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2024 Reunion

Len Young, Michael Halley and Roly Sandilands

Maintaining tradition

The Marist Brothers came to Kyneton on Sunday, July 25, 1926, and commenced teaching the next day. Teaching commenced at St Marys’ school where a large classroom was placed at the brother’s disposal. Later their permanent building was constructed at the Corner of Powlett and Hutton Streets. [Building still standing and occupied]

To commemorate the Brothers’ arrival, a 21st Birthday celebration was held at Kyneton on August 2-3 1947 when 150 past students gathered at a reunion dinner from many parts of Victoria, and later formed an Old Boys ‘ Association.

The association continues as part of the fabric of Kyneton and each year holds an annual reunion. So on Sunday 28 January 2024 the seventy-seventh event came to pass when forty-three members and family attended a luncheon at the Shamrock Hotel. More than a dozen apologies were recorded which indicates that past pupils of the school maintain an interest.

With the passing of seven and a half centuries the original one hundred and fifty attendees is an unattainable attendance target. Those originals identified as deceased are included in the association web site on the Honour Roll which numbers close to four hundred.

The last year the brothers taught at Kyneton was 1967. Brother Kevin Hoare and Brother Peter Howes along with the late Brother Arnold [Leo McVeigh] saw in and out the final couple of years. Brother Kevin now living at Bendigo again came to the luncheon and was busy networking.

The meals provided by the hotel catering staff were generous and delicious indicated by only empty plates being taken back to the kitchen. Formalities of the day were limited with a short address by President Roly Sandilands and a memorial address covering the six members whose death had been advised since our last assembly.

Covid markedly affected the fund raising activities of the Old Boys association. Community support has continued despite meagre resources. A raffle with a thousand dollar value is again being conducted and will be drawn at the annual fishing excursion to Torrumbarry Weir Holiday Park on 16 March 2024.

Much detail about the past activities of the school and the Old Boys. Included is the aforementioned Honour Roll for our deceased colleagues. Unfortunately all records of the school were lost after the closure and determining the names of past pupils is a difficult task. Readers are encouraged to check Deceased Old Boys – Honour Roll – Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys Association and provide any information that is not included.

July 2026 which will be the centenary of the Marist Brothers coming to Kyneton and after next year’s reunion which will be on Sunday 26 January the Management Committee will consider if something special can be done for the momentous occasion.

2023 Reunion

Brian Fleming holds court!

The saying two’s company three’s a crowd was in play at the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys Association’s annual reunion held at the Bowling Club on Sunday 29 January 2023.

Fifty past pupils and family members registered to attend the event, but as ever a handful did not arrive. Kevin Sullivan and school mate Kelvin  Boyer had made a pact to attend “if you do I will”. It came to pass that these two were in company of others who were at the school with them, and it soon became a crowd as others came forward to renew relationships.

Before this gathering a Mass was held at the Church of the Holy Rosary conducted by Father Declan who after this formality came to the luncheon as a guest. The school hymn is “Faith of Our Fathers” which has always been sung at the reunion Mass. Smaller congregations and the passing of time has put the future of the hymn under consideration.

The Brothers withdrew from Kyneton in 1967 after forty one year’s presence. The Old Boys association was formed in 1947 and even with a scattered whereabouts of the living and the increased numbers on the Deceased Honour Roll it is still active in community support.  Students from classes in mid-forties and the last year were present and an apology was received from one nonagenarian, no longer able to attend.

Brother Kevin Hoare the last principal at Kyneton came from his retirement home at Bendigo and was very much in demand and engaged in reminiscences.  [Kevin was taxied by Jack O’Dea] Forty two brothers taught at the school during its four decades and five others besides Kevin Hoare are still in the land of the living, albeit some are infirm and needing care.

