Aquinas College officially named its central pathway the Sir Thomas Meagher (’19) Walk in a special ceremony at the end of Term 1.
The central path of the College provides students, staff and visitors to the College a pivotal access point. It is a fundamental construction which connects the College as a whole; from Kindergarten, Junior School, Secondary School, Boarding and all support services across the College. It is used daily by our boys, staff and visitors and provides a clear and effective link.
The beautiful jacaranda trees that line the path were promulgated by Sir Thomas and planted along the path from the Junior School to the Senior School.
Sir Thomas’s achievements throughout his life were many and varied, but underpinning them all was a great sense of service and community, a legacy from his time spent at Christian Brothers College Perth.
At the age of ten, Sir Thomas was sent to board at Christian Brothers College on the Terrace in 1911, following the death of his mother, and so began a lifelong association with the College.
Sir Thomas graduated from CBC Perth in 1919, and was encouraged by the Christian Brothers to pursue a career in medicine. After finishing first in Pre-med at the University of WA, he went east to study medicine at the University of Melbourne, staying at Newman College. During his four years at Newman College, he competed in its athletics, football, swimming and rowing teams. He rowed bow, winning college colours in 1923. Returning to Perth after graduation, he took up a residency at what is now known as Royal Perth Hospital, before establishing a general practice in Victoria Park in 1927. It was this year, at the CBC Chapel in Perth, that he married Marguerite Winifred Hough (d.1952), the sister of his good friend John Hough. They went on to have six children – including four boys who all attended Aquinas.
1939 – 1945: Lord Mayor of Perth City Council, publicly leading the city’s war effort, galvanising people and funds to ensure the maintenance of essential city services and the building of air-raid protection for the people of Perth.
1947: Knighted for his wartime efforts
From the Mid 1940’s – early 1970’s: played a key role in a wide range of state and civil organisations as figurehead, active office-bearer and skilled chairman, using his considerable influence in government and professional circles, coupled with his well-informed and astute judgement, to greatly benefit the organisations he led:
- Whilst President of the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (1945-47) he helped to set up RAC Insurance Pty LTD and the National Safety Council of WA.
- As President of the Kings Park Board (1954-79) he oversaw the introduction of many new attractions to the park, including a children’s playground, botanic garden, annual wildflower exhibition, floral clock, memorial to pioneer women, barbecue facilities, viewing tower and lakes, as well as the completion of the State War memorial.
- Was involved in the management of Karrakatta Cemetery and Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park – Trustee from 1962, Chairman 1971.
- As Chairman of trustees of the WA Museum, Sir Thomas worked closely with its Director David Ride to develop the museum. During his time, a new building was constructed in Frances St to enlarge the Perth complex, and the museum expanded to new sites at Fremantle and regional centres, an aboriginal sites department was opened and maritime museum work began.
According to Sir Thomas’ daughter, Ann Cullity, he maintained and practiced a great sense of loyalty, admiration and gratitude to the Christian Brothers throughout his life for providing him with a home during his school years. Despite a heavy professional workload, he routinely expressed his loyalty to the Brothers through a variety of services to the College. Some of these services included a trustee, school doctor and President of the Old Boys’ Association. His daughter, Anne Cullity, vividly remembers the excitement of the family’s involvement in the early days of Aquinas College. Her father could often be found down by the river with the rowing coach, Mr Wroblewski, or at the side of the oval with Brother Redmond, stopwatch in hand. She recalls a story about her father helping to lay some of the planks which served as the first entrance to the college, and remembers her mother sewing the first Aquinas banner by hand on their living room table.
Sir Thomas truly embodies the essence of what we aspire our boys at Aquinas to become, he truly was a man of Aquinas!
Acknowledgements and thanks to the Meagher Family, Mrs Ann Cullity (Thomas’ daughter); Christian Brothers – John Carrigg, Kevin Paull, Max McAppion, Brian Clery; Phil Power (President OAA); Peter Robertson and Dolores Castelino (Development) for their combined efforts in making this a special event.
The Aquinas College Board, and Building Grounds & Maintenance Committee, for their support of this project.
Thank you to the College Grounds staff who work tirelessly throughout the year ensuring the maintenance and upkeep of these superb grounds.
The Sir Thomas Meagher Walk, rightly recognises and commemorates the immense contribution of Sir Thomas Meagher to Aquinas College.