Old Boys who became Marist Brothers
- Edward David Harris [Kenneth]
Born 2 December 1915 at Euroa Died 31 July 1994
- Kieran Coman [Benedict]
Born 01 September 1901 at Pastoria Died 12 January 1957
- John Denis Driscoll [Abel]
Born 18 January 1915 at Kyneton Died 17 January 1992
- Archibald Hill [Brendan]
Born 11 July 1876 at Hanging Rock [Woodend] Died 17 October 1962
Profiles on the above Brothers are available on application
Father Raymond Skehill
Raymond “Father Ray” Skehill
The seventh child of Michael and Annie Skehill  and a grandson of John and Mary Skehill , Raymond was born on 25 May 1916.
He grew up on the family property, Stirling Estate, at Piper’s Creek, seven miles out of Kyneton, and received his primary schooling from the Marist Brothers in Kyneton and his secondary education at Assumption College, Kilmore. Returning to the farm for several years, he then entered Corpus Christi College, Werribee, in March 1936 to begin his preparation for the priesthood.
He was ordained as a priest, on the day after his father Michael’s death, at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne on Sunday, 25 July 1943 by his Grace the Archbishop, Most Rev. Dr. Mannix.
A short report on his ordination in ‘Mostly About People ‘from the Kyneton Guardian of 27 July was located 02/07/2016.
Fr Ray served as an assistant parish priest temporarily in Mansfield and then for three years at Newport. For the next ten years he was assistant and Administrator at West Melbourne, before being appointed as the first parish priest at St Catherine Laboure, East Moorabbin, which position he held from 1957 to 1970. He was then parish priest at All Hallows, Balwyn, for three years. During this time his heart showed signs of malfunction so he returned to the country as parish priest of Yea for the next five years. In 1979 he was appointed parish priest at St Cecilia’s in South Camberwell. In 1989, upon retirement, he was appointed Pastor Emeritus and took up residence at “Justin Villa”, a retirement home for priests in Balwyn.
Fr Ray died on 31 October 1995 in the 53rd year of his priesthood and at 80 years of age. The principal celebrant at his funeral was the Archbishop of Melbourne, The Most Rev T F Little, DD, KBE and bishops and priests of the Archdiocese (including five of his classmates) were concelebrants.
One obituary described the circumstances of his death as follows:
Father Ray had a deep, abiding love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, God’s Mother and very much his own. The oft repeated ‘thank you’, which came so easily to his lips seems to suggest the maturity of a strong man and good priest steeped in what has been called ‘The Wisdom of Accepted Tenderness”.
Last Tuesday he concelebrated Mass with his brother priests and enjoyed lunch with lifelong friends at Blackburn. Returning home along Canterbury Road he stopped at a set of red lights. Whenever he got into his beloved car, with its four new Pirelli tyres, he always recited the Hail Mary and the prayer to Our Lady of the Way.
As the lights changed, he started off, but his heart had at last worn out. He steered to the left out of the way and lent his car against a tree on the nature strip. Immediately following him was a Police car, whose officers stopped and offered what help they could. Father Ray had gone home to God.
Vincent Thomas “Bill” Skehill 
The second child of Thomas and Isabel Skehill  and a grandson of John and Mary Skehill , Vincent Thomas “Bill” was born on 16 December 1914 in Kyneton.
After growing up at Pastoria Park and Yaldwyn Street and attending school in Kyneton at the Convent of Mercy and then at the Marist Brothers college, “Bill” worked for a period at the family garage and at a sports goods and radio store.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Royal Australian Air Force and saw distinguished service over Europe with the Royal Air Force.
Photo did not carry A Boeing B-17 crew of the 5th Bombardment Wing, 15th USAF, after returning to Amendola, Italy, from a daylight bombing mission over Sofia, Bulgaria, have driven over to the dispersals of No. 150 Squadron RAF to wish a crew of a Vickers Wellington Mark X good luck before they take off for a night raid on the same target. The RAF crew are, (left to right): Sergeant M Jefferson of Manchester, (wireless operator); Sergeant G Heywood of Upton-by-Chester, (rear gunner); Flight Lieutenant V T “Bill” Skehill of Kooyong, Australia, (pilot), who is shaking hands with the American crew captain, 2nd Lieutenant Walters; Flying Officer P R Jameson of Brisbane, Australia, (navigator), and Flight Sergeant E W Turner of Northfleet, Kent, (bomb aimer).
On 29 December 1944 the London Gazette promulgated the award of a Distinguished Flying Cross to Bill for service in No. 150 Squadron (RAF), the citation making reference to “Numerous attacks on targets in SICILY, ITALY, &c”. The award was promulgated in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on 11 January 1945 and the insignia presented by the Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria at Government House, Melbourne on 27 July 1949.
After returning to Australia, he lived in Melbourne (probably with his mother Sys and sisters Mena and Joan at 81 Talbot Crescent, Kooyong) and worked at Commonwealth Disposals where, it seems, he met Mary Inder whom he married at Brighton on 1 May 1948. Mary had been born in Sydney where she attended the Brigidine Convent and later moved to Melbourne where she attended the Star of the Sea.
