Two new members joined the Aquinas College Veritas SocietyThe Veritas Society welcomed three new members at a morning tea ceremony in the Chapel Meeting Room on Friday 13th March.

Hosted by Principal David McFadden and the Aquinas College Foundation, new members John (’65) and Bella Perry and Chris Garratt (’62) – representing his late brother Nick Garratt (’65) – were joined by Legacy Project Manager Virginia Eastman, Veritas Society Patron The Honourable Justice Eric Heenan (’62), Head of Development Peter Robertson, Head of Rowing Nick Collins, Foundation Executive Officer Louise Symonds and Alumni and Events Administrator Nichole Rowson.

The Veritas Society was established to thank and acknowledge friends and supporters of the College who let us know they will be leaving a gift to the College in their will.

Speaking at the presentation, Mr McFadden thanked John and Bella Perry and Chris Garratt individually, before presenting each one with their Veritas Society pin.

“We want to recognise the kindness and generosity of the three of you,” Mr McFadden said.

“Nick is one of the great names of Aquinas rowing, if not the great name.  His gift to us wasn’t so much the success he brought to rowing, but the quality of man he brought and the relationships that he brought … making the basis of rowing at Aquinas today,” he said.

He said the Perry family had made its mark outside Aquinas and nurtured the community of Mandurah, helping it become the wonderful place it is today.

“Your notion of generosity – the gift from both of you to the College – will be treasured.  Our aim is to take it and fund bursaries for the disadvantaged who want to come to Aquinas College.”

John and Bella Perry

John Perry’s long association with Aquinas College commenced in 1960 as a boarder.  In the years since graduating, he has continued his involvement with Aquinas College, marrying Bella at the Aquinas College Chapel in 1971, returning to the College for various events and reunions over the years and supporting College fundraising efforts, including the Boatshed Renewal Appeal.

After achieving his Leaving Certificate in 1965, John went on to complete the Real Estate Valuation course at WAIT (now Curtin), eventually returning to Mandurah to manage the family’s real estate agency, H&N Perry Mandurah.  John’s successful real estate career spanned many years and many successful projects, including the development of the Garden City Shopping Centre in Booragoon and the high profile land developments at Madora Bay and Florida Beach Estate, Dawesville.

According to Bella, John often recalls his six years as a boarder at Aquinas with fondness “…where he had the opportunity of education, sporting success and the formation of personal values.”

“The school also sowed the seeds of giving assistance to those less fortunate.  The Veritas Society will provide an avenue to enable talented young people to attend the College for an education they may otherwise have been denied,” she said.

Now retired, John and Bella – who has an Associate Diploma in Speech and Drama and spent several years teaching privately in Mandurah – are still heavily involved in the Mandurah and Peel Region, supporting groups involved with health, sport and education, including the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Peel Health Campus Foundation, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre and Mandurah Catholic College (Music Scholarships).  They are particularly interested in supporting our youth.

Nick Garratt

In December 2019, Chris Garratt surprised Aquinas College Rowing with a gift from the estate of his late brother Nick who passed away suddenly in July.  A prefect and crewmember of the 1965 winning 1st VIII in his final year of school, Nick was a much loved and admired member of Aquinas College rowing and Australian rowing in general, across all levels and spanning many decades.  Nick returned to Aquinas in the early 1980s as coach of the senior IVs, before pursuing his successful Olympic rowing career.  Despite his international successes, he always maintained close ties with his College rowing club.

The Summer 2019 edition of the Fish magazine published a lengthy obituary in honour of Nick and his outstanding life achievements and is well worth reading.

Thank you to John and Bella Perry and Chris and Nick Garratt for your generous support of Aquinas College.

If you would like to learn more about including a gift to Aquinas College in your will and joining the Veritas Society, or you would like to notify us that you or a late family member have already included the College in your will, please contact:

Louise Symonds
Executive Officer, Aquinas College Foundation

T: (08) 9450 0799 E: