Biographies

St Patrick's College had many people among its students, teachers, and others associated with the College who have made a significant contribution to the life of Melbourne and Australia - in civic leadership, in the Church, in the professions and in the intellectual life. This section profiles the biographies of some of these.

Timothy Bernard Ryan (Died 1927)

St Pat's: 1873 - 1875
Captain of Essendon Football Club for 2 Premierships


Timothy Bernard Ryan attended Pats, as a Boarder, in 1873-1875 and graduated at Melbourne with M.B.,B.S. in 1881. He was a renowned athlete at school captaining the football team.

He played with the Essendon Football Club before the Victorian League was formed and was Captain for two years in which Essendon won the Premiership.Two other Patricians played in these teams under his leadership-Morgan O'Meara (Pats 1874-1881) and Edward Kernan (Pats 1874). It is said that Ryan took his St Patrick's jumper when he first went to Essendon and that its Red and Black colours those of St Ignatius are the forerunner of the Essendon colours of today?

He practiced at Clifton Hill and later at Bacchus Marsh. He was active in Association affairs for many years and died in 1927.

Note: Patrician: 1922, 1925,1927.

John Demetrius Morris 1902 - 1956

St Pat's: 1917 - 1920
Chief Justice of Tasmania in 1939 and Knighted in 1943


John Demetrius Morris attended Pats in 1917-1920 having been born in Hawthorn in 1902. He graduated at Melbourne B.A. in 1924, LL.B. in 1925 and M.A. in 1926, was admitted to practise in Victoria and Tasmania and settled in Tasmania in 1930. He developed a huge practice in Hobart, was appointed Chief Justice in 1939, Chancellor of the University in 1944 and became the most influential citizen in the State.

He was knighted in 1943 and made K.C.M.G. in 1952. He was instrumental in the appointment of Sydney Sparkes Orr to the Chair of Philosphy in the University believing this would be of benefit to the State but he remained aloof from the difficulties that later arose with Orr and became withdrawn and reclusive.

Whilst in exercising his great influence in the State he used his Jesuit heritage of social justice as a guide yet he did not follow visible Catholic practice of the faith. He died in 1956.

Note: Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 15.

Richard Pirrie (Died 1944)

St Pat's: 1934 - 1938
First Australian serviceman to lose his life in the invasion of Europe.


Richard Pirrie attended Pats in 1934-1938 and joined the Commonwealth Public Service via the Auditor-Generals Department.A noted footballer he was a star with the C.Y.M.S. before playing with the Hawthorn Club in 1940-1941.

He enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy in 1941 and served on convoy duty in England. He was killed on the Day of the Normandy invasion while in command, as a Sub-Lieutenant, of a small ship involved in the landings.He was Mentioned in Despatches for his gallant leadership. He was the first Australian serviceman to lose his life in the invasion of Europe.

Note: Patrician:1944.

John Madden 1864 - 1918

St Pat's: 1859 - 1861
Chief Justice in 1893, in 1899 Lieutenant- Governor and Knighted in 1893


John Madden attended Pats in 1859-1861 having been born at Cloyne, Ireland in 1864 and migrating with the family in 1857. He gained B.A.. at Melbourne in 1864,LL.B in 1865 winning the Billings award and being one of the first four law graduates at Melbourne. He gained his Doctorate in Law in 1869 and entered practice.

He won a seat in Parliament in 1874 but lost it in 1875 after strong attacks on him by the Catholic Advocate for his stand on limited franchise for the Upper House! He was elected again in 1876 and served in the Ministry until 1883. He built an enormous and lucrative legal practice and was appointed Chief Justice in 1893 and in 1899 also Lieutenant- Governor.

He was noted for his garrulous judgements and one of eight hours is the longest in the history of the Court!

He became Chancellor of the University in 1897, was Knighted in 1893,made K.C.M.G. in 1899 and G.C.M.G.in 1906.A staunch Catholic yet he took an opposite stand to Archbishop Mannix and supported the conscription campaigns in World War 1 believing that as Chief Justice he had to be seen to be loyal to the Crown.

He was a great supporter of the Association and was the first President in 1912 although he been President of the earlier, but short-lived, Association formed in 1900.He died in 1918.

Note: Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 10 .More than a School, Michael Head & Gerard Healy, 1999.

Percy Stanislaus McDonnell 1860 - 1896

St Pat's: 1870 - 1875
Recognised as one of Australia's great batsmen.


Percy Stanislaus McDonnell attended Pats in 1870-1875 having been born in London in 1860 and migrating with the family in1864. At school he was a prodigy at cricket and excelled at football and after leaving school soon gained selection for Victoria.