The formal part of the meeting was quickly dispensed with by President Roly Sandilands; then a remembrance of the six members whose deaths were reported during the past year with a minute’s silence was a reminder of life’s fragility. Records of the school vanished so gathering information is a difficult task. Over 400 names are noted on the deceased Honour Roll [Deceased Old Boys – Honour Roll – Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys Association]. Any additional names will be gratefully appreciated.

A two course meal was served, after which folks moved about and renewed friendships or found new connections. A box of memorabilia held by the Plowman family was opened, and offered many surprises. In keeping with technology that could not have been envisaged during school days many whipped out their phone and took photos of records or mates.

The Association’s coffers have diminished since Covid put paid to fund raising activates for them and other community organisations. Hopefully some normality is returning! A raffle with a first prize valued at one thousand dollars is being conducted. The draw will be held at Torrumbarry on 18 March 2023 when another annual event will take place. This is a fishing weekend when participants vie for the Possum Trophy.

To comply with the rules appropriate to an incorporated association an Annual General meeting will be held at a time and place to be determined. In the interim pertinent information will be posted on the web site.

The new Committee will be responsible to organise the 2024 Annual Reunion which will be held on Sunday 28 January.

2022 Reunion

Frank Hanrahan and Bill O’Connell Reminisce

Reunion and Coeducation

In the forty years that the Marist Brothers taught at Kyneton it was solely a place of education for boys. This male only domain carried on into the future as the Old Boys Association formed in 1947 continued with membership of past students. In this new century the coeducation bandwagon has rolled along with increasing speed, and stopped at Kyneton to pick up support.

Most of the boys who attended the Marist Brothers for their secondary schooling had experienced coeducation in their formative years. In Kyneton most catholic boys’ primary education was at St Teresa’s under the control of the Sisters of Mercy. In outlying districts it was often only the state education available to those who later became borders or commuting day students.

The Old Boys have always arranged an annual reunion, and Sunday 30 January 2022 was the allocated day for the seventy-fifth occasion. It was truly an event that gave credence to a dictionary definition:-“a social gathering attended by members of a group of people who have not seen each other for some time.” What used to be a male only gathering is now coeducational as wives and female family make up a large percentage of the attendees. This is reinforced by fact that Sisters Madeline and Carol are Honorary Life members of the Old Boys Association and attended Sunday’s luncheon.

A fifteen year old boy in the last year of the school in 1967 is now in his mid-fifties and many of his predecessors have died. Records of the school have been lost but it is estimated that around two thousand boys passed through the school portals. It was reported that during the past year ten names were added to the honour roll of deceased members. During the formal proceedings Vice-President Gerry Lavery gave a short eulogy as each was mentioned and period of reflection was held.

In the uncertainty of formal gatherings the committee secured the function centre at the Kyneton Bowling Club and a sumptuous two course buffet was provided. All acceptors attended, from as far afield as Wodonga, Mildura and Melbourne.

Paul Plowman brought along a poultice of memorabilia that became the focus of attention for many and clearly showed the influence the Marist Brothers and the Old Boys Association has had on Kyneton for close on one hundred years.

This year marks the sesquicentenary of the Marist Brothers in Australia. Kyneton was the fourth of nineteen schools opened in Victoria, but changing demographics in the middle of the twentieth century meant it could not continue. Brother Kevin Hoare who was teaching at the school in its last year generally attends the reunion but the Covid restrictions kept him safer at home with four other Brothers who are all octogenarians.

As the year continues those who attended the reunion can build on their memories and God willing will be around to comeback on Sunday 29 January 2023 for the next reunion.

2021 AGM and Requiem

The annual general meeting was held on Wednesday 10th February following the Requiem Mass for deceased Old Boys and families.

There were a number of members apart from the Committee at the Mass which was conducted by Father Declan.

At the AGM it was moved and passed unanimously that the current Committee remain in place for the coming year.

President Roly thanked members for their assistance during a controversial year. He made mention that the highlight was the fishing trip that we managed to have before the shut-downs due to Covid.

