Jimmies Spirit - St James College



Jimmies Spirit - St James College
Past Students’ Newsletter
Volume 4 February 2013
From the Principal
Welcome to the first edition of Jimmies
Spirit for 2013.
Each school year begins in a very hectic
fashion and this year has been no
exception. We have been delighted to
welcome into the school a new cohort of
enthusiastic Year 8 students together with
many other students across all year levels.
In keeping with the College’s faithfulness to
value of ‘inclusion’ which is a key feature
of the Charter of Edmund Rice Education
Australia, and also to the traditions and
history of Jimmies, we continue to welcome
students from many different backgrounds,
cultures and faith traditions. We also provide
special opportunities for those young men
and women who need extra care and
attention because of learning differences or
social issues.
It has also been a great strength of the
College, as you all know, that it provides
opportunities for students who, because
of particular home situations or financial
circumstances, may not be able to access a
Catholic education in other environments.
To see all these students flourish is a source
of great satisfaction to the staff of the
College who give so much of themselves
and their time towards the education of their
After much planning and discussion, we
were very pleased to receive a letter from
the State Minister for Education, John Paul
Langbroek, confirming that the College
would be in receipt this year of a significant
grant towards the building of a new $3.1m
state-of-the-art Library and Science
facility. This long-awaited confirmation has
resulted in our being able to submit a formal
Development Application to Brisbane City
Council, and, if successful, to commence
building later this year.
This will be the first stage of some exciting
developments on the College campus over
the next several years as we prepare for the
intake of Year 7 students in 2015. Existing
Science laboratories will be refurbished to
accommodate prospective Year 7s and it is
planned that the old Library will be part of
a new refurbishment project for the College
administration in the heritage-listed
St James Building.
The re-development of Jimmies on the Dam
is steadily taking place as senior students
studying Construction and Engineering
Certificate courses use their skills to build
new facilities and refurbish old ones on
the site. It is planned to hold a Community
Picnic Day on Sunday, 5 May, up at Jimmies
on the Dam. Present and past students and
their families are welcome to attend.
Anyone wishing to assist either financially
or in other ways with the re-development
project is encouraged to contact either me
or Anthony Hill, Head of the Design and
Technology Department at the College
([email protected]).
Thank you once again to all our Past
Students for your continued support of
the College. Should any of you wish to
contribute financially to the College, there
are two avenues. Contributions can be
made to the College Building Fund to assist
in continuing to provide excellent facilities
for our students or to the Lighthouse
The St James “Lighthouse for Athletes”
program provides another opportunity
to support our young men and women
who are striving for excellence in their
particular sport. Money raised through
this latter avenue goes towards providing
uniforms and travel assistance for students
particularly for students who, because of
their personal circumstances, would not be
able to participate.
I would like to thank in particular the
following past students, families of past
students and companies who have
financially contributed to the College
through one or other of the avenues above:
Gary Allen, Martin Quinn, Andrew Lovett,
Peter Egan, John Callaghan, Peter Wilson,
John O’Hara, Brian Davies, Tim Fairfax,
Adrian McDonald (Advice & Information
Pty Ltd), Tony Palella (PHV Law Solicitors),
Adrian Di Marco (Technology One),
Wendy Bomgaars (Practice Management
International), Zimi Meka (Yellow Daisy
Foundation), Fox International Systems,
Madison Cleaning.
In addition, late last year, Peter McWhirter,
through his company donated a massive
amount of new casual clothing for students
– certainly a very generous gesture and one
of which many of our kids were extremely
The Alan and Ailsa Metcalf Student
Leadership Program, supported generously
by past student, Bernard Stapleton, has
continued this year. Our 2013 College
Captains, Melissa Tabulo and Efrem Tesfai,
were the recipients of this funding and
joined student leaders from Edmund Rice
Colleges across Australia for a College
Captains Leadership Conference in January
at the Mary McKillop Centre in North
Sydney. Both Mel and Efrem returned
excited about their leadership possibilities
and capabilities and the ways in which
they can continue to serve the St James
community. A special thanks to Bernard for
providing the assistance for the students to
attend this wonderful event.
