Br Peter Faulkner '45
Written on the 2 May 2018 by Old Collegians Association
Br Peter Faulkner c.f.c
Excerpt from 2007 Rostrevor Magazine
Br Peter Faulkner.
Peter, the second of ten children, lived his early life in SA's mid-North, first at Murray Town where he attended the State School with a four and a half kilometres walk each way, and later for Grades 5-7, at St. Joseph's in Gladstone. The family was poor in material goods but rich in friends and in the surrounds of bush and farm with the presence of wildlife and domestic animals.
From the strong Josephite teaching, Peter emerged from the Qualifying Certificate with a boarding Scholarship to Rostrevor, where he threw himself into all the activities available ... cricket, football, athletics and gymnastics ... and to a lesser extent, studies, under the very capable 'Gus' Webb. Peter completed his schooling in ten years, skipping Yr. 9 completely and having done Yrs.4 & 5 in the one year.
Even in his upper Primary, Peter had evinced a vague desire to become a Brother, not a C.B. but a member of the locally-founded St. John the Baptist Bros. Providentially, because the Order no longer exists, this went out of his mind and he decided to go to Sydney and join the Christian Brothers At Strathfield, where he completed his secondary education, he reveled in the companionship of about 120 like minded lads from all over Australasia with their strict but not confining program of study, sport and prayer. It was wartime, and there were ration-books' and some privations, but to a youngster the excitement of Japanese midget subs in the Harbour and scores of fighter planes operating from the nearby Bankstown airfield tended to compensate!
Early at Rostrevor Peter had difficulty with Chemistry and was overheard by Br. Watson telling another kid that he was going to drop that subject. He was roundly labelled a wimp or whatever the reigning term was in those days and advised (!) to keep on with it. He did and is ever grateful to Br Watson, having grown to enjoy the study of Chemistry, and to have subsequently spent over thirty years teaching it in three States.
Br McElligot was the Headmaster in those years (1939-41) and Peter recalls one unfortunate incident when he threw a black-board duster at Des DuBois, missed and smashed a Mackey classroom window as Br McElligot was walking by!
From the 1943 Annual - First Year
The healthy year of strict Novitiate on a farm situation at Minto, 50km SW of Sydney, was followed by Teacher Training and the excitement of fronting a class for the first time, with practical sessions at two of the tough schools of Sydney - Balmain and Newtown.
He finished up in Ballarat East with 63 kids in Grades 3 and 4 and with virtually no textbooks (another war privation). It was a hard year, and his health was poor. After 3 more years of Primary he took on Technical School Maths and Science in St. Paul's, Ballarat, and then Geelong, teaching all day and studying at the School of Mines at night. The excitement and hard work of teaching his first Matriculation class look place at St Joseph's Boarding College, Geelong.
Yes, the once dreaded Chemistry! Seven years at Essendon followed with Aths coaching, St Vincent De Paul group, 1st XVIII etc. and an opportunity to attend Uni (after work). All these years Peter kept himself fit with Handball and Tennis and Football in season. At Essendon he co-founded the now premier St Bernard's Aths Club and competed for a couple of seasons. At Geelong he helped out the local priest by playing in the newly reformed St. Marys F.C for three seasons, culminating in playing CHF in its first-ever Premiership (played on Kardinia Park) in the A Grade District League.
From the 1943 Annual - Under 13 Cricket
It was about 25 years since Peter had been in SA other than for a fleeting visit and he took the opportunity in the mid-sixties of moving to the newly formed SA/WA Province to be nearer home. However, he found himself 2,250 km further away. In Geraldton! Successive transfers to Kalgoorlie, Aquinas, Fremantle, Karratha and Broome gave Peter a fair knowledge of the West and allowed free play for his study, now a hobby, of Geology.
After 40 years Peter Faulkner got back to his home state of SA, as Deputy of CBC for the next 8 years. In 1995 he was appointed Executive Officer of the Adelaide Diocese's Catholic Earthcare Commission (CECC) and worked for nine years four days a week in a mostly voluntary capacity trying to educate people per "Planet 3" magazine, and through mini-courses and lectures to senior students, in matters ecological.
During this time Frs Brian Gore and Chas Rue, Columbans of Sydney, sided with Peter in agitating for the setting up of a National Catholic ecological body to act as a spokes group to the appropriate Federal Government Ministries, and through Conferences and Statements 10 help educate the populace on the justice aspects of environmentalism. This body, known as the Catholic Earthcare Australia or "Gang of 21", had its first meeting in December 2001 and flourished for a couple of years, until the Bishops, in their wisdom, dissolved the CEA and set up an alternative less democratic body.
Br Peter Faulkner assaying in Brachina Gorge.
Another Australia wide group that Peter worked with since June 2000 was the Earth Charter Initiative (SA branch) where he met up with a wonderful group of ecumenical people.
By the end of 2003, Peter had not only lost his spot on Catholic Earthcare Australia but found himself for the first time in his life, unemployed, with the suppression of the 10-year-old Diocesan C.E-CC.
A month after his sacking, the Committee of the United Nations Association Australia (UNAA) invited Peter to join them as their Environment and Sustainability Officer for SA... and this is what he is doing now: on the Committee with superbly idealistic people of many religious persuasions (and none), trying in numerous small ways to bring justice (including "geo-justice") to human and nature situations. Peter currently resides at the Brothers residence opposite the College and takes an interest in College goings-on, in particular the Environmental Education program.
Author: Old Collegians Association