Billy O’Connell was the “chauffeur”  for Kevin Law and was becoming quite adept at pushing the wheelchair. Kevin believes he is the youngest person to become a member of the Association. He joined immediately after finishing school.

The restrictions on the population due to the Coronavirus have had several adverse effects on the  Association.

The annual reunion, and after activities did not go ahead, as there was a great uncertainty as to what the rules would be on the targeted day. Under the rules applicable to the operating of an Association we are obligated to hold a General meeting before June of each year.

Again, this threw up difficulties, but as noted above it was held on 10 February following the Requiem Mass for deceased Old Boys and families. During the year the death of six past pupils of the school were recorded.

Fund raising over the past twelve months was not possible for us or other special interest groups. As a result our residual funds were depleted. Whilst it was known that a deficit was looming the decision was taken to update our Web Site. Proactive member Tom Hayes proposed that some members could contribute something toward the cost. A number of donations came forward and the cost was reduced significantly.

The only coming activity planned is the excursion to Torrumbarry Tourist Park on 12th and 13th March were attendees will all be eligible to become immortalised as the winner of the Possum Trophy.

Reserve Sunday 30 January 2022 for our next Annual General Meeting and the family reunion!

2020 AGM and Requiem

At the Annual General Meeting postponed from the advertised date until Wednesday 12 February 2020 President Paul Plowman advised that he was not seeking re-election but would remain on the Committee.

The meeting was held at the Presbytery after the Requiem Mass for deceased Old Boys which was attended by the “usual suspects” and few parishioners. Father Declan was very encouraging in his address as he related the Old Boys that he has come to know since being appointed to Kyneton. He said that the Old Boys commitment to assisting the parish is commendable and reflects the grounding gained from the Marist Brothers. He linked the attitude of the Old Boys to the Beatitudes of Jesus.

President Paul summed up the past year as one of achievement in the face of diminishing members and the general state of a society which is becoming more self-indulgent. He thanked the Committee members for all the attention to detail given over the year. Particular mention was made of Mick Halley and his management of the web site, and the Honour Roll of deceased Old Boys.

Paul said that the Reunion meeting was an excellent event and has “raised the bar” for the coming years. His suggestion that the Annual General Meeting be held on a date different to the reunion Mass was generally accepted by the Committee.

Paul thanked Father Declan for his acknowledgment of the Old Boys and providing the venue for the meeting, In the absence of the Treasurer Len Young Paul gave an oversight of the finances which are satisfactory for the continued charitable undertakings of the Association.

Apart from the reunion and membership fees the two sausage sizzles allocated by the Council is the main source of income.

Pat Clohesy made mention of the catering and the sterling work done by Jan Young, Pat himself, Jack Ramsdale and Brendan Sheppard  were the rest of the team that prepared and delivered food to the attendees at the meeting, and were basically left unsung.

Jack Ramsdale proffered that Paul Plowman had brought the association back from possible oblivion which was reinforced by other comments.

The consensus was that the reunion was a success and most attendees were happy. A concern about the acoustics was raised for attention during the year.

The Old Boys have been invited to participate in the 40th anniversary of Our Lady of the Rosary school. The Kyneton members are the logical people to take up the invitation.

The annual election of office bearers then took place with Roly Sandilands being elected for a second term as President and Michael Halley becoming his deputy. All other positions were re-appointed, and not conforming members removed from the Committee

2020 Reunion

Generally unannounced, the 2020 Annual Reunion undertook a significant change in proceedings. The traditional report on the year’s activities and the election of office bearers was postponed to coincide with the Requiem Mass for Old Boys, Brothers and families scheduled for Wednesday 12 February.

A family gathering had been organised, and the difficulty in accommodating the AGM whilst setting up St Mary’s Hall for a buffet luncheon meant shelving the AGM.

After the 10.30 am Mass officiated by Father Declan O’Brien, assisted by Brother Kevin Hoare the congregation gathered in the hall, to find tables and chairs decked out for the occasion. Around one and one half person for each of the seventy four years the Association has been meeting sat, and were provided with a sumptuous buffet meal before arranged entertainment commenced.

