  • I wouldn't remember to many of his connections as I only a young fella at the time.
  • My mother led me away from being a stock and station agent and pointed me in the direction of being an engineer - a good choice at the time.
  • Gerard Danaher has been compiling a listing of the Class of 1958. It is a work in progress and any students from that year are asked to send in their details and any other names.  
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