Further enquiries in regards to donations
can be directed to College Business
Manager, David Cantwell.
([email protected]).
The College is currently seeking new
members for its Board. The College Board
acts in an advisory capacity to the Principal
in the strategic management of the school
and meets approximately seven times
during the year in the St James Room. Any
past student who feels they may have the
expertise and experience to assist as a
member of the Board, I would encourage
you to contact the Principal’s PA, Naomi
Ritchie, at the College for details.
Thank you all once again for your support
of this extraordinary little school of
St James. The young men and women who
walk in through those gates every day and
place their open hand on the crest in that
time-honoured tradition, see themselves as
keepers of and participants in a wonderful
story that is Jimmies.
Faithful Forever
Gerry Crooks
Jimmies Spirit | February 2013
Co-Curricular Activities at St James
The final term for 2012 was a memorable
one with St James College awarded the
Champion Sporting School for 2012.
After years of dwelling down the bottom
of the South Districts school ranking, St
James College rose up to take out the
Champion School award for 2012. This
is great recognition for the community
involvement as the award is calculated on
the number of district champion sporting
teams, student population as well as
staff involvement in district trials. We
were ranked Number 1 out of a possible
12 schools and were the only school not
to have seniors involved in competitive
teams making the achievement even more
Past student and legend of Queensland
Rugby League, Peter McWhirter
generously gave away thousands of
dollars’ worth of clothing to staff and
students of St James College at the end
of 2012. Peter’s company had a back
log of merchandise and the Jimmies
community was on the receiving end of
numerous garments of excellent quality.
Peter attended St James in the late 60’s
and early 70’s and represented Qld against
NSW playing in the famous number six
jersey in 1979 and 1980.
The last weekend of the 2012 school term
saw our Year 9 boys and girls basketball
in action at Auchenflower for the BBI
Junior Tournament. The tournament
concluded with the boys going down to
overall winners Brisbane State High in
the semi finals and the girls reaching third
place in their pool. Many of the junior girls
squad went on to represent St James
at the national basketball tournament in
Melbourne. It was a fantastic week of
competition and despite not registering
a victory - staff, students and parents
thoroughly enjoyed the experience and
hope to return again in 2013.
Over the Christmas break we had some
fantastic achievements from past and
present students of St James. Senior
student Zac Telfer not only returned from
Italy with no less than 8 medals from the
World Down Syndrome Swimming meet,
but also set two new world records along
the way. I believe Zac is the first Jimmies
student to set a world record and should be
commended for his achievement. We also
had a past and present student represent
Australia and New Zealand at the Australian
Youth Olympics Festival in Sydney. 2011
Senior, Jon Pakchung, did an outstanding
job in weightlifting up against a Chinese
team that broke several Commonwealth
Games records at the meet. Jon would
have received silver for his overall lift if he
was in his preferred weight category. Pene
Bishop-Paenga not only had the honour
of being flag bearer for the New Zealand
team, but returned home with a bronze
medal in the basketball, going down to the
eventual winners Australia in the semi.
system that will ensure success is not
confined to the court but equalled in the
class room.
There are some exciting changes in the
Junior Sport program each Wednesday
this year. The Year 8’s will begin a new
look schedule that will include Rock
Climbing, Golf and a Ukulele/ Guitar music
program. The old favourites will return for
the Years 9’s and 10’s with Fishing, Table
Tennis, Ten Pin Bowling, Basketball and
Futsal headlining this term’s activities.
The extremely successful and rewarding
Sporting Chance Program run by exBrisbane Bullets’ player Leroy Loggins will
also be offered each Wednesday afternoon.
Leroy runs a mentoring program that
includes team building, health and fitness
as well as culturally significant outings. It
looks like it will be another successful year
for junior sport at St James College.