After they married on 1st May 1948, Bill and Mary moved to Pastoria Park which Bill operated under a partnership agreement with his mother, Sys, who was entitled to life tenancy of the property under Tom Skehill’s will.
Bill was a member of the Pastoria & District Rural Fire Brigade and their meetings were sometimes held at Pastoria Park.
Towards the late 1950’s, Bill, Mary and their children, with assistance from a loan from Bill’s brother Gerald, moved to Bendigo where he ran a business slaughtering and selling chickens at retail and wholesale.
The family subsequently moved to Melbourne in early the 1960s where Bill worked for the firm of Peter Isaacson.
Bill died in 1987.
Bill and Mary had 4 children.
Information supplied by Frank White
The Possum Trophy
The Possums Trophy is a perpetual award presented after the annual fishing excursion to Torrumbarry Weir.
It is awarded to the participant that provides some action of note. It can be anything between outstanding and ridiculous. [A Brownlow or a Download performance]
Only those in attendance are privy to the reason for the award.
The Possum Trophy is named in memory of Brother Paul Bourke who was principal of the school in the 1950 s and was at the school for a total of seven years. After leaving Kyneton he maintained a close link and was always at our annual reunion until his death.
In The Possum Nest
Year – Winner
- 2002 – Brian Fleming
- 2003 – Roly Sandilands
- 2004 – Arthur Clarke
- 2005 – Mick Halley
- 2006 – Ray Fleming
- 2007 – P H Law [Peter]
- 2008 – Jack Ramsdale
- 2009 – Paul Healey and Gerry Lavery
- 2010 – Laurie [Frizz] Marshall
- 2011 – Leo Law
- 2012 – Kevin Willey
- 2013 – Barry Grose
- 2014 – Len Young and Brian Fleming [BPF 2nd time]
- 2015 – Dave Tyquin
- 2016 – Arthur Clarke for second time
- 2017 – Kevin Mustard
- 2018 – Gerry Lavery
- 2019 – Norm Schmidt
- 2020 – John Wilson
Father John Hegerty
Oct 11, 2018
Born in Melbourne on May 30, 1941 Fr John Hegerty was the son of William, farmer and grazier and Sheila, nee O’Brien. He was the oldest in the family of two sisters and one brother, Anne (dec), Michael and Patricia.
John was educated at Metcalfe State School and Marist Brothers in Kyneton. He completed his final four years of secondary education at Xavier College, Kew in Melbourne.
After working on the family property ‘Summer Hill’ at Redesdale, Victoria John began his studies for the priesthood at St Columban’s in Sassafras in 1965 and St Columban’s College, North Turramurra. He was ordained by Archbishop Knox in St Patrick’s Cathedral Melbourne on August 14, 1971. He was initially appointed to Peru where he studied language studies in Lima before becoming Assistant Priest at Resurrected Christ (Ermitano).
From 1978-1988 John was appointed to the Australian and New Zealand Region where he was Director of Spiritual Year at Turramurra for four years. He spent a year in Wernesville, Pennsylvania, USA studying Spirituality.
Upon his return to Peru, he assisted in the parish of Criso Nuestra Vida and was Director of the formation programme for Peruvian Columbans. He was also the Regional Director and Director of the Columban Spiritual Team. From 2006 until present John has assisted in the Parish of Our Lady of the Missions which is in its final stages of transition from being a Columban founded and established communion of twelve communities to being accompanied and administered by clergy of the local diocese.
For many years, John has conducted bible courses for the local people. Each year they study a bible course on the Gospels of the year which helps in the preparation of the Sunday Liturgy. John says, it has proven to be of help to both the priests and the lay ministers who preside at the Sunday liturgies of the Word with Communion.
Fr John has recently been back in Australia for a well earned rest and to catch up with family and friends. He will return to Peru later in the year.
Originated at 2020 reunion
Bonnie Reflections Brother Joseph Boniface
The Kyneton Marist Brothers School ceased as a teaching establishment in mid-1967 after four decades of quality education for day, and boarding students.
In 1947 over one hundred past students came to Kyneton to celebrate the school’s 21st birthday. They formed an Old Boys Association which still exists, and has an annual reunion which was held on 26 January 2020.
After the school closed the records were removed and all efforts to locate them have been unsuccessful. In a sport mad country it is always sporting achievers that gain publicity. So it was at the school!
The late Brother Boniface [Joseph] Kivlighon who taught at the school in three tours of duty totalling eleven years, kept detailed records of the annual sports day by clipping and pasting extracts from the Kyneton Guardian.
So unless someone has memories of an event, or person the Boniface annuals are the only records. [Just a related aside…. Brother Marius Wolfe [Dec.] once remarked “there will never be a day that football is not reported in the newspaper”. 25% of one recent Herald-Sun had stories about football.]
The Kivlighon family of Sale was a major contributor to Victoria’s history. Apart from two sons having a vocation and becoming Marist Brothers, [Younger Thomas took name Marcelin] the father Tom is notable. Bonnie related stories of helping his dad operate the Swing Bridge that allowed access into the Port of Sale.
