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Xavier College

High on a hill in Kew, Xavier College opened as a boys boarding school on 10 February 1878, following St Patrick's College as Melbourne's second Jesuit school. A succession of 20 Jesuit rectors and principals - from the first, Thomas Cahill SJ (1878-79), to the last, Michael Stoney SJ (1995-98) - explored an Irish Australian version of Jesuit education till the appointment of the first lay principal, Chris McCabe, in 1998. Xavier gave Catholic education a certain 'English' character in 1900 when it was accepted into the Public (independent) Schools. Preparatory schools were established in Kew (Burke Hall, 1920) and Brighton (Kostka Hall, 1936). The school channelled its boys into the professions of medicine, law, the Church and the public service. Among its more than 10 000 old boys, there have been a mayor of Melbourne (Harold Cohen), a governor of Victoria (Sir James Gobbo), notable sportsmen (such as the test cricketer Fleetwood Smith and marathon runner Robert de Castella) and occasional (but mostly rural) politicians (such as Tim Fischer and Pat McNamara). Thousands of boys have been affected by the Jesuit 'Mr Chips', 'Paddy' Stephenson SJ (1921-25, 1931-91), and by long-serving lay teachers including Ludwig Van Baer (1918-36, 1938-70) and Joseph O'Dwyer (1946-64).

Greg Dening

Dening, Greg, Xavier: a centenary portrait, Old Xaverians' Association, Kew, 1978. Details