Andrew Ebrington
Sports Co-ordinator
2013 is shaping up to be the most exciting
and successful year in the Jimmies
basketball program’s brief history. The
senior boys have wasted no time and are
well into the GBL U23 Men’s season at
BBI. The program is bigger and better than
ever with more players, more coaches,
more fundraising and more tournaments
planned for 2013. The Jimmies Basketball
Supporters’ Committee are pleased to
announce the return of head coach Kirron
Byrne for 2013 and are excited to inform
the community of the appointment of Nigel
Berghan as the senior boys’ coach for
2013. Nigel comes to us from BBC where
he has taken their senior squad to Nationals
for the past two seasons and will be part
of a dynamic coaching team that has been
assembled over the break. As well as an up
to date web page the basketball program
will be rolling out an academic tracking
Pene Bishop-Paenga
Jon Pakchung.
St James College
Zac Telfer.
Outdoor Recreation & Health
Staff Retreat at Jimmies on the Dam
Arnold Palmer once said: “The most
rewarding things you do in life are often the
ones that look like they cannot be done.”
Camps are an integral part of St James
College, giving students an unforgettable
experience outside of the classroom. This
year will see a return of Year Level camps
to Jimmies on the Dam, with a Year 9 Camp
operating during the last week of Term 1.
With this in mind some of the College
teaching staff and their families visited
Jimmies on the Dam during the school
holidays to experience first-hand some
of the fantastic new facilities built by the
Certificate 1 Construction students under
the supervision of Mr Hill and the Design &
Technology Department.
The school is very excited to be returning
to this wonderful setting, the site of such
history and memories. If any previous
student has any old photos, memories of
camps at Jimmies on the Dam or would like
to attend the Year 9 Camp this year, please
contact Mr Marty Wiseman at:
[email protected]
The school would be keen to hear from you
as we try to recreate the magic of these
camps for future students.
Mr James Anderson
Head of Department –
Outdoor Recreation & Health
Jimmies Spirit | February 2013
St James and YOS Community Partnership
itself, with the full support of staff and its
In 2012 a Year 11 Student enrolled in the
program, requested to enrol in OP Art and
Study of Religion at St James. Artistically
talented, this student submitted some
amazing photographs that were displayed
at the St James Art Show and represented
many aspects of her life and experiences.
Below is a collection of her work. She also
engages in service, by participating in the
Jimmies Breakfast Van on Wednesday
mornings before school, that helps feed
the homeless, something she has been
familiar within the past, having experience
many long periods of homelessness and
instability. However, today she looks
forward as she enters her final year of
study with the desire and goal to finish her
Senior Education and move forward in the
direction of a future that now has hope and
Samantha Gall ~ Pride of Australia.
The YOS Education Program is a
Community Partnership Program between
St James College, Brisbane and The
Salvation Army Youth Outreach Service.
Established in 2006, as a response to
an increasing number of young people
considered to be at risk of not completing
their education, it now enters its eighth
year, and has assisted over 105 young
people successfully work towards their
QCE and towards the attainment of realistic
and attainable educational opportunities.
The majority of young people engaged in
the YOS Education Program are located
in the inner city region of Brisbane and are
considered to be homeless or at risk of
homelessness. The Partnership to date has
created an individualised holistic learning
environment, providing each student
enrolled with a ‘case manager’ to support
lifestyle issues and a teaching team that
provides high quality academic support and
teaching through flexible delivery. St James
College and YOS are partners centred
on an inclusive Christian ethos, providing
support and individual care with focus on
learning and moving forward. The YOS
Education Program is a unique opportunity
to educate marginalised youth, and
encourage the young people
enrolled in the program to be
transformational in their society.
The YOS Education Program
offers young people an avenue
to return to education without
prejudice and complete their
Senior Phase of Learning,
offering students the ability to
enrol in Year 10 and Senior,
as well as access to the TAFE
Schools Program, and Senior
Subjects and Sports at the
College. Student choosing
to access additional subjects
at St James, not offered at
YOS, are welcomed to attend
those classes at the College
St James College
Students from the program over the last
seven years have gone on to Tertiary
Studies through various TAFE’s throughout
Queensland, undertaken Education
Training Programs within Queensland
Health and Government, have been
accepted into University Courses in some
of Queensland’s top Universities and have
gone on to also gain meaningful and career
orientated employment.
