Br Mark Paul is a Marist Brother who was a foundation student when Bunbury Catholic College opened in February 1973, as one of the first coeducational Catholic high schools in WA.
That was 50 years ago and at the time there were two Bunbury campuses, what had been the Sisters of Mercy St Joseph’s High School next to the convent in Wittenoom Street and the Marist Brothers St Francis Xavier College on the site where Bunbury Catholic College stands today.
In recognition of our special 50th Anniversary year, we asked Br Mark to put some words together that hark back to the early days of the College…
What a time! 1973. Neil Diamond released his album ‘Hot August Night’!
I could not listen to him enough while working part time at Boans of Bunbury, in the Electrical Department selling the latest technology – first release colour TVs.
No sooner than they hit the shop floor, they were sold. If only I was working on a commission basis, I would have made a bundle!
It was also the year that BCC came to birth, offering what was then termed Leaving and Matriculation (Year 11 and 12) and girls were going to be in the mix! Excitement and trepidation prevailed as the group of 36 ventured into a new era of education at BCC.
We tried our best! Our classrooms were in a building, now demolished, located next to the Convent: Girls on one side of the classroom, guys naturally on the other! All of our own making and it stayed that way for the final two years of our schooling.
We used a lot of banter in trying to relate with the girls which didn’t wash well with them. All of our teachers were religious Brothers or Sisters with the exception of one. They were a very committed group of staff dealing with a motley crew who were easily drawn to the surf at nearby beaches.
I am very grateful for the opportunity of achieving a full secondary education in my hometown. Boarding school in Perth was not the alternative for me! I’m honoured to be in that first class to have Year 11 and 12 offered to us. A privilege, a wonderful gift received that I still cherish.