Although the Alma Mater had not been recited for a number of years Committee member Paul Brannaghan read a tribute to the late Brother Boniface [Kivilgham] who taught at the school in three tours of duty totalling eleven years.

The Madden sisters had compiled a memorabilia essay about Brother encroaching upon the Sacred Heart Ladies College and “scandalising the nuns by training their precious girls in all things track and field [including long jumps and high jumps] on the Oval.”

This worthwhile historical résumé of a man passionate about fitness generally, and sporting prowess in particular will be produced as a separate story!

A sporting theme having been floated and the guest presenter for the day was introduced by President Paul Plowman. The management committee had arranged for Liam Pickering who played AFL football for North Melbourne and Geelong to attend and address the assembly.

Liam now manages a string of current players which include Garry Ablett Jnr and Buddy Franklin. Liam and Gary’s father played in the same team at Geelong.  In total forty male and thirty female AFL players are in his care! During his time as player the Premiership eluded him but Liam played eight years amongst some of the finest.

The next three quarters of an hour were taken up by a question and answer session with the moderator asking a series of prepared questions and Liam giving quite long and detailed answers, most of which strayed from the question but expanded upon the subject or an associate.

On balance, endeavouring to cover all of the topics will not do justice. But the final subject was about social media, and the risk that current young footballers run by “running off with the text finger”. Liam kicked the ball back into the Clubs’ domain and encouraged them to be humane and caring as they nurture young boys who really have little life’s experience and can fall into trouble.

The meeting then reverted to tradition with the theme song led by Len Young which is the world war one song. Here we are! Here we are! Here we are again!

God willing we will come together on 24 January 2021 to reminisce and reflect.


Alma Mater

The Alma Mater this year took the form of reflections on Brother Boniface. It is posted under TESTIMONIALS

2019 Reunion

Not just a copper

The seventy second annual reunion of the Marist Brothers Old Boys Association took place on Sunday 27 January 2019, commencing with a service at the Church of the Holy Rosary and concluding in the parish hall.

The annual general meeting of members was dispensed with in accordance with rules of Associations. At the end of proceedings the management committee remains under control of President Paul Plowman and the other executives.

Over forty members, family and guests then partook in a buffet lunch. This year the guest speaker was Leading Senior Constable Jason Azzopardi who is stationed at Gisborne and has the title of Macedon Ranges Youth Resources Officers Western Region Division 5. But in layperson terms he is Vice President of KidzFlip which he helped to launch in 2016 and continues on a daily basis to engage with youth in the Macedon Ranges Shire. Jason is also a Marist Brother’s Old Boy from the Traralgon School.

He is not just a copper, but a proactive advocate for early intervention. It is very much reminiscent of the manner in which the Kyneton police managed the young community in the years that the Marist Brothers conducted the school [1926 to 1967]. The brothers always engaged with the police and community leaders as they shaped the boy’s lives.

KidzFlip has a mission to empower youth to become global citizens, by building skills through engagement with the community. Jason held the audience attention as he relayed stories about conducting an open door drop in centre for young kids. The object is to guidance and mentoring before out of control actions lead to proceedings being taken in accordance with the law. Remedial action to change habits and encourage other life choices is the best outcome.

For parents in the assembly whose children had an untroubled upbringing the stories that Jason related about young people who come from dysfunctional families and have mental health issues were chilling. But as Newton’s Third Law states “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”! By KidzFlip and other community intervention many young people on a path to self-harm or criminal actions have been turned around.

The organisation, apart from Jason and other police has a doctor and  a bail justice on the team. A number of mental health nurses are available for consultations as required.

We learned about a young person that had a penchant for graffiti has now taken a new lease at life, is employed as a youth worker, devotes his time to assisting youth and educating them around the perils of antisocial behaviour, Graffiti, family violence and substance abuse. He now works closely with police to reengage youth, whereas in the past he would never associate with police. A great way for youth to see that Police are there to help as opposed to punishing them!

