Jim Sullivan '55
Written on the 17 April 2018 by Old Collegians Association
Excerpt from 2002 Rostrevor Magazine
James Frazer Sullivan arrived at the new College of Rostrevor from Western NSW in 1925. He was to spend his next two years at Rostrevor representing his fledgling school in Football, Cricket and Boxing. He prided himself that he represented his school in both Under 14 and 1st XVIII football in the same year. His stories of the legendary Rostrevor Boxing Teams were always exciting in the retelling. Following his two years at Rostrevor he returned to 'Yoe Lake' Station at Wilcannia where he became a noted pastoralist, where, with his wife Myra, he raised a family of four sons and a daughter. When time came to send his sons away to College Rostrevor was the natural choice. A disappointment he felt on his return to his Alma Mater to enrol his sons was to miss seeing his old teacher and mentor Br 'Hee' Gurr who had left the year before.
James Michael Sullivan the eldest of Jim and Myra's four sons began his involvement in 1952 spending the next seven years ('52- '57) as a boarder at Rostrevor. While at school Jim represented Rostrevor in Football and Cricket, playing 2nd XVlll in his final year as well as being Captain of the 4th XI. He also was involved in Athletics, Gymnastics and Swimming. During one cricket match on the Bungalow he became an overnight hero by hitting a four that broke a window in the new classrooms which were stage one of the Rice Wing.
From the 1952 Annual: James Sullivan, Wilcannia. NSW
Brothers that come to mind from this era are Bros O'Connor, Whiting, Greening, O'Donoghue and Hayes. The Brothers that had the biggest influence on Jim's life however were 'Charlie' Mogg and Kelty the two Headmasters during his time at Rostrevor.
In these days of class sizes around 25, Jim remembers Br 'Gabby' Hayes who taught a class of 68 Second Year boys and then went 'home' to look after 60 boys in the Junior Dormitory! Jim reflects that " the Brothers were indeed a dedicated and remarkable group of men."
Jim recently caught up with Br O'Donoghue, his teacher from First Year, in Perth, where he was visiting from the North West of WA where he teaches Computer Science to Aboriginal students. Jim spent a very pleasant hour reliving old memories with him. Br Donoghue related the story of his first day at Rostrevor when Br Mogg explained his duties being: First Year teacher, Lower Dormitory Master, Cricket Coach, Football Coach, Cadet Unit Supervisor and "... if he had some spare time there would be a few other duties to perform." (And the students thought they had it tough!)
After leaving Rostrevor in 1957 Jim returned home to the family property at Wilcannia spending the next ten years involved in the pastoral industry in partnership with his parents and brothers. In 1965 he married his lifelong friend and companion Margaret Knight. In 1966 the WA Government was advertising for people interested in developing new agricultural land in the State. Jim was a successful applicant and he and Margaret moved to Varley in the South eastern wheatbelt an area 5 hour east of Perth and 4 hours north of Esperance. Since that time, they have turned 2800 hectares of virgin bush into a successful livestock and grain growing enterprise. Along the way they raised 5 sons all of whom completed their Senior school years at Aquinas College in Perth where they had contact with old scholars Brothers McBeath and Keane (1950 -60) as well as Br Dean McGlaughlin and Br Brian 'Tex' Cleary of Rostrevor fame.
From the 1957 Annual Sons of Old Scholars.
Jim has been involved in his local community on a sporting and business level and was also on the Aquinas Boarding House Review Committee, which oversaw the design of a new Boarding House at Aquinas. The design was used as the prototype for the new Boarding House at Rostrevor completed in 1992.
Jim is involved in his local Parish, Lake Grace, as an acolyte and served the Pastoral Council for 5 years and the Diocesan Pastoral Council for 4 years. He has also been involved in regional development on the Wheatbelt Regio Development Committee, which is an advisory body to the State government on regional development.
His good work in local government over 15 years as councilor and then Deputy President of the Local Shire Council gave rise to him being awarded the Local Government Meritorious Award for Services to Local Government living in WA Jim has been able to catch up with a number of old scholars at various opportunities: John Marks, Max Lee, Bill Barnes, Jan Tuxworth Greg Walkington Peter and Tony Mitchell as well and many others who now reside in WA.
From Left: Tony Sullivan ('SB), Ernie Sullivan ('66), Jack Knight, Jim Sullivan ('57), Peter Sullivan ('65).
Of all the principles, teachings and advice that one hopes he has learnt the formative years at Rostrevor he believes that the motto on the Rostrevor crest sums life up. Palma Merenti 'success to the one who earns it' - not as one of Jim's old school friends used to translate it 'pay as you enter'! It is really good to hear from old scholars who are further afield, and Jim's life story reflects the determination and community spirit that Rostrevor attempts to equip each boy with today. The Old Collegian's congratulate Jim and his family on their achievements and look forward to a visit back to Rostrevor for him at some stage to relive some of those memories of his 7 happy years here.
Author: Old Collegians Association