Michael Hehir, Our Man in the South Pacific

All who have studied Australian History at Marcellin have learned that back in the convict days the worst of the worst were sent to a miserable fate upon Norfolk Island.  Michael Hehir, Marcellin's very first School Captain, has contributed to community life on this tranquil island and has held a number of statutory appointments, including that of Coroner.  Mike (or “Mick” as he was known to us at Marcellin) has been practising law on Norfolk for the last 14 years, but is soon to return to Hurstbridge.

Mike holds a record at Marcellin which will never be equalled.  You see, not only was he School Captain in the foundation year of 1950, but he maintained the distinction for the duration of 1951 and 1952 as well!  So how does one manage to be Captain for three years?  The answer to the riddle lies in the fact that in 1950 the College only had students up to Form 3 (Year 9 nowadays).  Each year a higher grade was added.  So when Mike left school after Year 11 in 1952, he held the unbeatable distinction of three years as Captain.  He frankly admits that his academic record was not stellar, and that at that stage he would never have believed that he would graduate in Law from the University of Melbourne.  In fact, he was Marcellin’s very first lawyer.

Those younger than him at school certainly remember him as the leader.  He was something of a hero on the football field and especially on the athletics track, where he sprinted in the maroon and blue in the early inter-school competitions.

It may well be that Mike holds another record for Marcellin boys.  He and his wife Barbara, have nine children, and “about 22” grand-children and five great-grand-children.  We’ll be interested to hear if anyone can top those proud numbers.

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Michael Hehir, seated middle

Michael Hehir, seated middle

Peter Ditchburn, Marcellin's Ambassador to Canada

When Peter Ditchburn graduated from the humanities stream at Marcellin in 1959, he left school but never really left education.  His pathway took him to an Arts Degree and Diploma of Education at the University of Melbourne, and to initial teaching years at Northcote High School.  In 1968, at age 26, Peter moved to Calgary to study for a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration.  Little did he realise then that Canada would be home from that time on.

Back in his Marcellin days he had enjoyed Athletics, especially hurdles, without achieving particular distinction.  He was appointed a school prefect and became president of the YCS, a Catholic student movement of  the time.  Of all the brothers, he remembers Br Stanislaus (Bill Dillon) most fondly, because “he knew how to relate to the boys.  He was always firm, fair and friendly.”  But it is the ailing Br Roger to whom he feels most indebted, for opening his mind to intellectual life and for steering him to university.

In Canada, Peter taught English and his career soared.  He became the Head of the very prestigious Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (“STS”) in Alberta (equivalent to a top ‘public school’ in Australia), and Executive Director of the Canadian Educational Standards Institute.  He has now retired, but still consults on governance issues in educational institutions, and is a Director of the STS Foundation.

His wife, Sue, is also an education specialist in her own right.  They moved to Toronto for 11 years for her to fill the role of Principal at a major private school for girls there, before they returned to Calgary five years ago.  Like most Australians living in Canada, Peter quickly caught the skiing and ice hockey bug, and now derives great enjoyment following his grandson’s hockey team.

On his regular trips back to Australia he maintains friendships with old Marcellin classmates of over 50 years ago.  His family has an unusual lingering connection with Marcellin, in that a great-aunt donated the marble altar for the chapel at Canterbury Road, and the cross from that altar found a place in the Bulleen chapel.

Peter and wife Sue, Lake Louise, Canada

Peter and wife Sue, Lake Louise, Canada

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Peter Ditchburn far right, 3rd row from front

Peter Ditchburn far right, 3rd row from front

Martin Pollard

Martin Pollard, at the Heart of the Road Toll Success

From Richard Olive

When Martin Pollard was Dux at Marcellin in 1956, he had no inkling that in retirement he would have the satisfaction of knowing that, thanks in part to the work in which he had been engaged, over 300 Victorians every year, who would otherwise be killed, would still be enjoying life.  Martin was the VicRoads’ lawyer who spent years at the heart of the development and implementation of the laws behind speed and red light cameras, and drink driving detection and prosecution, laws which saw Victoria leading the world in road toll reduction.

He had studied law at the University of Melbourne, becoming one of Marcellin’s first law graduates.  His initial years in the law were spent with the Commonwealth Government, where his major achievement was to see to the replacement of old British shipping laws with modern Australian laws.

Martin has lived mainly in Melbourne, but spent three years in Canberra during his 26 years with the Commonwealth, before joining VicRoads 30 years ago.  Also, following the success of his work on the Victorian road laws, he consulted to state governments in India on how they might achieve similar improvement.

Throughout his career Martin enjoyed the support of Mary, his wife of 51 years.  They had six children, and now in retirement in Doncaster East they enjoy their 10 grand-children.  He exercises the body with golf and the mind with a diverse range of interests, from genealogy to Linux operating systems.  Of particular note is Martin’s and Mary’s ongoing devotion to their faith and to the parish of St Philip’s in North Blackburn, of which they were founding members.

Of all his teachers at Marcellin, he remembers most fondly Br Eustace, “A completely selfless and dedicated teacher who knew his stuff and went to no end of trouble to pass the knowledge on to his pupils, and to stimulate interest in an intelligent and compassionate manner.”

Martin Pollard (OC1956)

Martin Pollard (OC1956)

Martin Pollard, Commonwealth Scholarship,1956

Martin Pollard, Commonwealth Scholarship,1956

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Thanks to Chris Roberts in Archives for supplying these great photos of Martin in his school days.