The Lancefield-Romsey Lions Club donated $10000.00 to pay for skateboards which were distributed through KidzFlip. A novel way of combatting graffiti was introduced when the skateboards were distributed, and there is a marked reduction in wanton vandalism since. A number of KidzFlip members have joined the Leo Club which is specifically tailored for youths who wish to later become full grown Lions

Jason related the story where some youths decided that they would build their own bike track and asked for his help. Had they not asked, he would have had to change hats and arrest them for trespassing. Intercession with the landowner brought a positive result and the lads are off the streets and happily bike jumping.

A recent camping trip to Phillip Island was the poignant story of the day. A young foster girl was asked about her experience. She truthfully related that before the time way she had no friends but now had forty. Having never been to the seaside the girl also learnt that sea water is too salty to drink; also she had lived to teenage without ever having fish and chips.

The conclusion of that rather sad story is that based on those three experiences and other issues is that more loving foster parents have been found.

Reflecting on Newton’s Law past students at the Kyneton Marist Brothers Scholl can be thankful for the individual reactions they have personally taken based on actions during their school years.

2018 Reunion

Nothing comes from nothing!

School reunions most often include a past pupil delivering a statement known as the Alma Mater. In response a representative of the teaching body addresses the assembly.

This year at the annual general meeting of the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys Association the committee took a decision to not deliver an Alma Mater address.

Another Latin phrase Servabo Fidem was adopted by the Brothers when the school opened in 1926. It means “keep the faith” and the fifty plus Old Boys who attended the reunion on Sunday 28 January are proof positive that keeping faith is proven. This was reinforced by the new Parish Priest Father Declan O’Brien who remarked that the brothers must have had the same teaching techniques as Jesus for in his short time at Kyneton the activates of the association members has often been noticed.

The new committee of management will be led by President Paul Plowman. Other executive officers are the Vice President Roly Sandilands, Secretary Pat Clohesy and the Treasurer Len Young. There are number of general committee plus Vice Presidents in other parts of the state to support the executive.

In the absence of an Alma Mater the time was used for an address in praise of the immediate Past President Peter Law who did not seek re-election due to continuing ill health.

The Latin phrase creatio ex nihilo literally means that nothing comes from nothing, which basically indicates that if you do not do something nothing will happen

Peter Law a Life Member has been a driving force behind the Old Boys for many years and served as President three times. He tirelessly gave his time for anything that came across his desk, and is the main source of information converted into stories on the association’s web site: –

In the Australian vernacular he does not suffer fools gladly but with an innate sense of humour often gets away with a payout. The Old Boys committee is made up of other stalwarts but none really have the same approach as Peter.

Arthur Clarke and Roly Sandilands were elevated to Life Member which acknowledges both of their long and continued service to the Association. In the assembly watching on was Kevin Law who at 15 years of age joined the association and remains a keen supporter.

Brother Kevin Hoare who taught at the school in its final years attended and told of the changes made in the Order since Kyneton closed. Brothers no longer appear at the front of the class, but teach the teachers about the credo of Saint Marcellin Champagnat the founder of the Marist Order. Today in Australia the Marist Brothers operate fifty-six [56] schools.


Father and Son

Around this time of the year as AFL Clubs finalise their teams for the coming season a lot of focus is placed on the father and son drafting rule and the desire for a family continuation in the Club.

To commemorate the coming of the Marist Brothers to Kyneton, a 21st Birthday celebration was held at Kyneton on August 2-3, 1947 when 150 past students gathered at a reunion dinner from many parts of Victoria, and later formed an Old Boys’ Association

At the fiftieth annual general meeting of the association a gold key ring was presented to Stan Plowman one of the founding members, and a past president. Stan and his brothers were also heavily involved with the Kyneton Football Club.