“Tom Kivlighon was to be the last of the Bridge Keepers, managing the bridge from 1912 until 1938. Kivlighon had the foresight to introduce a lighting system for the bridge: Green for Open – Red for Closed.
Even in the early 20th century, speed was a major contributing factor to accidents. The Swing Bridge was witness to larrikins speeding their motor cars to the bridge – and plummeting right on down, into the river – unable to pull up in time “. Source Sale Historical Society
At the 2020 annual reunion the Madden sisters [Christine, Frances, Moira, and Helen] handed up reminiscences of Brother Boniface, which was used as the Alma Mater.
As you know Brother Boniface was driven to get the maximum sporting performance of out every kid that ever crossed his path, and his reputation in this respect was legendary. It also stretched far and wide.
Here in Kyneton, when it looked like he’d trained all the boys to peak fitness, he then focused his training talents to the students of the Convent. And this scandalised the nuns a bit by training their precious “Sacred Heart ladies College” girls in all things track and field (including long jumps and high jumps) on the oval over there where the bus depot now stands.
He also focussed, big-time, on swimming. Helen Madden (Nock) was one of those that he encouraged through all the different levels and awards. She still swims with a group of people at Narooma on the NSW far south coast. Over the years many people have commented about her effortless technique.
After being complimented again on her swimming style, she made mention of the fact that she had Br. Boniface to thank for her technique and enthusiasm for the sport – never expecting of course that anyone would really know who she was talking about.
Instead, this unknown guy pipes and says, “Brother Boniface, I know him – he taught me in Sydney – (Knowing that that wasn’t quite true he adjusted his comment to – “he taught me sport anyway”. He recognised the Bonnie style in Helen immediately, hundreds of kilometres apart and several decades on, the mantra rings true, once taught by Bonnie always able.
She also tells another Bonnie swimming story concerning the Bronze Medallion attempt. She was supposed to “save” her brother Laurie, who was deemed by Bonnie to meet the appropriate weight and height criteria. However, however, when the time came, Laurie panicked and wouldn’t co-operate, – a panicking your adult in the water in need of rescue, the ideal scenario from her Bronze Medal attempt you might argue.
Instead, Bonnie ordered Laurie out of the water and substituted Moe Keegan. Moe had just gotten out of hospital after a serious peritonitis operation and wasn’t supposed to even be in the water. He was also a lot bigger kid than Laurie, and exceeded the height/weight conditions by a fair bit.
As a result, Helen couldn’t reach properly across Moe’s chest to get proper purchase on him in order to “save” him – so Bonnie turned his back. Moe kicked and floated and Helen got her Bronze Medallion.
Academia may not have been the pinnacle here in Kyneton, but a student failing at sport was not on Bonnie’s agenda.
As memories fade history becomes history but stories like this keep the past present. The Old Boys have a web site www.kynetonmaristbrothersoldboys.com.au that carries much information about past and present students. Salient is the honour roll of deceased Old Boys that have been collated.
Brother Marius Woulfe
Deceased 1 May 2019
Death of Brother Marius Woulfe, RIP – – 1924-2019. Provided by Br Kevin Hoare
We have lost a much loved and respected Brother. Dick died last week at Royal Adelaide Hospital. He was 94 years of age and had been a Brother for nearly 77 years.
Last weekend Dick showed signs of a lung infection. He was treated with antibiotics but his condition worsened and yesterday he was admitted to hospital where he was diagnosed with lower lobe pneumonia. He received the last rites just 24 hours ago; ironically from one of his Sacred Heart ex-students. Given his advanced age and the seriousness of the infection he didn’t recover and died at 2.34pm (Central Time).
He taught primary classes at Hawthorn and Kyneton, and then secondary subjects at Kilmore, New Norcia, Sacred Heart, Wangaratta, Churchlands and Preston. He was an excellent teacher, well regarded by his students. He could motivate and engage them and knew when their interest was flagging – he’d then launch into an anecdote or two. He was a deep thinker and a wide reader with broad interests – football and politics in particular.
Dick finished secondary teaching in 1991, but he remained active. He moved to the Karama community in Darwin in 1992 and quickly became involved in teaching English as a second language. In fact, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Migrant Education Association. At the age of 76, he accepted an appointment to MAPAC in Manila where he was a Teacher and Tutor to the young Brothers – all of whom valued his advice and friendship. After six years in The Philippines he returned to Karama until 2012 when the community closed. His last years were spent at Somerton Park and, since 2018 at the Flora McDonald Home.
Dick would often end his letters with the Spanish phrase “vaja con dios” (go with God). And truly this is where Dick now is.
