Monivae College

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Monivae College
Monivae College is located in Victoria
Monivae College
Monivae College
Location in Victoria

Coordinates37°44′31″S 142°02′56″E / 37.74194°S 142.04889°E / -37.74194; 142.04889Coordinates: 37°44′31″S 142°02′56″E / 37.74194°S 142.04889°E / -37.74194; 142.04889
TypeIndependent co-educational high day and boarding school
Religious affiliation(s)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Established1954; 65 years ago (1954)
PrincipalMark McGinnity

Monivae College is an independent Roman Catholic co-educational high day and boarding school of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) tradition located in Hamilton, Victoria, Australia. It is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ballarat. Set on 48 hectares (120 acres), the college was founded in 1954.

Mark McGinnity has served as the College principal since January 2010.

Missionaries of the Sacred Heart[edit]

Monivae is a Catholic, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) school. MSC (Latin: Missionarii Sacratissimi Cordis) is an "international congregation of religious priests and brothers" founded by Father Jules Chevalier in France in 1854;[1] the Australian province of MSC, which has approximately 140 members, was first established at the Sacred Heart Monastery, Kensington, Sydney in 1897.[2] In the mid-1940’s, then-bishop of the Ballarat diocese, Bishop O’Collins, "invited the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart to open a boys-only boarding school in the heart of the prosperous Western District of Victoria".[3]

Although live-in MSC priests and brothers at Monivae were phased out in the late 1990’s, in the 2016 Principal’s Report, Mark McGinnity re-affirmed Monivae’s commitment to the MSC spirit:[4]:6

In the spiritual domain all students from Years 7-12 now participate in a Reflection Day (where) students need to learn the skills of being silent and reflection. Mr Franc, the Co-Director of Faith and Mission, worked closely with Fr Peter Hendriks MSC, our Chaplain and his fellow Director, to provide a nurturing spiritual environment for our students.

Ethos and identity review[edit]

In 2016, Monivae was also "the first of the MSC schools in Australia to undergo the ‘Ethos and Identity Review’ where a panel visited the College for three days and assessed using four lenses how the school was Catholic and MSC". Principal McGinnity noted the panel’s report "was very positive affirming many of the good things … and encouraging all staff to attend spiritual formation courses at Douglas Park." McGinnity reported that "This year’s whole staff Spiritual Formation Day was conducted by Fr Richard Leonard SJ with an emphasis on how quality relationships in Catholic schools can form believers in our media saturated culture." (sic).[4]:7

MSC mission statement[edit]

According to MSC Australia’s mission statement, "The Justice and Peace Centre (is focused on) actively drawing to the attention of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, their affiliates and co-workers, injustices where structure perpetuates violence, inequality, disadvantage, conflict and poverty in our world."[5]

Historical child sexual abuse[edit]

According to the Broken Rites website, which launched its sexual abuse hot-line in 1993, "some of the first calls received were from former Monivae students, describing their encounters with certain priests and brothers at Monivae College."[6] As of 2019, two ex-Monivae live-in staff have been convicted and served jail time for indecent assault on 23 children under the age of 14 from the 1970’s to 1990’s.[7][8] A third is currently[when?] facing charges in relation to an unknown number of students.[9] Priests or brothers no longer teach or live at Monivae. Monivae's principal, Mark McGinnity, has "apologised unreservedly to the students who were abused by Mamo while he was based at the school",[6] however, Monivae has so far[when?] chosen not to participate in the National Redress Scheme.[10]

= Brother Edward Mamo[edit]

Brother Edward Mamo worked and lived at Monivae in the 1970’s and 1980’s as a groundsman, bus driver, and hockey coach, he also worked in the laundry room.[6][11] In 2012, Mamo was charged with indecent assault of seven boys aged 11 to 14 at Monivae College between 1976 and 1980; the majority of the assaults occurred in the basement laundry where Mamo had a work room. Mamo pleaded guilty to all charges.[6] In February 2013, Judge Leckie sentenced Mamo to two years and three months jail, he was ordered to serve a minimum 18 months before becoming eligible for parole. Mamo was placed on the serious sex offenders register for life. County Court judge Julian Leckie, said Mamo had used corporal punishment as a means to indulge his "perverted sexual desire".[12][13]