The commitment of students in the YOS
Education Program, not only to their
studies, but also their desire to work and
earn an income, demonstrates a tenacity
and strength to move above and beyond
the turbulence of their past and create
a future with real skills, experience and
understanding around the demands of life
while learning to stand on their own two
feet as a contributing member to society
and their community.
Having had the privilege to work with this
particular group of students, I am always
in awe, having been privy to their stories
and often the extreme and traumatic events
they have experienced in their short lives
to date, and am amazed and humbled by
their determination and persistence to not
give up or give in, particularly when 8590% of the cohort live independently and
with very little or no family support. People
often see the issues of these young people
rather than their strengths, and it is those
strengths, that sometimes they do not even
realise that play a crucial role in turning
their lives around.
Whenever I talk with students in the
program and students who have completed
the program, the underlying thread and
feedback I receive, is that, it is the fact that
the teams involved in the YOS Education
Program never give up on them and go
above and beyond. Like any school or
program, there are challenging days, but all
staff involved put that aside and continue
to work with our students and believe in
them, and for that I am extremely grateful
and blessed to be part of a school and
community that share the same passion
and belief in our students as I do.
I was very blessed and overwhelmed last
year having been selected as a finalist
for the Pride of Australia Medal in the
Inspiration category, and then in September
announced as the QLD Winner of the
Inspiration Category for my work with at
risk youth and contribution to the YOS
Education Program in Fortitude Valley for
the last elven years, assisting young people
disengaged from mainstream schooling
to complete Year 10 and Senior Studies.
However, the true inspiration actually lies
within the young people themselves who
want to rebuild their lives, move forward
and gain a sense of hope and pride back.
It is the most amazing feeling seeing
young person’s eyes ignite and fire up
with a desire, passion, empowerment
and determination to want to succeed
and achieve for the purpose of making
something of themselves and their lives in
the future.
As a result of being recognised in my
field, the YOS Education Program more
importantly has gained recognition and
exposure that has allowed parents,
services and young people the opportunity
to explore this amazing Community
Partnership Program as an option to finish
education and ignite conversations around
seeking further support and avenues for
the future. It is truly a privilege to be part
of something so special and to
have the backing and support
of Edmund Rice Australia,
St James College and their
amazing team of teachers
and administration personnel,
Youth Workers at YOS and our
wonderful Education Team.
All this is what creates an
Educational Program that at its
core provides the right support
students need to feel a sense of
stability, consistency, guidance
and accepts a student’s
individuality, believes in their
worth and provides hope for
their future.
Samantha Gall
Student artwork.
Program Coordinator YOS Campus
Coming Events
5 Year Reunion
on Friday 3 May, 2013
The College would like to host a gathering for
the Class of 2008 to celebrate having graduated
from St James five years ago.
This event will be held on Friday 3 May in
the College Library from 5.00pm to 7.00pm at
a cost of $10.00 per person, inclusive of drinks
and nibbles.
We hope you can join us on this occasion
and look forward to catching up on what you’ve
been doing over the past five years.
RSVP by Monday 29 April, 2013
Mrs Naomi Ritchie, Principal’s PA – (07) 3230 8686
[email protected]
Sunday, 5 May 2013
All in the St James Community – past and current students and their families,
College staff and families - are warmly invited to attend a Picnic Day at
St James Outdoor Education facility Jimmies on the Dam. The property is
located at 365 Burnett Creek Road, Maroon. Look out for the red and white sign
saying Jimmies on the Dam which is situated at the front gate.
As the property is located on the banks of Maroon Dam please feel free to bring
along any sporting or recreational equipment you may wish to utilise.
All attending will need to provide their own food and drinks together with picnic
tables, chairs, rugs etc.
We hope you can join us for a relaxing and enjoyable day.