Brother Des Hornsby
Friday April 12, 2019 was a beautiful autumn day in Bendigo and Kilmore – blue skies and temperature in mid 20s. Some 26 Brothers, ex-students and friends of Des joined the normal 12:10 pm parish Mass, along with Bishop Les Tomlinson and 9 priests. The singing was led by 21 members of the Marist College Choir who are actually on holidays. Br. Michael Herry accompanied them. What a difference good singing makes to a Liturgy. The ceremony contained 3 hymns Des had requested while principal celebrant Fr Rom Hayes was also a Des request, one which Rom was delighted to agree to. Des’s cousin, Kath Trethowan and her husband Graeme, brought the gifts to the altar while his nephew Glen Hornsby placed a treasured photo of Des on the coffin. Des Tuck was delighted to accept the invitation to do the first reading. Br. Julian Casey delivered the Eulogy in typical Jules style. All in all, it was a wonderful tribute to the life of our Brother Des.
After refreshments in the parish hall where the Brothers starting teaching in Bendigo 126 years ago, there was a good contingent who drove to Kilmore for the Burial. Mons Frank Marriott led this section of our ceremonies for Des. Bill Dillon, a fellow grouper of Des, led the saying of a decade of the Rosary at the graveside. Br Peter Carroll read an article from the Constitutions about Mary and her Fiat and the Salve Regina was sung.
Brother Tom Maher
Deceased 24 July 2016
The eulogy presented by Brother Mark Neeham sums up Tom;s life.
Eulogy for Br. Tom Maher
Friends, as we gather today to celebrate the robust and varied life of Br. Tom Maher, we offer our deepest sympathy and prayerful support to his family, his brothers John and Victor, his sister Frances and their families, niece Tricia with whom Tom would stay when visiting family. We also offer the family our sympathy on the death of Aileen, Pat’s wife, a couple of weeks ago.
Thomas Edward Maher was born on 22 September 1926 in Pakenham East in Victoria to his parents Victor and Anne. He was one of 8 children. His schooling to Merit certificate (Year 8) was done at St. Patrick’s Primary School Pakenham. Tom then had 3 years as a boarder at St. Pat’s Sale before heading to the Marist Juniorate at Mittagong in 1944 at the young age of 17 for the last 2 years of school before progressing to the Novitiate in 1946. Receiving the Habit in July that year was the beginning of Tom’s official Marist life. He made Final Profession at the end of 1952 and added the vow of stability in 1967.
As was the practice at the time, Tom (now Br. Oswald) headed straight into the classroom, which was his ministry for the next 28 years. Let’s reflect on that for a moment. Aged 21 with no teacher training to guide him, Tom spent his first 6.5 years in Boarding Schools teaching the sciences in middle secondary classes, firstly at Forbes and then at Kilmore, where he acquired the nickname of ‘Bing’ because of some likeness to Bing Crosby. He was in charge of the choir but can any of us imagine Tom as a crooner??? In these years there were very few if any lay teachers so Brothers taught all day (no such thing as free periods), coached sports teams, supervised study and refectories, ran a dormitory. Scarcely any time to breathe in that regimen!!!! So how tough was it? All up Tom spent 17.5 years in Boarding schools. One of these was at New Norcia where he spent 8 years. The last 5 of these years he held the position of Principal and also Leader of the Brothers’ community. In fact, he was the last Brother Principal of St. Ildephonsus College New Norcia as the Brothers withdrew in 1964. At this stage, Tom’s only ‘qualification’ was through the University of Hard Knocks, as was the case with so many other Brothers and Sisters who pioneered Catholic Education in Australia. We can only salute religious like Tom for their commitment and sacrifice. They just got on with the job graciously and without complaining.
At Hawthorn, Bendigo and Kilmore Tom also held the important post of sportsmaster. Tom certainly had a real interest in sport. His brother Jack remembers Tom as a skilful footballer who would have made the grade in VFL. While in Bendigo in the mid 60s Tom was one of the pioneers of Little Athletics in town. In fact he bequeathed the Marist Club to me! Tom did play with the students at New Norcia where they were playing against adults. He was also a competent cricketer. Jack remembers Tom scoring a century at the MCG, probably the only Brother to do so. Tom had three years as Principal at North Fitzroy and one year at Sacred Heart College, Glenelg.
In 1975 Tom was given 4 years study leave during which he completed a Batchelor of Public Administration at RMIT in Melbourne. The following year 1980 was Tom’s last in school ministry when he was appointed to Mount Gambier. Thus ended 28 years in schools, including 17.5 in boarding schools and 8 years in the role of Principal. A mighty effort indeed!! Let me quote Br. Julian Casey on the occasion of Tom’s Golden Jubilee: “Tom has referred to these days as “feverish” activity and he is right and we need to remember and record the generosity of the men like Tom who held it all together in those days…” Tom’s latter days in school were tough for him as schooling had changed, Vatican 11 had come, co-ed had arrived as well as the need for specialisation…. so Tom wisely made the move away from education at the end of 1980.
