Peter Kelly '32

Written on the 19 April 2018 by Old Collegians Association

Peter Kelly

Excerpt from 2000 Rostrevor Magazine

Peter Kelly.

Francis Peter Kelly ('32), known as Peter, attended Rostrevor College from 1925 to 1932. During this period there were a number of Kelly families attending Rostrevor. Peter Kelly was the eldest son of Francis and Sheila Kelly (Mann). Francis had attended CBC Wakefield St in the 1890s. He then worked on the family farm near Caltowie until about 1899, then returned to Adelaide to study law. He was articled to Patrick McMahon Glynn, one of the South Australian delegates to the Convention which was appointed to work towards Federation. Francis obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1906.

Francis, after several partnerships, went on to establish Kelly, Hague and Travers a longstanding Adelaide law firm now known as Kelly & Co.

Peter Kelly had two brothers, John ('32) and Michael ('34) and they attended Rostrevor College from their Augusta Street, Maylands home. Peter Kelly joined the State Tax Office in 1933 and worked there for four months before being able to study law. In May of that year an opening became available in the Crown Solicitor's Office and although he had to undergo a salary cut of 50%, Peter accepted the position which allowed him to be released from the office for lectures and examinations. In his first year he studied Latin, a compulsory law subject in those days. His younger brother John, who was Dux of the College in 1931 and '32, also commenced a full-time law degree in 1933.

John E. Kelly LL. B. From the 1935 Annual.

Peter and John were to prove themselves outstanding law students, John winning the Stow prize for Law in 1933 and 1936 and Peter winning it each year from 1934-37. In 1934, John not only secured excellent law results but taught himself Greek during the course of the year and sat the Leaving Honours Greek exam and was awarded 1st place.

All three brothers appear to have been favourite sons of Rostrevor with their professional successes and personal interests being reported on annually in the Old Collegians' News published in the Annual.

Michael worked in the Commonwealth Bank until the war broke out; the Annual reported on his movements as a serviceman both in Africa and New Guinea. From the 1942 Annual, "Michael Kelly continues to help defeat Rommel in the North African campaign.

Towards the end of the war Michael transferred from the Army to the Air Force and was awarded his pilot credentials just before the war ended. He married Carmen Bertolasi in 1953. They had 6 children. Michael joined the Civil Service after the war and spent many years in the Australian Immigration Office overseas in Genoa, Geneva and Malta before completing his working life in Canberra.

Peter graduated in Law in 1937 and joined the Jesuits in 1938. After a number of years in the Order, mostly in a teaching capacity, he left and commenced lecturing in Law at Adelaide and Flinders Universities, full time until 1980 and part time until 1993. In 1976 he married Carmel Eyre.

Leaving Honours Class and Contributors to the 1932 Annual. 
Back Row: V. Mansell., G Lonergran (H), M. O'Callaghan. D. Crook, L. Kenihan (H). M White, J. O'Connell (H), B. Moroney, K. O'Donoghue. 
Front Row: J. E. Kelly (H), T Horgan (H). G Healy (H), F. P. Kelly (H.), J. Rice (H.), K. Boland (H.J, E. McMahon (H). T Kennedy (H)

His brother John was articled to Reg Keaman, a fine contributor to many aspects of Rostrevor in its early years. After graduating and admission as a practitioner, John tried to enlist in 1939 but was excluded on medical grounds. He was keen to support the war effort and spent the next S years in Melbourne working for the Rationing Commission. He married Josephine Filippini in Melbourne and returned to Adelaide to work in his father's law firm where he remained until his premature death in 1968. John and Josephine had 8 children. The five boys, Martin ('68), John ('69), Paul ('71 Dux), David ('75) and Tony (' 78) all attended Rostrevor, with Paul having received international acclaim as a singer/songwriter in the last two decades.

Peter's lingering memories of Rostrevor are of Br Gurr, his 1st Year Teacher. Also, of Br Coghlan for whom he had a great deal of admiration. Br Coghlan was his 1927 Sub-Intermediate teacher. In those days class teachers took all subjects and, in this case, it was with a class of 40 boys. As well as this, Br Coghlan was an inspirational football coach and spent his evenings looking after the pastoral interests of the boarders in his care. His role, as with the role of all Christian Brothers a truly amazing commitment and contribution to Catholic education and to the service of country families.

Other Brothers of that era were Brs O'Brien, Dwyer and Joyce and J.S. Tevlin. Peter also recalls with admiration and gratitude the work of Br Segrave (Huck) in Inter mediate and the generous support and friendly relationships of Br Rahil, Peter has kept lifelong friendships with Miah O'Callaghan, Dr Jim Rice, Eric White and Monsignor Tom Horgan his cousin. Peter and Monsignor Horgan continue to write letters to each other in Latin, French and Italian for their edification and amusement! Another face he is always glad to see at gatherings from time to time is Jack Safe ('32).

Peter Kelly LL. B. from the 1938 Annual.

Another good friend from those days is Dr Tom Donnelly who used to be Head of the Repatriation Hospital in Concord, Sydney. Over the years he kept in touch with Br John Bourke (graduate '27, teacher in the '40s and Headmaster in '74-'76). Peter sat behind John in Br Coghlan's Sub-Intermediate class of 1927. 

Peter remembers his father, Francis speaking at an inauguration ceremony under a Moreton Bay fig at the front of the College in 1923. This rich connection with Rostrevor is a proud heritage that the Rostrevor Old Collegians' value enormously.

Peter Kelly and the Kelly family have been fine Contributors to Rostrevor's strong traditions. Peter and John's academic success in the 1930's enhanced Rostrevor's reputation in the community. It was a fitting tribute that Peter Kelly was guest of Honour at the recent benefit concert performed by his nephew Paul and the Rostrevor Music Department at the Norwood Concert Hall.


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Author:Old Collegians Association


Glen Stuart Rd Woodforde Sa 5072 Australia


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