Should you have any enquiries please contact Naomi Ritchie:
Phone: 07 3230 8686 or email at [email protected]
Basketball Challenge
Past Students vs Current Students
Friday, 19 April 2013
Games at 5.00pm and 6.00pm in
the School Hall
The College would like to invite all interested past students of Jimmies to participate
in the Past Students vs Current Students Basketball Challenge. Two games have been
scheduled for Friday 19 April, with 5.00pm and 6.00pm starts.
Refreshments will be provided by the Basketball Supporters’ Committee at a
reasonable price. No need to rush home for dinner, enjoy a burger or two from the
barbeque. Cold drinks will also be available.
Everyone is welcome to come along and either actively participate on the court
or attend as a supporter.
Should you wish to play and be part of a Past Students’ Team, would you kindly
contact Andrew Ebrington on 0408 870 960 or at
[email protected] by Monday, 15 April 2013.
Jimmies Spirit | February 2013
Where are they now?
Peter Wall (1952)
As a recipient of Volume 3 of Jimmies Spirit
I was intrigued by a question on Page
7, “Has a past student ever represented
Australia at the Olympic games?”
I’d like to let you know that my good
friend and Jimmie’s old boy, John
Bukowski (deceased 20/2/2001),
represented Australia at a number of
consecutive OLYMPIC GAMES.
The following is a press extract for readers’
“One of Australia’s best amateur boxers,
John Bukowski, died on Tuesday night.
Bukowski, who fought at the Rome (1960)
&Tokyo (1964) Olympics and two Empire
Games before turning pro, was 62 years old.
He died of a heart attack in the back
of an ambulance on his property
at Mundubberra.).
For those who are not aware the 50s and
60s was an era of very good boxers &
coincidently the heavyweight Gold Medal
winner at the Rome Olympics was a boxer
called Cassius Clay who we all know now
as the famous Muhammed Ali.
John was a particularly good friend of
mine. We attended St James from 1948 to
1952 and then went up to Terrace for 1953
and 1954 (Years 9 & 10 which were called
Sub-Junior and Junior in those days).
We both went to Gatton College in 1955.
John left at the end of that year to pursue
his boxing career.
We only ever went to one reunion and
luckily it was the year before John passed
away. If John was alive today he would be
73 cheery years of age - the same age as
I also have two brothers who went to
St James.
Greg Sheedy (1963 Junior)
I spent 41 years employed in the
Australian Domestic Airline business
with roles in airport training, supervision
and airport management. Prior to this,
after leaving school, I was employed in
the Motor Vehicle Spare Parts Trade in
Brisbane before moving to Tassy in 1968.
I am now retired with Pennant Squash,
Motorsport, Golf and Rugby still being
keen interests.
Kenneth Howell (1977)
Ken Howell was a foundation member of
the St Stephen’s Cathedral Choir in 1970
when he was in Grade 7 at St James.
He left St James in 1977 to commence
studies for the priesthood at Banyo
Seminary. Fr Ken spent 15 years at the
Cathedral of St Stephen including seven
St James College
years as Dean. In January 2013 Fr Ken
took up the role of parish priest at Burleigh
Heads on the Gold Coast.
Kevin St Clair (1977)
I am a supervising scientist and laboratory
manager in the Pathology Department at
Redcliffe Hospital.
Rhett Willis (1996)
Rhett is the head chef at Jellyfish
Restaurant, Eagle Street Brisbane. He is
currently a contestant on Masterchef: The
Best wishes Rhett from all in the St James
Martin Edge (2005)
Martin’s next Solo Show, titled “A
Colourful Journey”, is at Robyn Bauer
Gallery. The Show opens Wednesday 1
May, 2013. Opening Night is Saturday 4
May from 6pm to 8pm. The Show runs
till May 31. There will be an Artist Talk
on Thursday 9 May between 11am to
12pm. Everyone is welcome and light
refreshments will be served.
