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Bro Directors Sydney visit by Doug Jones
OBU Sydney, AustrlaiaWarm welcome to Benedictine Directors despite chilly weather
by Doug Jones

Sydney had pulled down the shutters, opened the water works (albeit welcome) and turned on the chill factor with a rapid breeze wafting around with distressing frequency. This was the weather that greeted visitors Bro.Granville Perera F.S.C., Director of St Benedictís College, Colombo, and his youthful deputy, Bro. Niran Perera F.S.C. Their disappointment lasted just for one day. Our great city made amends by dishing out the most glorious winter weather for the rest of their four-night stay.

This visit by was a memorable and historic one. They are the first incumbent heads of St Benedictís, the prestigious 135-year old De La Salle institution in Sri Lanka, ever to visit expatriate past pupils in Australia. They were here on the invitation of the Old Bens in Victoria and NSW.

A need to acquaint past pupils of overseas branches (from whom funding for academic and other needs are received) of current requirements to help sustain educational and sporting standards and improve infrastructure was one reason for the visit.

The guests were also afforded the opportunity to study first hand latest School management and administration techniques as used in Australian Catholic schools run by the De La Salle brothers. Among other topics of interest were: IT and computing as a teaching aid in primary, secondary and advanced levels, staff motivation programmes, sports development techniques and Religious Education and programmes to promote vocations to the religious order, among others.

These programmes were hosted by the Brothers communities of De La Salle College, Bankstown and Oakhill College, Castle Hill, where they spent two entire school days.

Along with the Sydney Bens committee, I am most grateful for the generosity and support received from the De La Salle brothers community in Sydney, especially Bro. Ambrose Payne F.S.C. (AO), De La Salle Provincial Visitor of Australia, NZ & PNG; Bro. Alf F.S.C., Director Brothers Residence, Oakhill College and Bro. Malachy F.S.C. also of Oakhill College.

Airport welcome
Brothers Granville and Niran were warmly welcomed at Sydney airport by Fred Herft (President of Sydney Bens) and myself as Secretary. Despite the inclement weather, both were game enough to venture on a tour of our great city. After a drive over the Harbour Bridge, glimpses of sunshine enabled the brothers to amble briefly under the bridge pylons, catch a close-up view of the Opera House, visit St Maryís Cathedral and the crypt before retiring to their residence at Oakhill College in Castle Hill.

Twenty-four Sydney Bens and their wives hosted the visitors to a dinner (a la Sri Lankan) at the Curry Leaf restaurant in Seven Hills. Bro. Granville, responding to a welcome by Fred Herft, assured those present that the De La Salle Way was continued to be maintained at St Benedictís and that he was satisfied with advances made in educational achievements and successes on the sporting field by the students.

On the eve of their departure to Colombo, the directors were feted to a private dinner by committee member Prakash Fernandopulle and his wife Diani at their Acacia Gardens home.

In co-ordinating the Sydney-leg of the visit, I had considerable assistance throughout from President Fred Herft and committee member Ranjith Velayuthen.
 Posted by webmaster on June 29 2006 07:38:54 ∑ 1 Comments ∑ 1609 Reads Print
Comments
devottan on July 10 2006 22:43:27
Many thanks Doug for this detailed update about the Brothers' visit to Sydney and for the pictures in the most recent Sydney Ben News. For all indications it appears that both Brothers had a wonderful, productive, and educational experience in Melbourne and Sydney.

Neil DeVotta
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