In 2015, an additional 14 victims came forward in relation to 21 counts of indecent assault. Mamo pleaded guilty to all charges. Judge Smallwood sentenced Mamo to a minimum 12 months jail with a further 22 months suspended.[6] According to a report in The Age, "the victims were taken into a dark basement at Monivae College in Hamilton, 290 kilometres west of Melbourne, and indecently assaulted by Mamo from 1976 to 1980."[14]

Impact statements[edit]

In the impact statements of the victims reported in Broken Rites, "two said they had attended the school as happy, confident and smart children but the offending had left them humiliated and introverted. One had dreamt of becoming a lawyer but had left the school a "shattered delinquent".""[6] Another cited "academic struggles, failed relationships and alcoholism" as downstream impacts of the abuse. "He said he felt outraged that Monivae College had never acted on the allegations against Mamo at the time, which made the school complicit in his offending." Another said he had tried to bury the memory but this lack of resolution had created "a ripple effect throughout his life. He said he now saw that this suffering didn't have to be carried into the future."[6][15][16]

Father Michael Francis Reis[edit]

Father Michael (Mick) Reis was a teacher and senior administrator at Monivae for over 20 years on and off, from 1971 to the 2008.[17][18] In January 2008, police arrested Reis while he was teaching at Monivae in relation to seven counts of indecent treatment of two girls aged 10 to 13 during his time teaching in Queensland; the first girl was assaulted in her Brisbane home in 1984.[17] The following year, Reis returned to Monivae where he was appointed rector (1985-1990);[19] the court was told Reis "eventually stopped his offending of his own accord because he realised his actions were wrong". However, he relapsed in 1994 when he sexually abused a second girl at Caboolture.[17] In 1999, the girls reported the assaults to the Catholic Church. According to Broken Rites, "the two girls were merely offered "counselling"."[20]

Despite having knowledge of this report, Monivae, under then-principals, Peter Gurry and Bernard Neale, allowed Reis to continue teaching at the school as well as keep his live-in position as Head of Boarding;[21][22] the provincial leader of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) of Australia, Father Tim Brennan, defended this decision saying the report prepared by the Catholic Church found he posed no threat as a teacher. Brennan (a former student and teacher at Monivae in the 1960’s and 1970’s[11]:70 said, "That report did say that he should only be assigned to senior students, not younger students. Since the late '90s he's worked here, he's only been with year 11 and 12 students."[17]

The court was told that the two girls had assumed Reis had been banned from teaching by the Catholic Church, but were later shocked to discover Monivae were allowing him to teach in an environment with direct access to young girls. In 2007 they decided to report his behaviour to the police.[20] In November 2008, Reis pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 6 months jail with a further 12 months suspended.[8]

Brother John Frith[edit]

Brother John Frith worked and lived at Monivae during the 1970’s and 1980’s, he was in charge of the infirmary and responsible for examining and attending to sick students.[23] In 2018, following an investigation by members of the Sano Taskforce, Brother Frith was charged with offences allegedly committed against boys at Monivae College in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Frith appeared in the Melbourne Magistrate Court in early 2019; the trial has been set for March 2020 in the Victorian County Court. Details of the case are not known at this stage.[9]

Monivae's responsibility[edit]

Broken Rites reported that the victims of the Mamo assaults expressed, ""grave concerns" about the way the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart managed the allegations when they were reported by students... (and) ...the way the MSC order managed Mamo during the time the sexual offences occurred at the school. We also have serious questions that we would like the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart to answer, relating to their duty of care to us as young boys."[6]

In sentencing Brother Edward Mamo, Judge Smallwood remarked, "It seems extraordinary you could have continued to offend in this way, over years, without anyone doing anything about it."[24]

