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Ray Carroll’s ‘From the Boundary’: November 28, 2023

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Grace Frost
Grace Frost
Hi, I'm Grace Frost. I was honoured to report for the Review as their Digital Journalist from mid-2022 to the beginning of 2024. Ive since made a move to the Herald Sun.

The super schoolboy

Assumption College Kilmore, ACK, students of an earlier era often made the sporting headline in the media.

One such was Renato Serafini, a gifted scholar and athlete who attended ACK until 1971.

The then high circulation Herald – 500,000 copies for its afternoon edition – headed its front page on August 20, 1971:

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A brilliant all-round sportsman at Assumption, Renato Serafini played football with Fitzroy’s First XVIII while he was still at school. 

Migrating to Australia from Italy in 1952, Renato’s parents settled in Carlton, where his father ran his own landscape gardening business. 

Born in 1953, the second of three sons, Renato remembers many happy hours spent with friends at the Carlton pool and elsewhere, in a suburb very different from the one which has since developed. 

He attended St Brigid’s in North Fitzroy until 1960, at which time the family moved to Myrtleford to share farm on a tobacco-growing property where they lived in Merriang Homestead, now listed by the National Trust. 

In 1963, Renato’s parents returned to Italy for an extended holiday, their youngest son Laurie, who would also go on to play with Fitzroy, accompanied them. 

Another boy from Myrtleford, Frank De Fazio, was boarding at Assumption at the time, so it was decided that Carlo and Renato would be sent to Kilmore for six months or so while their parents were in Italy. 

Renato revelled in Assumption’s sporting program, excelling in football and cricket, and winning the trophy for champion athlete at his age level every year from 1963 until 1971. 

At the AGSV Combined Athletics he won a total of ten events, the shot put five times, the hurdles four times (two records) and the long jump once. 

He also won three All Schools titles, the under 15 hurdles and the under 16 and under 17 shot put. 

He was a member of Assumption’s First XI in 1970 and 1971, representing the AGSV in the second year. 

It was traditional at Assumption for the boarders to watch First XVIII matches, and Renato remembers being inspired by the feats of Francis Bourke, Peter Crimmins, Dennis Munari, Kevin Heath and others, and then following their careers when they made it through to League ranks. 

He had three years in the firsts, captain the undefeated teams of 1970 and 1971. 

In his final year at Assumption, Renato won the school’s ‘Award for General Excellence’. The citation accompanying the award noted that despite his elevation to League ranks during that year, “his concern has always been for the good of the team and the honour of the College, rather than for any seeking of praise”.

Renato became a career teacher and retired principal of Xavier College’s Burke Hall.

His brother Laurie starred at ACK and went on to play 146 games for Fitzroy. The third brother Carlo is prominent in law.

The three boys loved their times at ACK. Their parents were wonderful hard-working migrants who sacrificed much to send their sons to boarding school.

Master of the art

Ricky Yu and his two sons have made great strides in mastering GKR Karate.

Pictured from left is dad and the boys Knujun, 14, and Kinmas, 15.

Ricky is a well known smiling face at Kilmore Discount Pharmacy, formerly owned by Simon Yu.

Ricky’s wife is a career school teacher.

The lads train with their dad at Wallan and Epping. Ricky attended ACK and I recall him well in some of my classes.

Varia

Tony and Lynn Ottobre were thrilled with Pride of Jenni’s dual triumphs during the spring carnival.

A number of people who have read about it in this column told me they’d won a few backs backing Pride of Jenni.

Several students from the late 1980’s met up at Flemington and had a win on it. They were Ernie Hug, Ben Crimmins, Grant Davies and Martin Cossetteni, who flew down from Tweed Heads. They were joined by Shane Crawford, now living on the northern NSW coast.

***

Nice to note that Kilmore resident Nick Wogan is the current Kilmore golf club champion. A good man, Nick, very keen on golf and racing.

He spends countless hours helping keep the local golf links in good shape. One of his daughters Jess is now teaching at Parade College after giving fine service to ACK.

***

Former Nationals leader John Anderson was a truly good man and a cut above many in the political arena today.

I watched a great interview with him just the other evening and I recalled the time he spoke to the ACK cricketers in the 1980’s.

Assumption was contesting the Australian Gillette Cup in the capital.

John gave a memorable talk to the lads. He told them not a day of his life passes without him thinking of his little sister.

The two were playing backyard cricket when John accidentally hit his sister on the temple with the ball causing her death. It was obvious from the way he spoke that the fatality had left him scarred.

***

A weekend ago I watched a First XI game on ACK’S main oval.

It was a timeless scene – a glorious sun-drenched afternoon with the white clad figures at play on the emerald green field. A scene generations old dating way back over 130 years.

The same game but far removed from the noise and drama of the World Cup final played out in front of a massive 132,000 crowd in Ahmedabad, India.

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