In October 2012 Martin entered an art
piece in the Visual Arts Category of
the Naturally Autistic People Awards in
Canada. Martin received a Certificate of
Recognition. On 4 December 2012 Martin
was invited by Naturally Autistic Radio
in Canada to be interviewed live on their
afternoon program. The host, Leonora
Gregory-Collura who is President of
Naturally Autistic, had images of Martin’s
work and discussed them with him for one
On Australia Day this year Martin was
honoured by Hon. Peter Dutton MP
Federal Member for Dickson and the
Shadow Minister for Health & Ageing for a
Dickson Community Award.
In April 2013 Martin’s artwork will be used
by Autism Qld for their “GO BLUE FOR
AUTISM” campaign. There will be an event
in the Queen Street Mall on April 2. Martin
has been invited to be a guest speaker.
The art piece to be used for the campaign
will be able to be viewed at Martin’s solo
show in May.
Joseph Yunis (2008)
I’m Joseph Yunis past student and college
captain of St James College from 2006
to 2008. Since leaving Jimmies, I enrolled
in a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at
the University of Queensland in 2009.
After four years of study, I graduated
with first class honours in Microbiology
in 2012. My project was to investigate
the signals encoded in a Murine
Cytomegalovirus gene “M78” that was
internalised by HeLa cells. I also earned a
Summer Research Scholarship from the
University of Queensland to investigate
the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs
on tumours from cancer patients at the
UQ Diamantina Institute now part of the
Translational Research Institute.
Beside my study and love for science
exploration in the form of research, I have
been involved in a charity organisation
I founded and got registered on the
4th December 2012. The vision of the
organisation is to ensure that every
disadvantaged child in pursuit of quality
education define their futures through
scholarships, community based schools
and institutions that encourage community
involvement and ownership, that advance
leadership, conflict resolution and
reconciliation to provide quality education
and bridge cultural divide.
The Nuba people of South Kordofan
in Sudan have suffered for so many
years since 1956 to this very moment.
Today, they are victims of relentless
aerial bombardments which has caused
indiscriminate killing of civilians including
children, women and the elderly, massive
migration and population displacement,
political unrest and economic instability,
lack of access to clean drinking water,
health, food and shelter.
These factors have directly and indirectly
affected education in the Nuba Mountains
and beyond. Direct effects include;
constant fear i.e insecurity, destruction
of schools, displacement of students
and communities and exodus of qualified
teaching and supporting staff. Indirect
effect includes; limited economic activity
to provide income, limited agriculture to
provide food for consumption and sale
to generate income, displacement which
traumatises students and parents and the
uncertainty that comes with it.
This is particularly important for students
who were sent by either the SPLA-N
government (protect civilians in South
Kordofan) or parents for high schooling in
Uganda or Kenya before the war started
because many cannot provide school fees,
writing stationery and textbooks. This is
a direct and an indirect effect of the war
on Nuba. These are the challenges the
organisation is trying to alleviate through
seminars to sensitize the public, collect
old mobile phones and recycle through
foneraiser (1 broken mobile phone =$3
which can provide writing stationery
for 1 year, $40= school fees). As part of
the organisation plans to develop better
understanding of the problems at hand,
I will travel to Africa late this year and to
the Catholic School in Masindi-Uganda.
They are the beneficiary of this first project
Where are
they now?
which involves setting up a computer class
with 1 laptop that we can currently afford
to train students and project managers
to manage the organisation projects and
provide reports and feedback. For more
information visit the organisation’s website
www.nubaeducation.org or facebook page
insEducationInitiative. Thank you for your
35 year milestone for Max
early stage, differences between the two
establishments became apparent- the
Jimmy’s kids would almost fight with
each other to go out to the road to rub
off the Parking Inspector’s chalk marks
from my car tyres; no offers from up the
Nick Filer (2009)
Nick has just graduated from Griffith
University with a Batchelor of International
Relations. His final assessment on Islam
and democratic societies has been
accepted for publication in an academic
journal. He has been accepted into
Honours in 2013 and following this wants
to study Law at UQ and then his Masters
in the UK (hopefully at Oxford). Well done
Dom Mallett (2011)
I am currently studying a dual degree in
Science and IT at QUT. I am working on
several Games Design projects and I am
a hobby artist on deviantART, specializing
in chibi artwork. I am currently looking for
employment in the field of IT as I have a
love for computers and technology.
