Class of 1954
The memory of Murray Ward is still fresh in the minds of Aquinians old and new.
He touched so many generations. His peers at the College in 1954 remember him as an outstanding sportsman: he was Captain of the 1st XVIII, winner of Best and Fairest Footballer, Athletics Captain, Vice-Captain of Cricket and Prefect to boot. Academically, he also excelled winning the History and Geography Prizes. He was a member of both the shooting and swimming teams, Murray also broke the Australian Junior Hurdles record while at Aquinas College. Four years later, he was a member of the winning WA medley relay team at the Australian Athletics.
Possibly as a reward for his long list of achievements, he and Neville Salt were chosen by Br Murphy to go to Canberra to greet Queen Elizabeth II during her tour of Australia that year.
Sporting success followed wherever Murray went. He played for the Claremont Football Club throughout the 1950s and 60s. As Director of Football at Claremont, he also saw the club win the Premiership in 1981 and contest the final in 1982 and 1983. In short, wherever he was in sport, success followed.
However, he never really left Aquinas and continued to coach boys for 45 years. During this time, the school won 27 Interschool Athletics championships. He also coached the 1st XVIII Football team for a decade in the 1970s, during which time the school won the Alcock Cup seven times!
Those who knew him whisper Murray’s name in awe. The selflessness of the man is legendary. It was his way to do the work, train hard, win the game and go home. He never stayed for the celebration or the press photo. As far as he was concerned when the team won the job was done, leaving the glory of the after party to those younger and fitter.
It seemed, there was as much pleasure in helping the next generation to win as there had been for him in winning in the first place.
His Headmaster Br Murphy commented in his final year Annual: “Not only have Murray Ward and Neville Salt shown outstanding sporting ability but their manly bearing and excellent leadership have been immense value in maintaining a high standard of conduct and a good moral tone amongst the boys.”
At his funeral in November 2016, many spoke of his faith: he was president of the Holy Name Society and lived his faith from an early age. He also helped reintroduce the Rosary on a Tuesday morning at Aquinas College and rounded up a number of Old Boys to support it – a faith tradition which continues today for students each week.