But this is not about the football draft it is about the committee of management of the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys Association [Old Boys] and the historic election of a son to the office that his father held.

Stan has since died but his son Paul has continued the family involvement with the Old Boys and on Sunday 28 January 2018 was elected as the President. At the seventieth anniversary family reunion, Paul, assisted by his mother Pat searched the family treasure trove and put on display a number of trophies and photographs from times past.

The brothers closed the school in 1967 after forty one years of educating boys from all-around the Kyneton District both as day students and boarders. Somewhat uniquely the Old Boys association is as active now as it was in the halcyon days, but the ageing process is taking its toll. In the past year the death of twenty-three members has been reported and the web site has nearly three hundred names on the Honour Roll.

So Paul and his deputy the well-known Roly Sandilands together with the general committee have the job ahead to continue activates that support the community of Kyneton. Ironically the school hymn is Faith of our Fathers which puts just a little more pressure on Stan Plowman’s son!


Constant fear of the unknown

After a shaky start Flemmo finally introduced our guest speaker Major Craig Byrne, who took us on a poignant roller coaster ride as he explained his forty year career in the army.

He joined the Army straight out of school at 15 as an apprentice Electrical Fitter in the same year as his parents got their first telephone connected.

When he joined it was a peace time army so funding was minimal, but things changed rapidly and for the last nineteen years the Australian defence personnel have been at war in some theatre or another around the world; but more so in the Middle East. Today we have people in twenty-seven places including Navy ships almost permanently at sea.

Craig related that Australian have been involved in Afghanistan longer than we were in both World Wars. “Cutting his teeth” in warfare he was seconded as an Artificer Sergeant Major [ASM] with the British in Macedonia then later served in East Timor. The 1999 insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia was an armed conflict which began when the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army militant group attacked the security forces of the Republic of Macedonia.

As the ASM he was responsible for the maintenance and logistics of over eleven hundred pieces of equipment, including the Challenger Tank and Artillery Guns together with trucks and Land Rovers deploying them to the front line.

He stated that the legendary macho image of a digger is very much a myth for all are in constant fear of the unknown and the traumatic events they have to endure. Kitted up and scared was the way he put it! As he said “nothing in training prepares you for your first shot”. On the deployment into Kosovo, two members of the force suicided in the first few hours! Many defence personnel that have not even seen combat are being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome, due to this fear of the unknown. Attacks and improvised explosive devices [IED] are totally unknowns.

Graphically he described the trauma that was to behold the NATO Peace Corps in Kosovo. The streets were littered with dead people, animals and cars and all around the infrastructure even hospitals were booby trapped. Some bodies were mutilated for religious needs and the identification of the dead was more than overly crude, bordering on barbaric.

Craig told how the failed Russian incursion into Afghanistan still today provides armaments for the insurgents. [Russians withdrew in 1989] Large ordnance equipment is being turned into improvised explosive devices with many fatal results. However there have been no Australian fatalities amongst the personnel travelling in the Australian Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle manufactured in Bendigo.

The issue of post-traumatic stress is one to which Governments are slowly giving attention, and the WW 1 and 2 treatment of a few beers and advisement to “get over it” is becoming history.

In closing Craig related how in full uniform in Melbourne Australia he was spat upon. He advised the person that a service uniform and all who wear or have worn it allows freedom of speech and his type of behaviour. The pair parted amicably with the aggressor having a more positive outlook.

Few have a more positive outlook than Major Byrne but those who listened intently will for some time reflect on his experiences and what a great country we have.

2017 Reunion

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.

2016 Reunion

Seventy Not Out

In cricketing parlance seventy not out would indicate a good innings. At Kyneton on Sunday 24 January around two hundred [200] 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

2015 Reunion

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.

Alma Mater

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.

Servabo Fidem!!

2014 Reunion

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 . 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.

2013 Reunion

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 [ ] 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.

2012 Reunion

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

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.