The Rugby Room

The first decade of the 21st century has witnessed the most integrated and far reaching renewal of the St Joseph’s Nudgee College campus since its foundation year in 1891. This process has occurred concurrently with a modernisation of the curriculum and administrative structures, all processes informed by a sustained commitment to the values  espoused by Edmund Rice, the founder of the Christian Brothers. At times this has required a delicate balancing act between a sensitivity to tradition and a responsibility to deliver a relevant curriculum underpinned by modern pedagogy and supported by world class facilities. One need only stroll around the campus to see evidence of how adept the present administration and staff are at balancing these responsibilities. Or if one were to make a clandestine, late night visit to the bell tower, which based on the student signatures which once adorned the staircase walls, every boarder has done at least once, one might just as easily take in the vista of the Treacy Building, the renovated Purton and O’Neill Buildings, the new Trade Training Centre and the much enlarged Tierney Building. Or better still, arrive in the early hours of a school day and see staff and students leave on the Big Brekkie program or watch them rolling swags for the homeless.

The Rugby Room, which is, I must stress, Phase one of the roll out of a much larger museum space, is more than just a celebration of rugby excellence. It would be a betrayal of those who conceived it, planned it, helped to fund it, or donated or lent their valued memorabilia if it did nothing more than glorify the sporting achievements, significant though they are, of 34 staff and students. It is a celebration, instead, of an endeavour, more than a century old,  that has its ideological roots in nineteenth century Ireland and the devotion and sacrifice of the Christian Brothers who built a school in what was, in 1891, a virtual wilderness. 

In a much quoted observation, CLR James’ asked ‘what do they know of cricket who only cricket know’? It is our fervent hope that the boys who will in time seek inspiration in the deeds of those whose Australian selection is celebrated here at the College, will know that there are personal qualities – honour, compassion, dignity and faith to name but four, which should go hand in hand with any endeavour, academic, sporting or cultural.

On behalf of the College Leadership Team, in particular Daryl Hanly and Graham Leddie, the Nudgee College Foundation, Paul Daly and Susie McDonald, I offer to the College Community, past, present and future, the St Joseph’s Nudgee College Rugby Room. 

Dr Martin Kerby
Head of Information Services / Curator