St Patrick's College, Ballarat

St Patrick's College

Latin: Facere et Docere
To Do and To Teach
Ballarat, Victoria
Coordinates 37°33′37″S 143°49′53″E / 37.56028°S 143.83139°E / -37.56028; 143.83139Coordinates: 37°33′37″S 143°49′53″E / 37.56028°S 143.83139°E / -37.56028; 143.83139
Type Independent, single-sex, day school
Denomination Roman Catholic, Congregation of Christian Brothers
Established 1893
Founder Christian Brothers
Chairman Dennis Foley
Headmaster John Crowley
Years 7-12
Enrolment 1,430
Colour(s) Green, White & Blue             
Slogan "Ballarat's Best for Boys"
VCE average 30[1]

St Patrick's College, sometimes referred to as St Pat's or SPC, is an Australian school founded by the Christian Brothers in 1893. It is a Roman Catholic day and boarding school, located in Ballarat, Victoria. It provides education for boys from Year 7 to Year 12, with an emphasis on sporting and academic programs. The school continues the tradition of the Christian Brothers in providing education for boys in Victoria and continuing the tradition of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice, who founded the Congregation of Christian Brothers in 1802.


The college was originally called Holy Ghost College, which was administered by the Holy Ghost Fathers and started in 1888. Also in 1888, St Alipius' Primary School was established by the Christian Brothers.[2] However, after a promising start, the senior school closed due to the Holy Ghost Fathers' departure for France. The Bishop of Ballarat at the time, the Most Reverend James Moore, quickly contacted the Provincial of the Christian Brothers in Australia, Brother Patrick Ambrose Treacy, to take over the running of the school. The new college opened its doors on 24 January 1893, as St Patrick's College. Four Christian Brothers were on the initial staff, with the Brother J. L. Ryan as the founding headmaster.

In 1924 St Patrick’s Christian Brother's boys’ primary school was built in Drummond Street South.[3] This school and St Alipius were operated by the Christian Brothers at St Patrick's College but both became parish schools in the 1980s. St Patrick's College now no longer has a junior school attached to it and students commence at Year 7 having completed their primary education elsewhere.

The school gradually grew in stature and size to become not only the largest Catholic school in Ballarat, but one of the leading Catholic schools in Victoria. The college, under the governance of the Christian Brothers, grew from its first enrollment of 36 students in 1893 to 168 in 1902. The school's academic record was first class even in its infancy, with the 1893 dux of the college, Sir Hugh Devine, becoming a world-famous surgeon. The school has grown immensely in the past 100 years, with over 1,000 boys enrolled.

The college, in 1933, completed the construction of the Brother's residence, a large imposing red-brick building, still dominating the facade of the school. A memorial chapel was constructed in 1954 and dedicated to the memory of St Patrick's Old Collegians who died during the First and Second World Wars. This large Romanesque chapel still holds pride of place at the front of the school and is the centre of the school's spirituality. The college has over 300 graduates who have been ordained priests, a record in Australia. Over 60 graduates have entered into religious life.

In 1966, the W.T. O'Malley Wing was completed in dedication to Brother William Theodore O'Malley, who was not only deputy headmaster of the college for 30 years, but taught there for over 40 years. He is remembered as one of the greatest brothers to grace St Patrick's College, with many Old Collegians dedicating their successes to his tuition. In 1976 the J.L. Kelty Resource Centre was opened. It is dedicated to Brother Justin Linus Kelty, a former headmaster, who led the college in the 1960s.

In 1979, the college completed the W.T. O'Malley Sports Centre, which was officially opened by former students and Brownlow Medal winners John James and Brian Gleeson.

In 2004, the college officially opened the W.J. Wilding Wing, which now houses the senior school. The building was named in honour of Brother William Wilding, a former headmaster of the college in the early 1980s who oversaw the completion of the Dr Spring Administration Wing.

Dr. Peter Casey succeeded Br. L. B. Collins in 2002 in 2002, becoming the school's first lay headmaster. John S. Crowley became St. Patrick's second lay headmaster in 2015.

Student abuse scandals

Between 1953 and 1983 a number of students who attended St Patrick's College and St Alipius Boys' School, administered by St Patrick's College, made allegations that they were sexually assaulted.[4] Some of these cases were litigated and the offenders found guilty.[5] In 2002, Gerald Ridsdale, who served as the school chaplain at St Alipius' during this period, was convicted of a number of child sexual offences.[6] In addition, three Christian Brothers who taught at St Alipius Boys' School and at St Patrick's College in the early 1970s were subsequently convicted of child sexual offences related to activities at the two schools.[5] Victoria Police reported in July 2011 that close to 30 of the students who were abused at St Alipius have subsequently committed suicide.[7]

In May 2015 the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, a royal commission of inquiry initiated in 2013 by the Australian Government and supported by all of its state governments,[8] began an investigation into the response of relevant Catholic Church authorities to the impact of child sexual abuse on survivors of child sexual abuse, their families and the community of Ballarat.[9] The hearing heard from residents, former students of St Joseph's Home, Ballarat, St Alipius Primary School, Ballarat East, St Alipius Parish, Ballarat East, St Patrick's College, Ballarat, and St Patrick's Christian Brothers Boys Primary School, Ballarat, and members of the Ballarat community about the impact of child sexual abuse on the community of Ballarat. Catholic clergy who were convicted of child sexual offences which took place within the geographical bounds of the Diocese of Ballarat also were invited to speak or make statements before the Royal Commission.[10] David Risdale gave evidence before the Royal Commission that his uncle, Gerard Risdale, sexually abused him between the ages of 11 and 15. The Royal Commission is ongoing.[11][12]


The college has four houses, Ryan, Keniry, Nunan and Galvin, which are named after former headmasters of the college. They are:

Named in honour of Br J.L. Ryan – Headmaster from 1893–1894, who set the foundations of the college and led it during its formative years.

