Last year, we were fortunate to celebrate 60 years in the life of St Paul’s College, Kew. Founded by Brother Patrick O’Neil on February 12, 1957, the College emerged as a school for vision impaired children. With Brother O’Neill at the helm, the school had a strong purpose to encourage students to strive to pursue their goals.
Without grants and funding at the time, Brother O’Neill was able to establish the school by rallying community support to open St Paul’s School for the Blind, in Fernhurst Grove, Kew.
It is time to rally the same support for a move to a new location at 3 Brenbeal Street Balwyn. The new Balwyn site was used as the year 9 campus for Genazzano Convent and presents a more modern, accessible footprint for students. It will also have the added benefit of offering a purpose-built Discovery Centre for the children to learn and enjoy.
St Paul’s new principal Tim Hemphill, shares Brother O’Neill’s conviction that students should “aim high” and is keen to provide the best springboard for children at St Paul’s. Tim is passionate about specialist education and delivering innovative methods of learning so that children can excel. In accepting the need to move St Paul’s, VMCH offered Tim the Principal’s job which came with the move. Tim says it was one of the reasons he accepted the role.
“We’re not leaving behind the spirit of Brother O’Neill and everything that St Paul’s Kew stands for. If anything, that is why we’re moving: to ensure we can continue to provide opportunities for our students and to do all that we need to improve the school environment.”
While a lot has changed over the years, many things remain the same. Things like wonderful community support, dedicated teachers and innovative programs. At the 60th anniversary last year, Peter who was eight when he started at St Paul’s, recalled Brother O’Neill’s words to students on the first day of school.
“He told us that we as blind people, we will be able to achieve what we want to. We should aim for the best in life and do the best we can,” he recalls.
“It was amazing what those teachers and Brother O’Neill did. They always aimed for the highest and the best. How lucky were we.”
Tim predicts that initially, it will be very much as it was for Brother O’Neill when he first moved to Kew.
“Everything will be new and particularly for the young students; they will be the pioneers who will create history at St Paul’s College, Balwyn.”
For more information on the move, contact firstname.lastname@example.org