The truism “there is life beyond school” is certainly accurate for Tom. He really did get a new lease of life. At Tom’s Diamond Jubilee ten years ago Br. David Blay said: “The feel of the soil between the fingers, the excitement of seeing the veggies and vines grow are some of Tom’s joys in life.” Indeed Tom threw himself into gardening and property maintenance in a big way, firstly at the Retreat Centre at Mt. Macedon for ten years till 1991. Here Tom’s attention to detail and willingness for hard work stood out. The beautiful grounds at Drusilla certainly showed the effects of Tom’s TLC. It was here that Tom forged a close association with the Kyneton Old Collegians and he rarely missed the annual reunion on the Australia Day weekend in January thereafter. In fact he was their Pastoral Advisor. Then it was on to Bulleen from where Tom travelled daily across to Templestowe to oversee the development of the gardens and grounds of the Province Centre. Br. Oliver’s rose garden was surely the beneficiary of Tom’s care after Oliver moved to warmer climes in Darwin. That beautiful garden has welcomed many a visitor to the Centre. While in this role Tom used to regularly spray the weeds on the property at Deer Park, at the same time bringing back lots of sizeable rocks with which he built the tiered garden that graces the courtyard. Tom certainly loved to roll up the sleeves and no work was too difficult. I’m sure we can see shades of our founder St. Marcellin Champagnat here.
Tom’s willingness and openness to be available to take on new tasks was put to the test in 1998 when Tom was appointed to the aboriginal apostolate at Milikapiti on Melville Island north of Darwin. Here Tom’s main role was to supervise the community centre, a challenging time for Tom as he found aboriginal sense of time differed greatly from his own. Needless to say Tom found that time difficult. We all know Tom could be stubborn and obstreperous at times but we know these pale in the face of the energy and goodness Tom has brought to living his Marist life. After a short time at Karama in Darwin, Tom moved back south.
Tom came to Bendigo in 2001 where he involved himself in various activities. High on his list of priorities was working for Vinnies. In fact he was Chairman of the local branch for some time. The welfare of families in need was something Tom undertook with great enthusiasm, passion and compassion. He was a wonderful, caring presence around town and highly valued and loved for his willingness to help others, especially those who were struggling. Br. David Blay speaking at Tom’s Diamond Jubilee 10 years ago said: Tom.. is very active organising rosters and visiting families in need, delivering food parcels or household furniture. At an Easter fund raising event there was Tom working as one of the parking attendants, doing good quietly as Mary did.” Last Sunday Br. Des Hornsby and I attended a celebration of Fr. Ted Harte’s Golden Jubilee in the White Hills parish that Tom frequented for 9am Mass each morning. Fr. Ted mentioned Tom’s death at the beginning of Mass. After Mass and since, many people have come and spoken so highly of his concern, generosity and love for others. Tom had always been a keen golfer and these years provided a chance to spend more time chasing the little white ball around Quarry Hill with his friends. Another priority was his was his regular, faithful presence in the local parish.
It was during this time in Bendigo that Tom began moving north to Ashgrove in Brisbane to avoid the winter chills of Bendigo. Finally, Tom decided to make the move north completely in 2011. In Ashgrove he has been a vibrant presence among the community of elderly Brothers. Br. Adrian Story tells me Tom would join the regular Rosalie parish bus tours and that “despite his age and failing health he maintained his adventurist spirit to the end.” Br. Roger Burke noted “People said that knowing Tom gave them a connection with the Marist Brothers with whom they had many happy associations in former times when their children had been at the College”. Tom also became well-known at a nearby coffee shop that he frequented while out on his daily walks.
Tom has always been a solid, reliable and generous contributor to community life. His fidelity to community prayer, daily Mass, the Rosary were underpinned by his personal prayer and devotion to making Jesus known and loved. All of this in fact underpinned his whole approach to life. Apart from his Uni studies, Tom had 2 moments for personal renewal – the mid-life program in Fribourg, Switzerland for 5 months in 1963 and in 1994 a 2 month program for Brothers moving towards retirement. This was held in Manziana Italy. I guess these were for many Brothers like Tom mini-sabbaticals, a chance to slow down and reflect on their lives. It would seem that Tom came to a real contentment in his life. As Br. Adrian said: “Tom always seemed happy and content with his lot in life even in old age. It was very rare to hear him complain.”
This has given you a snapshot of the various ministries in which Tom has been engaged. But what of the man Tom and the Marist man? It comes as no surprise that we have experienced Tom as a multi-talented man, able and willing to turn his hand to many things. In earlier days that was a necessity when money was so scarce and he was in Boarding schools anyway where the need for urgent repairs were commonplace. Never afraid to roll up his sleeves, Tom has willingly agreed to do anything asked of him.. I recall early in this century when I was Director of the Retreat Centre at Macedon, I invited Tom to come down from Bendigo one day a week to work in the gardens with his very good friend Bernie Stanchinotti. Tom (now into his 70s) readily agreed so he would train down in the morning, put in a solid day’s work and then train it back home in the late afternoon. Such was Tom’s boundless generosity. Tom enjoyed greatly meeting and talking with people and sharing many a joke with them. On his forays south for the Adelaide retreat at Christmas Tom made sure he visited Mt. Gambier and Bendigo to renew friendships he had retained. Des and Maxi Purdon in Bendigo have been lifelong friends, for example. He was always on for a chat, spending time with people.