Named in honour of Br E.F. Keniry – Headmaster from 1912–1915 and 1920–1924, who ran the college throughout the first part of the war and was a driving force behind establishing the Old Collegians Association.

Named in honour of Br Paul Nunan – Headmaster from 1910–1912, Nunan put into effect the completion of the development plan and expanded the curriculum.

Named in honour of Br T.B. Galvin – Headmaster from 1925–1926, Galvin was not only a man of great wit but is remembered as an academic and a brother who had a large influence over the boys at the time.

The college promotes the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, basing itself on the four pillars of faith, excellence, tradition and joy. The patron of the college, the Most Reverend Paul Bird, Bishop of Ballarat, presides over the major college Masses along with other priests (including former students of St Patrick's).


  1. Br. J. L. Ryan, CFC (1893–1894)
  2. Br. J. B. Nugent, CFC (1894–1899)
  3. Br. W. M. McCarthy, CFC (1899–1904)
  4. Br. J. G. Hughes, CFC (1904–1905)
  5. Br. J. B. Duggan, CFC (1905–1906)
  6. Br. J. T. Quinn, CFC (1906–1908)
  7. Br. F. S. Carroll, CFC (1908–1909)
  8. Br. W. M. McCarthy, CFC (1909)
  9. Br. Paul Nunan, CFC (1910–1912)
  10. Br. E. F. Keniry, CFC (1912–1915)
  11. Br. J. S. Turpin, CFC (1916–1919)
  12. Br. E. F. Keniry, CFC (1920–1924)
  13. Br. T. B. Galvin, CFC (1925–1926)
  14. Br. J. C. McCann, CFC (1926–1930)
  15. Br. W. M. Reidy, CFC (1930)
  16. Br. J. K. O'Neill, CFC (1931–1933)
  17. Br. D. G. Purton, CFC (1934–1939)
  18. Br. I. L Mackey, CFC (1940–1942)
  19. Br. J. D. Healy, CFC (1943–1948)
  20. Br. C. A. Mogg, CFC (1949)
  21. Br. J. D. Healy, CFC (1950–1954)
  22. Br. J. H. Lynch, CFC (1955–1960)
  23. Br. V. I. Murphy, CFC (1961–1963)
  24. Br. J. L. Kelty, CFC (1964–1966)
  25. Br. P. B. Murphy, CFC (1966)
  26. Br. Michael B. Stallard, CFC (1967–1969)
  27. Br. Ronald S. Stewart, CFC (1970–1972)
  28. Br. Paul J. Nangle, CFC (1973–1978)
  29. Br. J. P. O'Halloran, CFC (1978)
  30. Br. William J. Wilding, CFC (1979–1984)
  31. Br. T. F. Kearney, CFC (1985–1988)
  32. Br. K. J. Buckley, CFC (1989–1991)
  33. Br. L. B. Collins, CFC (1992–2001)
  34. Dr. Peter M. Casey (2002–2014)
  35. John S. Crowley (2015– )

Notable alumni

Arts and media
Australian Football League – Members of the Australian Football Hall of Fame
Australian Football League – Members of the Hall of Fame for each club
Australian Football League – Members of the Team of the Century for each club
Australian Football League – Players
Carlton Football Club
Adelaide Football Club
Collingwood Football Club
Essendon Football Club
Fremantle Football Club
Greater Western Sydney Giants
Hawthorn Football Club
Melbourne Football Club
North Melbourne Football Club
Port Adelaide Football Club
Richmond Football Club
St Kilda Football Club
West Coast Eagles
Australian Football League – Brownlow Medalists
Australian Football League – Coaches
Australian Football League – Administrators

See also


  2. "St Alipius Parish School Ballarat — Our Story". Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  3. "St Patrick's Parish Primary School Website - Ballarat". Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  4. "Part B – Victims' experiences, impacts and their pursuit of justice" (PDF). Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Non-Government Organisations. Parliament of Victoria. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  5. 1 2 Daly, Martin (6 August 2011). "Sins of the fathers still haunt abuse victims". The Age. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  6. Cumming, Fia (2 June 2002). "Pell's man helped pedophile priests". Sun-Herald. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  7. "Call for inquiry into school paedophile ring". ABC News. Australia. 30 July 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  8. "Letters Patent". Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  9. "Case Study 28, May 2015, Ballarat". Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  10. "Witness List and Possible Order of Witnesses". Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat: Case study 28. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. 21 May 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  11. Donovan, Samantha (20 May 2015). "Royal Commission hears Cardinal Pell offered victim bribe to keep clerical sex abuse quiet". PM. ABC Local Radio. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  12. Lee, Jane (20 May 2015). "Royal commission told Cardinal George Pell tried to buy victim's silence about abuse". The Age. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  13. J.W.Cherry Biography
  14. Australian of the Year award
  15. Webb, Carolyn (20 March 2013). "Ace fighter pilot". The Age.
  16. Landsberger, Sam (23 August 2012). "Essendon's Nick O'Brien set to become another St Patrick's College debutant". Herald Sun.
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