At year’s end, Benny (you know who I
mean) gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse:
Laurie Moran, the incumbent Maths
teacher, decided to leave. “Do you want
to be full-time Maths?” he asks. I reply
affirmatively and one year was followed
by another, then another, then another…
Max Ryan – A milestone in Maths education.
To students past
and present
As I sit here, wondering what to write,
two things I still find hard to believe: I
can’t believe how long I’ve been here
and I can’t believe I’m about to go.
However, both are true even in spite
of my initial meeting with the good Br
Steele when I stood back; took a long,
long look at Jimmies and consoled
myself with the thought “Not much of
a place but, no worries, won’t be here
long…” Yeah. Sure.
That was the beginning of Jimmies for
me. Very different from my previous
experiences. Indeed, after not parting on
the best of terms at State High after only
11 weeks and three years at Churchie,
my staying power was apparently not
that great.
Class of 2010
Congratulations to Ged Sheehan &
Johanna Hull who became engaged
in October 2012. Ged is currently
working towards becoming a fireman
and Johanna is undertaking a Business/
Communications degree.
Andrew Peter Puzniak
27 May 1955 – 12 October 2012
Andrew was in his early twenties when
cancer first struck. His last battle with
cancer started six years ago until in
October 2012 he ran out of strength and
finally lost his 35 year battle with cancer.
Andrew was the adoring and devoted
husband to Jane, the proud and loving
father of Mark and David, a caring friend
and trusted colleague, a man of generous
spirit and incredible determination.
Throughout my Jimmies’ journey is a
panorama of events: I meet my good
wife there. Zillions of teachers, students
and friends. Some forgotten; most
remembered. And when I had a look at
the photos of the recent 50 year olds
at the Races, I remembered very well.
Mario hadn’t changed much. He looked
like that when I first met him (kidding).
The vast majority of students I saw have
had a lowering of their centres of gravity
(not kidding).
One thing outstanding is how I perceived
I related to the twin engines of the
school, the students and teachers.
It was virtually identical. The biggest,
biggest majority of both parties I liked,
respected appreciated etc. I would like
to think that the small number I did not
resonate with will forget and forgive at
this stage.
And so to all, a fond goodbye and
sincere wishes for the future.
At first, I had to share my day with
Jimmies in the morning and up the road
at Terrace in the afternoon. Even at this
Andrew was born in Brisbane on Friday 27
May, 1955, the only son of Joe and Teresa
Puzniak, who emigrated from Poland to
Australia to give their son the opportunity
of a better life. He was the apple of their
eye and from them learnt the importance of
family, friends, education and hard-work.
Andrew started at St James in Year 5.
St James was a tough school in those
days, made up largely by a student body
of English and Italian heritages and run by
Christian brothers who believed in
the strap.
Andrew graduated from the University of
Queensland with a Bachelor of Engineering
with Honours, to which he later added
Graduate Diplomas in Management and
Computer Science.
Andrew had a long and successful career
as a professional engineer in Telstra and
during his 32 years with the company
he worked in a variety of roles from
Max Ryan
underground cable installation to
strategic planning.
It is said a man’s life should not be
measured by the number of his days here
on earth, but instead by the sum of the
people he touched during his time with us.
Andrew had a great love of life and people,
and lived life to the fullest. Although he has
left us, memories of his determination, joy,
warmth and good humour live on with his
family and friends, and we will remember
and cherish:
• his generosity and kindness
towards people
• his courage in the face of
overwhelming adversity
• his love of family and friends,
because they mattered so much to him.
Ray Di Marco
Class of ‘72
Jimmies Spirit | February 2013
Stay Connected
Past Students, please send your
details to:
Naomi Ritchie, Principal’s Assistant
St James College,
201 Boundary Street,
Brisbane QLD 4000
Phone: (07) 3230 8686
[email protected]
Title & Surname
Surname at School
Given Names
New Address
Previous Address
Last year at St James & Year Level
Have you been doing anything we
should know about?
