Principal’s Message | Dr Michael Carroll
Dear Members of the Terrace Family,
With much sadness last week, I announced the passing of Br Tony White OAM, cfc, the 26th Principal of St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace. Br Tony’s funeral will be held at Holy Trinity Church, Banyo, on Friday 13 May at 10.30 am. The College will also host a Celebration of the Life of Br Tony White in the College Chapel at 9am on Friday 13 May. This Liturgy will conclude with a Guard of Honour as Br Tony travels down Victoria Street for the final time. I extend an invitation to all within the Terrace Family, past and present, to attend the Liturgy at the College on Friday morning if attending the funeral later in the day is not possible.
Anthony James White was born in Bundaberg on 5 July 1930 to James and Ellen White. Tony was the elder brother of siblings Michael, Patrick, John and Mary. Tony was educated in Bundaberg before moving to Strathfield in January 1946 to complete his Leaving Certificate, later joining the novitiate in December 1948.
During Tony’s vocation as a Christian Brother, he spent time in several Christian Brothers’ Schools across Australia. These included Launceston (1951), Abergowrie (1957), St Laurence’s (1969), St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace (1971), St Edmund’s (1973) and Ignatius Park (1974).
Tony was first appointed as a Headmaster in 1963 at Abergowrie, at Ignatius Park (1974), before leading St Joseph’s College (1982) and again at Ignatius Park in 1990.
Tony also spent time studying at Boston College in the early 1980s. Since 1995, Tony has shared his wealth of knowledge relating to schools, finance and building across a number of committees, commissions and boards. This included being the Province Bursar and a member of the Provincial Leadership Team in 2000 and 2001. In 2017 Tony was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to education, and to the Catholic Church in Queensland. A justifiable recognition of his years of dedication and service.
Tony was passionate about Terrace, where he served as Headmaster from 1982 to 1989. During his tenure as headmaster, Tony was instrumental in cultivating a school focused on the Charism of Blessed Edmund Rice. Tony oversaw an increase in student numbers and an increase in the number of lay staff employed at the College. This transition from religious to lay staff represented a critical time in Christian Brothers’ schools. Tony facilitated this change at Terrace with great sensitivity and by maintaining a pastoral focus.
Central to the transition was Tony’s introduction of the College Mission Statement. While the original Mission Statement has evolved over the years, its concept and focus on directing who we are as a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice tradition has remained central to our College community.
During his time at Terrace, Tony initiated and oversaw several significant innovations to buildings and administrative and governance practices. In 1989, Tony introduced the concept of the College Leadership Team, which remains in place in 2022.
In 1985 Tony guided the introduction of the College Foundation, followed by the introduction of the first College Board in 1986. Both significant College groups remain in place in 2022. Tony’s vision and foresight in establishing these groups was significant and, importantly, provided the foundation on which Terrace has continued to grow and flourish over the years.
Tony’s vision and astute business acumen were evidenced in his ability to plan and develop a building program for Terrace. Some of Tony’s achievements in this area included the purchase of Billet Street and the significant construction of the Campbell Centre, pool and the original Mt Sion building, which was opened in 1989. In recognition of Tony’s significant contribution to the physical campus at Terrace, the construction of the Br Tony White Building remains an ongoing reminder of his influence and vision.
Tony remained a strong supporter of Terrace in his later years, returning as often as possible and as recently as late in 2021. His passion for Terrace as a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice tradition never waned.
On a personal level, I will forever remain indebted to Tony. In 1983, he took a chance on a young graduate maths and science teacher, offering me my first teaching job at Terrace. He later appointed me as the Year 9 Coordinator and always remained a mentor, friend and advisor. I suspect I would not have had the privilege of being College Principal of Terrace if it were not for the opportunities and support Tony offered to me over the years. For this, I will be forever grateful.
Apart from his influence on Terrace’s built environment and internal processes, Tony’s most significant contribution to Terrace was undoubtedly his care and compassion for the Terrace Family. Tony provided the perfect example of what it means to live the Charism of Blessed Edmund Rice. Many parents, past students, and staff were privileged to spend time with and be influenced by Br Tony White. Many of those people will be at the Celebration of the Life of Br Tony White Liturgy at Terrace or his Mass at Banyo tomorrow.
On behalf of those privileged to know and be nurtured by Br Tony White, I thank you for the honour.
May he Rest in Peace.
We pray for the families of the following members of the Terrace Family who have gone to their eternal rest.
Mr Robert BUCKLEY (GT 1958)
Mr William RYAN (GT 1975)