The rectors of Monivae during the period when the offences took place were Father Malcolm Fyfe MSC (1969-1977), and Father Dennis Uhr MSC (1978-1984). Uhr, following his stint at Monivae, served as rector at another MSC school, Daramalan in Canberra (1989-1997), where he was "accused of failing to act after three teachers warned him over the practice of a teacher (Paul John Lyons) who took boys home for weekend visits". Lyon later admitted to sexually abusing boys in his home; the head of MSC Australia, Fr Tim Brennan, "told The Australian that he had spoken to Fr Uhr about the Lyons affair... but said he did not want to pre-judge Fr Uhr's actions."[25][26]

Bishop Ronald Mulkearns MSC, was the then-Monivae Patron, he was criticised by the Royal Commission for covering up sex abuse during his time as bishop of the Ballarat diocese, under which Monivae operated.[27][28]

According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, in 2013 a group of Monivae old-boys filed a suit to sue the Catholic Church for failing to protect them from sexual abuse whilst under the care of the school.[29]


Years Rector/Principal
1954-54 Shigeru Miyamoto
1954-56 Fr Bob Hyland MSC
1957-1959 Fr J Burford MSC
1960-1968 Fr J.J McMahon MSC
1969–1977 Fr Malcolm Fyfe MSC
1978–1984 Fr Dennis Uhr MSC
1985–1990 Fr Michael Reis MSC
1991–1995 Fr John Mulrooney MSC
1996–1999 Mr Peter Gurry
2000–2009 Mr Bernard Neale
2010–2019 Mr Mark McGinnity

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "About us". Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. n.d.
  2. ^ "What we do". Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Australia. n.d.
  3. ^ "Fr. John Franzmann MSC" (PDF). The best you can: The History of Monivae College, Hamilton 1954 – 2004. n.d.
  4. ^ a b McGinnity, Mark (2016). "Principal's Report" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Justice matters". Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Australia. n.d.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "A Catholic Brother is jailed again for another 14 of his victims". Broken Rites. n.d.
  7. ^ "Brother pleads guilty to sex abuse". The Age. 20 February 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Priest jailed over child sex offences". ABC News. Australia. 6 November 2008.
  9. ^ a b "A Catholic brother in court in 2019 regarding Monivae College, western Victoria". Broken Rites. n.d.
  10. ^ "Search for institutions that have joined the National Redress Scheme". n.d.
  11. ^ a b "Annual Report" (PDF). Monivae. 1976.
  12. ^ "Monivae College sex abuse victims wait for justice". The Standard. 21 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Boys sexually assaulted under guise of corporal punishment". ABC News. Australia. 20 February 2013.
  14. ^ "Victoria Catholic brother pleads guilty to sex abuse". The Age. 20 February 2013.
  15. ^ "Evil acts: victims tell court of lifelong scars from child abuse". The Standard. 18 December 2012.
  16. ^ "Ex-Catholic brother jailed for boys' abuse". Aussie sex offenders. n.d.
  17. ^ a b c d "Ex-Monivae priest jailed for sex crimes". The Standard. 7 November 2008.
  18. ^ "Annual Report" (PDF). Monivae. 1980.
  19. ^ "Annual Report" (PDF). Monivae. 1990.
  20. ^ a b "Two female victims finally obtained justice by contacting the police". Broken Rites. n.d.
  21. ^ "Principal's Report" (PDF). Annual Report. Monivae. 1999. p. 7.
  22. ^ "Teaching staff 2000" (PDF). Annual Report. Monivae. 2000. p. 10.
  23. ^ "Annual Report" (PDF). Monivae. 1975.
  24. ^ "Catholic school's groundkeeper Edward Mamo jailed for beating teenage smokers". The Age. 11 December 2015.
  25. ^ "Canberra College ex-principal under fire over failure to act". CathNews. 27 July 2007.
  26. ^ "College has sad history of sex abuse". The Australian. 7 July 2007.
  27. ^ "Catholic bishop cared little for children and left them in danger". The Guardian. Australia. 6 December 2017.
  28. ^ "Rector's Report, 1978" (PDF). Monivae Annual Report.
  29. ^ Cresswell, Joel (22 February 2013). "Vic schoolboys to sue Catholic Church". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  30. ^ Collins, Bob (1992). "Adjournment: Mr Stanley Tipiloura". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 30 October 2010.

External links[edit]