Tom was one of those Mr. Reliables. Action was always more important than words for Tom. Whatever he undertook was always seen through to a successful conclusion. While we all experienced Tom as strong-willed and determined, he was also looking out for the needs of others. Tom certainly loved the opportunities to catch up with family and he would delight in meeting up with all his relatives. The family always enjoyed Tom’s visits and his interest in all of them – his own siblings, nieces and nephews, grand nieces and nephews. Such loving bonds of a close family circle have meant so much to them all. Jack recalls he and Tom shared a whiskey or three together on many an occasion while chewing the cud together. Can’t we just see Tom enjoying those moments with family and friends! There would surely have been some positive chats about his beloved Demons this year.
So, as we continue this Eucharist we keep at the forefront of our prayer and our hearts the extended Maher family and we give thanks for the rich and wonderful life of our Brother Tom. I’m sure the words “well done, good and faithful servant. Enter now into the joy of the Lord” express something of our gratitude for Tom’s life among us and our trust that he is at peace in God. The words of one of Michael Herry’s hymns “to follow Christ as Mary did” surely captures the self-effacing spirit with which Tom lived his life as a faithful Marist Brother. May Tom, his sister-in-law Aileen, who beat him to the Pearly Gates by just a couple of weeks, and all the faithful departed rest in peace.
Br. Mark Needham
Mass of Thanksgiving
for the life of
Brother Tom Maher fms
28 July 2016
Brother Tom Maher attended his last meeting on 14 December 2011 as he had a transfer to Queensland.
Brother Tom was our pastoral adviser for a quarter of a century and regularly made the trip from Bendigo to attend meetings. His expansive and interesting address has always been a highlight of the meetings.
Brother John Driscoll
Updated 29 June 2015
Gerald Daly whose father was a cousin of John Driscoll [Brother Abel advised that John actually passed away 17 January 1991 one day short of his 77th birthday. (DOB 18 January 1915 at Kyneton!).
He died at Orange Airport NSW ;after visiting Gerald Daly’s sister in Parkes NSW; he was on his way home to Somerton Park in South Australia where he had retired after many years at Red Bend Catholic College in Forbes NSW.
He is buried in the Marist section of Kilmore Cemetery.
Gerald has other information about Brother John Driscoll. If you would like to contact Gerald please provide your credentials and we will pass the requset.
John Driscoll was one of four Old Boys who joined the Marist Order.
In 1960 the sports day teams were named after these men.
Blue house renamed Kenneth
Red House renamed Brendan
Green House renamed Benedict
Gold House renamed Abel
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.
Brother Benedict [Kieran Coman died on 12 January 1957 at the age of 55 after a complication during an operation. He is buried at Kimore.
John Driscoll aka Abel
Brother Leo McVeigh [Arnold]
Sacred Heart College Chapel, Somerton Park, June 26th, 2014
I am sure Leo, given his many years in the service of our indigenous brothers and sisters would like me to begin by acknowledging this land that we meeting on today as traditional land.
So we acknowledge that we are meeting on the traditional Country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains and pay respect to Elders past and present.
Let me also begin by offering our deepest sympathy to Leo’s relatives.
We remember those from his family who are already with the Lord Jesus – his mother Margaret; his father John and his brothers and sisters – Doreen; Harry; Ken; Kevin; Sheila and John.
We acknowledge Leo’s living sisters in law – Kath and Margaret ; his nieces and nephews – Kieran, Gerard, Cheryl, Noel, Paul, Mark, Bernadette, Brendan, Caroline; Peter, Marie, Lynette, Timothy, Anthony; Patrick, Margaret and Leisa and his many great nieces and great nephews
In the end, the story of our lives is taken up into God’s story. And so, as we come together in prayerful reflection around the mortal remains of Leo, we gather the fragments of the nearly ninety years of his earthly journey and remember Leo’s beautiful story.
Leo began life at Alexandra – and grew up in a strong Catholic family of seven children. Like Marcellin Champagnat, Leo was a country boy. His parents, John and Margaret, eventually sent him to Assumption College Kilmore and in January 1940 at the tender age of 16, he entered the brothers Juniorate at Mittagong. He then proceeded to the novitiate and took vows as Br Arnold on July 2nd 1944.
Like so many brothers of his generation he was immediately sent out – without a chance to do tertiary study – straight into the classroom at Darlinghurst, Eastwood, Hunters Hill, and Maitland and on and on.
Around 1948, in God’s providence, the Sydney brothers ‘split’ from us brothers in the southern part of Australia (but thank God in recent years they have had the good sense to ‘come back’ and ‘rejoin’ us). Well – that’s at least – the way I like to look at it!
This meant that Leo, in the 1950’s, was now back at home in the civilized culture of the ‘south’, where he had some significantly longer appointments. He was here at Glenelg, also Kyneton and Mt Gambier before he became Director at Parkes for several happy years. There followed some time as Director at Kyneton and as he headed toward the milestone of 50 years on planet earth – Leo spent some teaching periods at Camberwell, Leeton and Bendigo.
Over all those years of school ministry, Leo placed plenty of challenges. There were, of course, the large classes, the heavy working load and as the times changed, differing needs to respond to.
