The Old Virgilians Association (Inc.)
More than 10,000 students have attended St Virgil’s College in Hobart, Tasmania, since it opened in 1911.
On September 25 1916 a gathering of 40 old boys, the College football team, the sports master, Brother Moore and the team coach, Mr J. Dunn met to discuss the formation of an Old Boys’ Association and an Old Boys’ Football Club. It was agreed that the old boys would subscribe towards an honor board for the College in memory of the former students who were engaged in the present war in Europe.
On May 20th 1917 a group of former students met and formed the Old Virgilians Association (OVA) to:-
- promote fellowship and support its members
- establish and maintain a scholarship fund
- acknowledge the achievements of former students and staff of the College
- support the ideals of St Virgil’s College
Highlights From Each Decade Include:
- In June 1925 the OVA introduced the Old Scholars Communion Mass and Breakfast. The Mass was held at St Mary’s Cathedral and was followed by a Communion Breakfast in St Peter’s Hall, catered for by a committee of ladies.
- A Debutante Ball was organised by the OVA at the City Hall on 11 October, the proceeds of which were put aside for the proposed swimming pool at St Virgil’s College.
- In June 1929, over 60 former students of SVC attended the annual OVA Communion and Breakfast in June 1929. The annual reunion and dinner were held in August and was declared to be the most successful in the Association’s history.
- St Virgil’s College celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1936 with many events held throughout the year. In conjunction with celebrations, the OVA held a fund-raising ball at The Continental Ballroom in late September.
- The Annual Old Virgilians Communion and Breakfast was held on Sunday 22 May 1938. The Communion was celebrated at St Joseph’s Church with an attendance of more than 100.
- The OVA Dinner for 1938 was held at The Nook on 19 September 1938. During the dinner the College Principal, Brother Kearney, announced the plans for major additions to St Virgil’s College. These included a new wing that would extend 160 feet along the Barrack Street frontage, and would contain a chapel, six classrooms, and a hall with a permanent stage as well as administrative offices.
- Many activities of the Old Virgilians Association went into recess during the Second World War as members enlisted in the three armed forces or were placed in key positions in Government services. A caretaker Committee was established and during this time Mr Urban Haley acted in the role of President and represented the Association in a number of functions.
- After a six year break, the Annual Dinner and Reunion of the OVA recommenced at the College in October 1946 and, much to the delight of the Committee, approximately 200 former pupils attended.
- The 1954 Annual General Meeting was held in February where, as well as the election of the Committee for the year, Messrs Ken Lowrie and Owen Carrick were re-appointed as Trustees of the Scholarship Fund. A number of functions were held during 1954, including a Cabaret Evening at the Imperial Hotel in May that raised money for the Scholarship Fund. The final social function for the year was a Buffet Luncheon at the Continental.
- Fundraising activities during the late 1950’s revolved around Cabaret evenings, some of which were successful and others not so. The Annual Communion and Breakfast continued to be held each year during the decades.
- On 26 December 1963 the OVA welcomed 16 members of the St Kevin’s Old Collegian’s Cricket Club to Tasmania. The visitors from Victoria were accommodated at St Virgil’s for their week-long visit and, after settling in, were taken to the Boxing Day Regatta at New Norfolk followed by a barbecue at the Austen’s Ferry school grounds.
- Two important events on the Old Virgilians calendar were combined in 1966. The date for the Brother Joyce Memorial Mass and Annual Mass and Communion was set for 27 November. The OVA made a big effort to invite former students to the combined event and because numbers attending had been very low in previous years, two mail-outs were sent in June and September. Unfortunately, despite these efforts the committee was very disappointed that just 80 Old Virgilians were in attendance on 27 November.
- The 1972 Christian Brothers Memorial Mass was concelebrated on 26 October. The names of the Christian Brothers who were now deceased were read by the OVA President, Mr Roger Smart. Sixty old boys and Brothers attended the Mass.
- At the beginning of 1974 the editor of The Old Virgilian magazine, Mr Bob Scanlon, appealed to subscribers to support the magazine through the payment of annual subscriptions and requested assistance to find new advertisers to keep the publication viable.
- The 1978 Annual Dinner, held at the Beltana Hotel in November, was attended by just over 100 people. Speeches by Brother Parton and former President, Roger Smart, made reference to the recent death of another former President of the Association, Bernie Geard, who was described as one of the most dedicated and loyal Old Boys to have passed through St Virgil’s College.
- The 75th Anniversary year of St Virgil’s College began with a Mass and Luncheon on 22 January 1986, organised to coincide with the exact day the college opened in 1911. The Mass was attended by more than 100 Old Boys and was celebrated by Dean Adrian Doyle whose father, Leo Doyle, was believed to be the first day boy enrolled at the College.
- The jubilee celebrations continued in May with former students travelling from many parts of Australia to join in the celebrations. The Chairman of the anniversary committee, OVA President Patmore, welcomed 530 guests to the 75th Anniversary Dinner at Laetare Gardens in May.
- A Jubilee Mass, attended by about 1,200 people, was celebrated on May 12 at the Wrest Point Convention Centre. The Mass was concelebrated by His Grace, Archbishop Young, assisted by 30 priests and 35 alter servers. Among the distinguished guests was the Governor of Tasmania, Sir James Plimsoll and the Premier of Tasmania, Mr Robin Gray.
- On Sunday 29 November 1992 more than one thousand Catholics met in Franklin Square, Hobart, and unanimously supported three motions. The first motion called on the Archbishop to suspend the implementation of the restructuring of the Southern Tasmanian Catholic Secondary Schools. The second motion called on His Grace to establish a representative committee to undertake a full review of the needs of children undertaking a Catholic Education in Tasmania through the year 2000 and beyond. The third motion requested the Archbishop organise, as a matter of urgency, a comprehensive inquiry into the administration arrangement for Catholic Education in Tasmania.
- For a number of years the OVA had held bi-monthly luncheons at various venues throughout Hobart. In October 2000 the bi- monthly luncheons were moved back to the College and the number of persons attending doubled. Many who attended for the first time expressed their satisfaction with the change of venue where they were served by the boys from the Catering Corps. From 2001 the luncheons were moved to the last Tuesday in the odd months of the year.
- During 2004 a proposal was put forward for an Old Virgilians “Hall of Fame” and a committee was formed to investigate the feasibility. The OVA were guests of the College at the blessing and opening of the new Food Technology and Learning Enrichment facility at Austins Ferry and at the 2004 Thanksgiving Mass and Grade 10 Graduation at the Derwent Entertainment Centre.
- A motion was passed at the June 2013 committee meeting that allowed for wives and partners to attend all future Annual Dinners. The 2013 Annual Dinner was held on 25 October at the Royal Yacht Club with many women in attendance.
The OVA hosts regular luncheons, an annual dinner and Mass. It supports current and past students in need, year group and other reunions across Tasmania, mainland Australia and overseas.
News and Information
If you are interested in news of the Old Virgilians Association, becoming a member, or you are simply seeking details of coming events, please contact the OVA Secretary or send us a message using the form below.