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Sixty years of the college on the hill.

St Bernard's College celebrated sixty years in West Essendon last Friday. The college started in 1939 on a postage stamp sized block of land in Moonee Ponds, and the story of how the land in West Essendon was purchased is legendary, with an enterprising Br Murphy intercepting an estate agent with a cheque late one night to stave off the signing of an early morning developer deal. The proposed streets, never to be built, had already been named and printed in that year's Melways street directory, in a pre-emptive strike by the developer. (See my book Murphy's Lore and Other Stories: A History of St Bernard's College as Told by Those Who Were There.)

The sixtieth anniversary was shadowed by the death of 2008 graduate Christopher Lane, who was murdered in Oklahoma, USA last week. R.I.P.


Photo: looking to the west, the original building on the West Essendon hill; not a house to be seen, and a faint row of trees on top of the hill where Milleara Road runs today. In 1963 it was Melbourne's north-western edge, with virtually nothing but thistle and a basalt plain beyond. Today, the far hills in the background are endless suburbia. I grew up eight hundred metres directly east of the college.


From the St Bernard's Old Collegians website:
Recently Chris Lane '08 was tragically killed in Oklahoma USA. He was in the US on a baseball scholarship and had only been back in the country from his end of year break in Melbourne for 3 days.

Chris was in the 2008 graduating year at St Bernard's. He was 22. He was on the Student Council in Year 12, and was one of the friendliest and most loved boys in the Class of '08.

To his family, friends and all in the St Bernard's community affected by this horrible tragedy the Old Collegians Association sends out our deepest condolences and offer our unconditional support. In light of this, St Bernard's College, St Bernard's Old Collegians Association and the students of Chris' Class of 2008 wish to raise funds to assist the Lane family. The family have expressed an interest in establishing a scholarship, purchasing equipment and/or building a memorial in Chris' name.

Donations can be made via the SBOCA bank account, details below:

Account Name: St. Bernard's Old Collegians Association Incorporated
Bank: Westpac
BSB: 033 066
A/C: 148 455
Reference: Lane