Vatican 11 came and the Church and religious life did undergo an upheaval. There was a continuing and necessary reaction against the strong institutionalism of the ‘tribal Irish’ Catholicism that had dominated us with its – at times – over emphasis on discipline and order.
Thank God, leaders in the Church including in the brothers, became more aware of the beauty and dignity of people as unique individuals and the ‘human person’ came more to the centre.
Unity did not have to mean an arid uniformity.
‘Arnold’ went back to being Leo, his baptismal name.
In January 1977 a new turning point for Leo was reached. He was asked by Brother Cletus to shift from Bendigo and go with Aidan Smith to Alice Springs and begin exploring a ministry to our aboriginal sisters and brothers. It was a kairos moment in Leo’s faith journey.
Meanwhile back in Alice Springs located now at the “Gap Centre” – our brothers Leo and Aidan had already made that prophetic leap to the ‘peripheries’ and to the marginalized!
As schoolteachers they were, of course, very used to doing all the thinking and telling people what was needed. Aidan explained that they arrived in Alice Springs very much ‘project pushers’. Over time they both learnt to listen to the aboriginal people at the “Gap Centre” and to respond to their needs and at their speed.
But whatever of that – in those years Leo learned so much from the Aboriginal people – about not leading a hectic life; not worrying about tomorrow or hoarding up things or saving things.
Both Leo and Aidan were called by the parish priest to help out with baptisms, and other pastoral needs, and this meant they had a much wider experience of Church and ministry and being a Brother.
Leo worked at Yarara boarding school for aborigines; taught R.E. in local public and Catholic schools and would often spent almost all day Sundays organizing Aborigines from the fringe camps around Alice to attend Sunday Masses.
It was a new moment of freedom. Leo plunged himself into the intensive study of Eastern Arrernte languages and local aboriginal culture and anthropology. This he continued when in 1982 he moved to Santa Teresa in Central Australia and continued till 1986 his ministry of being brother to the local community there. Notably, he would prepare each Sunday’s scriptures in the language of the local people at Santa Teresa mission.
That missionary spirit of outreach then led him to accept appointments for several months to Trichy, India and then a couple of years in PNG.
The energy and generosity of the man is staggering! I am exhausted just recounting it all here today!
You might well ask listening to the ‘action packed’ journeys of Brother Leo McVeigh: Where on earth (or heaven) did pilgrim Leo get all this passion and energy from?
It’s quite simple. Leo had a great personal friend – Jesus!
He loved being a Marist brother who followed Jesus in the way of Mary of Nazareth and was proud of it.
For Leo was a man of profound and regular prayer…he was a deeply religious person…he had a tangible piety about him in the best sense of the word.
Leo was a grateful man. He remembered those who helped him on the way. He rejoiced in the success of others…especially other brothers.
Above all – Leo loved music – he enjoyed attending concerts; played the concertina and piano and sang in choirs (notably St Francis choir in the inner city church of Melbourne’s CBD)
As his good friend Brother Des Hornsby has written from Bendigo:
‘In the eternal now of our God, Br Leo McVeigh has brought joy, love, laughter and song to his friends, family and his Marist brothers. He has also borne manfully interior struggles in difficult working situations in schools. As a companion eccentric, I have enjoyed a lasting friendship with him. May his sacred memory continue to be a blessing amongst us.’
Well said. And about that word – ‘eccentric’… I do confess I never did get to ask Leo for a rational explanation as to why for many years, he regularly wore sunglasses and a sun visor whilst watching television! That sort of question was well above my ‘pay grade’! It just wasn’t worth asking!
Leo, indeed, had ‘a light grasp on life’. Last Sunday, in the early morning, Leo serenely ‘let go’ and surrendered his life to the mystery of God’s mercy – which is beyond our wildest dreams.
It was another kairos moment like at Alice Springs. His mission was complete. He told Paul Gilchrist he was going back to God that night and he did.
We now joyfully return Leo to the welcoming arms of the One who bestowed on him the gift of life at Alexandra nearly 90 years ago, a gift that was extraordinarily well used.
New times and new circumstances will mean this vocation is undoubtedly going to be lived out differently from Leo’s journey of discipleship. It will emerge in new shapes and forms. That part of the story is in God’s hands not ours.
The next generation of Marists, however, could have no better example of faithful service to the people of God than Brother Leo McVeigh.
We do know one thing for sure – the Spirit of the Risen Jesus keeps on breathing…
But a final word to Leo – our brother – as we begin this your final ‘Eucharist’ on earth.
Leo, in your long life – you also gave your ‘body and blood’ with Jesus for others.
Now, in this Eucharistic sacrifice and celebration, it’s our turn to say thanks to you:
It’s all over, Leo – it’s all about to begin.
Mark O’Connor FMS
Brother Marius taught at the school in 1949, 1950 and 1951. He has attained seventy years in the order and now lives in Darwin. Brother provided a testimonial when the web site was being established [See below]
Congratulations Brother on a great innings! Posted June 2012
Brother Marius Wolfe
What the Brothers Say
At one of our reunions Brother Paul Bourke made comments about some of his past pupils.