In his first intercolonial game he made an inglorious pair but this was forgotten with his later fast scoring. In 1884 he scored 124 and 83 for Australia against England in the Adelaide Test showing complete mastery over the English bowlers. He toured England with the Australian team in 1880,1882 and 1884 and again in 1888 --this time as Captain. He scored 6460 runs in first class cricket at an average of 23 and is recognised as one of Australia's great batsmen.

Outside cricket he was a stockbroker.He died in 1896.

Note: Patrician: 1922. Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 5

John William Galbally 1910 - 1990

St Pat's: 1925 - 1927
Leader of the Upper House in 1955


John William Galbally attended Pats in 1925-1927 having been born at Port Melbourne in 1910. He graduated in law at Melbourne and practised as a barrister from 1933, later taking 'silk'. He was elected to the Legislative Council in 1947 and served as a Minister from 1952 to1955 and as Leader of the Upper House in1955.He was one of the few Catholic supporters of the Labor Party who did not cross to the D.L.P. after the 'split' in the 1950's. He was awarded the C.B.E. in 1980.

He played with the Collingwood Football team in 1933 and 1934 and was open tennis champion of Murray Valley in 1939,1946 and 1947.

He was a regular attender at Association gatherings.He died in 1990.

Note: Who's Who in Australia:1974,1988. Galbally: Frank Galbally,1989.

Walter J. Broderick

St Pat's: 1912 - 1915
The owner of Light Fingers, which won the 1956 Melbourne Cup


Walter J Broderick attended Pats in 1912-1915. He entered the world of commerce and became the proprietor of Victoria Grains Stores supplying hops to the brewery. He was a devoted member of the Association serving as President in 1934-Victoria's Centenary year and being host at the Association dinner to honour the Papal Legate-Cardinal MacRory-who attended the Eucharistic Congress associated with the Centenary.

Walter was the owner of Light Fingers which, racing in the Blue and White colours of St Pats, won the 1965 Melbourne Cup!

Walter always raised his hat when he passed a Catholic Church or priest but if knew it was a Jesuit Church or a Jesuit priest he raised the hat a little higher!

Note: Patrician: 1934 and 1968. Personal knowledge of author.

Joseph Polack (Died 1941)

St Pats: 1901 - 1904
Formative influence in the development of dentistry in Victoria


Joseph Polack attended Pats in 1901-1904 and studied dentistry at Melbourne gaining L.D.S. and B.D.Sc. in 1909 followed by his Doctorate in Dental Science in 1919.He was a formative influence in the development of dentistry in Victoria, served as Dean of the Dental Faculty, Chairman of the State Dental Council, Chief Examiner of dental students,Honorary Director of Clinics and Honorary Radiography at the Dental Hospital and Secretary of the Public Health Association of Australia.

He was active in the early years of the Association and served on the Committee when it was first formed. He died in 1941..

Note: Patrician: 1924 and 1941

Robert Henry Solly 1883 - 1968

St Pats: 1896 - 1900
Lord Mayor Melbourne 1953 - 1954


Robert Henry Solly attended Pats in 1896-1900 having been born in Adelaide in 1883.

He qualified as an architect and joined the firm of Wunderlich Ltd where he ended his career in 1948 as a Director and remained on the Board until 1963. Highly respected for his wide knowledge of architecture and technology he was elected an Honorary member of the Master Builders Association in 1958 for a lifetime contribution to the building industry.

He was elected to the Melbourne City Council in 1934 and in 1968 became the longest ever serving Councillor. He served as Lord Mayor in 1953-1954 and his natural dignity and poise made him the ideal choice as the host for Queen Elizabeth's visit in 1954. He established the Olympic Civic Committee to prepare the City for the 1956 Olympic Games.

A strong supporter of the Association he died in 1968.

Note: Patrician: 1968. Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 16

Augustus Leo Kenny 1863 - 1946

St Pat's: 1876 - 1877
First eye specialist at St Vincents Hospital and made Knight Grand Cross of St Gregory in 1929


Augustus Leo Kenny attended Pats in 1876-1877 having been born at Salford, England in 1863 and migrated with the family in 1870.He finished education at Xavier and graduated in Medicine and Chemistry at Melbourne.

He pioneered eye surgery in the colony, as the first eye specialist at St Vincents Hospital and gained an international reputation. He founded the Opthalmology Association of Australia, was a founder of the Australian College of Surgeons and a President of the Victorian Branch of the British Medical Association.

His eminence led to membership of the Melbourne Club despite his religion!

He was devoted to the cause of his Church in Victoria and was an advisor and confidant to both Archbishops Carr and Mannix and his contributions were so significant that he was awarded the papal Order of St Gregory in 1888 by Pope Leo X111, was appointed Papal Chamberlain in 1907 by Pope Pius X and made Knight Grand Cross of St Gregory by Pope Pius X1 in 1929. He was awarded the C.M.G. in 1938 and died in1946.

Note: Patrician: 1928. Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 9