St. Benedicts College, Colombo, Sri Lanka
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Historic Visit

Sydney Bens had the rare privilege of being host to Director, Rev. Bro. Granville Perera FSC (at right in picture) and Rev. Bro. Niran Perera FSC (Sub-Director) who visited Sydney in June 2006. The visit by was a memorable and historic one. They are the first incumbent heads of St Benedictís, the prestigious 135-year old De La Salle institution, ever to visit expatriate past pupils in Australia. They were here on the invitation of the Old Bens in Victoria and NSW. Sydney had pulled down the shutters, opened the water works (albeit welcome) and turned on the chill factor with a rapid breeze wafting around with distressing frequency. This was the weather that greeted our visitors Their disappointment lasted just for one day. Our great city made amends by dishing out the most glorious winter weather for the rest of their four-night stay.

A need to acquaint past pupils of overseas branches (from whom 60% of funding for academic and other needs are received) of current requirements to help sustain educational and sporting standards and improve infrastructure was one reason for the visit.

The guests were also afforded the opportunity to study first hand latest School management and administration techniques as used in Australian Catholic schools run by the De La Salle brothers. Among other topics of interest were: IT and computing as a teaching aid in primary, secondary and advanced levels, staff motivation programmes, sports development techniques and Religious Education and programmes to promote vocations to the religious order, among others.

These programmes were hosted by the Brothers communities of De La Salle College, Bankstown and Oakhill College, Castle Hill, where they spent two entire school days.

The Sydney Bens are grateful for the generosity and support received from the De La Salle brothers community in Sydney, especially Bro. Ambrose Payne F.S.C. (AO), De La Salle Provincial Visitor of Australia, NZ & PNG; Bro. Alf F.S.C., Director Brothers Residence, Oakhill College and Bro. Malachy F.S.C. also of Oakhill College. Despite the inclement weather, both were game enough to venture on a tour of our great city immediately after their arrival. On a drive over the Harbour Bridge, glimpses of sunshine enabled the brothers to amble briefly under the bridge pylons, catch a close-up view of the Sydney Opera House and visit St Maryís Cathedral before retiring to their residence at Oakhill College in Castle Hill.

The Sydney visit was co-ordinated by Secretary Doug Jones, with a lot of assistance from President Fred Herft and committee member Ranjith Velayuthen.


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