One was “there was young Billy Deane—he made a bit of a name for himself”
Billy Deane was one of Br Paul’s students in about Year 7 at St Joseph’s College in Sydney.
We contacted Sir William Deane and asked if it would be possible for him to join us at the next reunion and be guest speaker. His personal assistant replied: –
“Sir William is currently overseas and has asked me to thank you for your email and for the invitation for him to be guest speaker at the Kyneton Marist Brothers Old Boys Association’s annual reunion in January 2009. Sir William greatly appreciates the invitation but regrets that the pressure of other commitments prevents him accepting it. He has asked me to pass on to you his warm personal wishes and to tell you that he has fond memories of Brother Paul”.
Brother Paul known as Possum to many is fondly remembered by everyone with whom he came into contact but arguably more so at Kyneton.
Brother Des Hornsby now at Bendigo [firstname.lastname@example.org] provided this insight: –
I recall Brother Roger Reidy [deceased] entertaining us with great ghost stories from the thirties …. Rosary House ….. ending up with a goat eerily ringing the outside bell as it chewed up the rope! I am assuming Damian was Br Damian Willis. The Br Mark [must have left] was the one who was terrified living there
The Administrator of St Kilian’s Parish here in Bendigo is Father Rom Hayes. He attended Marist Brothers Kyneton and clearly remembers Br Paul Bourke coming around to his dad to discuss potato growing. This cynical writer would be prepared to bet race horses would have been on the agenda. Fr Rom finished his senior education at Xavier College.
We contacted the brothers that are still alive and asked if they would like to provide some reflections of their time at the school.
Brother Marius Woulfe taught at the school in 1949, 1950 and 1951
On the eve of his 84th birthday wrote: –
Over the years I have admired the Old Boys Association from a distance mainly because I have spent more than fifty years out of the State of Victoria, in places as remote as Perth and Manila, as well as Europe.
Congratulations on the web site. I can’t contribute much but I will mention a few memories here and if you want to use them you will have to do some editing:
The boarders. They occupied a room in the back part of the Brothers’ house [Rosary House ED] and went home each weekend.
The bullock team, a dozen or more yoked in pairs. They provided a steady strain on the big tree opposite the school while it was being cut down. [Would have been the bullock team operated by Bill Carey ED]
Boxing training in the Parish Hall…….. A local publican (George White a former boxing champion from South Australia) was in charge. Then the big night in the Town Hall……… It was a good fundraiser for the school. [Bill Stone a burly policeman was also involved. He used to advise this punch [a light tap] will not hurt but this one will! [as he hit your chin with the other hand ED]
There was a big walnut tree at the back of the Brothers’ house. Each year I would collect the walnuts and sell them to a grocery store (Hayes) and use the proceeds to buy sporting equipment.
Brother Isidore [1949 & 1950 ED] taking his class (deeks and all!!) out into the middle of the bitumen yard! It was so hot that the students had to wear big hats to keep the sun off!!
My first sight of snow……….. I helped the boarders build a snowball at the front of the Brothers’ house and we sent it rolling down the hill growing to an alarming size as it went.
Of course I remember the wood drives (Mr. Keegan?) and the rabbit drives and I used to like to watch the Sheepdog Trials on the main town oval.
As for names, well I will be 84 this month and my memory is a real problem. There’s Bill Bock and Carl Bowen and the two Bowes. Can visualize Bernie [Many of the Simpson Street Bowes attended school. Bernie Moloney advice to brother that Bernie had just died ED]
If any old boys come to Darwin give me a ring. It would be great to see you again. Marius
Brother Kevin Hoare taught at Kyneton in 1965 and 1966 and was a regular attendee at the Annual Reunion until relocating to Solomon Islands in 2009. We keep in touch by email and he sent along a story and some photographs.
Please pass onto to the Old Boys and very good wishes and God’s blessings for Christmas and the coming year.
Here’s a little of what I have been doing of late …
I have been over in the Shortland Islands helping our young men who have just graduated start the building of part of a secondary school. They graduated on the Saturday and after a twelve hour boat journey on the Sunday some 28 of them started work on the Monday!!! This is so that the last years Form Threes will be able to continue on to do their Form Four and as more classrooms are build also do Forms Five and Six. One of our teachers is doing the supervising and at the end of the second week had the wall frames up and the roofing frames ready to go up.
Our school takes young men between the ages of 18 to 28. All have fallen/pushed out of high schools for various reasons eg no school fees. About half didn’t get into High school; while a few only having grades 3 or 4. There were 150 there this year, with 80 in the 1st year group and 70 doing the 2nd year course. The 1st year learns general skills in Building, Carpentry, Mechanics and Agriculture and their 2nd year they specialize in any two of these skills. They come from all provinces of the Solomons and about half are Catholics.
The Marists started in “72 (at the request of the Bishop) with Brothers Francis [McMahon] and Kevin [Murray] and the early students of that time, whom I have met, still speak with praise about these men. The Shortland Islands are “right next to the PNG border and only about 20 mins by speed boat where the local people go to sell their goods.”
Best wishes to you all,