• Please advise if you would prefer not
to receive information from the Past
Students’ Association.
Br Thomas Justin O’Farrell (1913 – 2013), Past Student of
St James College and World’s Oldest Christian Brother
Obituary by Br Tim Scott cfc
When Brother Thomas Justin O’Farrell
died in mid-January this year at Holy Spirit
Home at Carseldine he was in his hundredth
year. He had joined the Christian Brothers
in 1926. As one past student commented,
“Once he put his hand to the plough he
never looked back.”
Thomas was born in Stephenson Street at
Hamilton on the 9th November, 1913. His
parents James and Florence already had a
little daughter, Jean. Later another daughter
Bridget and son James would be born.
Thomas’s early years were to be difficult with
his little brother, Jimmie, dying of meningitis
just after his first birthday, and Thomas’s
father returning from the First World War
blinded from a wound to the head.
His first teaching appointment was to
Tamworth in 1931 and then to St Patrick’s
College in Ballarat until 1935. For the next
sixty-five years until his return to his home
State of Queensland, he ministered to
students in orphanages run by the Brothers
as well as technical schools in Melbourne
and Geelong.
So it was in July 1926 that he decided to
answer the call to follow Edmund Rice and
entered the Christian Brothers’ formation
house at Strathfield in Sydney. Another
classmate, Bill Henry joined the priesthood,
and another, Claver Geraghty, also joined
the Brothers.
One of his confreres, Brother Frank
Chappell, who knew him well during this
time wrote: “His presence would have
been enough to have kept the school
going, but he was tirelessly active in his
leadership and teaching. The lay staff had
some strong personalities, but they were
prepared to follow Jus. They saw a man of
integrity, whose word was his bond. They
admired his decades of service to technical
education. They found him generous and
even in disposition. Not only was he admired
and respected by the staff but also by
the boys. All understood that they would
obtain maximum value from his machine
shop classes. He had years of experience,
prepared his work thoroughly and was
generous in working overtime with those
who needed a little extra. That commitment
did not pass without appreciation.”
On receiving the habit he was given the
name ‘Brother Justin’ and so for over eightyfive years he was known as Jus or Jusso or
When news of his passing spread, one
Melbourne mother wrote of her memories:
“When I told our sons that Brother O’Farrell
The family moved to Rainbow Street in
Sandgate and after a short time at Sacred
Heart Convent, he began the daily train trip
to St James College in Fortitude Valley in
1925. It was here that he came under the
influence of the Brothers like Br Cel Gasper
and Br Stan Gurr.
to the students as ‘Brother Joffa’ adapting
Br Justin’s intials (J.O’F) as a nickname and
kids do.
St James College
had died on Saturday, they remembered him
with great admiration and respect, and told
stories of what they had learned from him in
the classroom workshop. His welding skills,
his fastidious preparation of equipment and
skills for repairing broken equipment have
taught them valuable life-long lessons.”
Jus’s final week was peaceful and many sat
at his bedside to pray with him including
many of the Holy Spirit Sisters who
administered the Holy Spirit Home.
When Jus died he was the oldest Christian
Brother in the world and the most senior by
entry into the Brothers. It was fitting that he
was laid to rest at Nudgee Cemetery with his
confreres and will share the grave with the
first Brother to arrive in Australia in 1843 –
Brother Patrick Larkin who actually knew the
Founder of the Christian Brothers, Edmund
Rice, and also taught Brother Ambrose
Treacy who brought the Christian Brothers to
A relic of Blessed Edmund Rice was placed
in Jus’s hand as he lay dying. Coincidentally,
Jus’s only trip overseas was to Ireland for
the opening of the then newly-built Edmund
Rice Chapel in Waterford where the Founder
himself is buried.
We are saying everything when we name
Jus as “a faithful Christian Brother”, a man
who epitomised the Jimmies motto: Faithful

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