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Assumption College’s saintly statue refreshed

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

Assumption College Kilmore’s statue of Saint Marcellin Champagnat has been restored after multiple years in disrepair.

Previously standing for a long time in the Fourviere Courtyard, the surrounding building and courtyard underwent a major refurbishment in 2015.

The Champagnat statue had been in the courtyard in a state of disrepair for several years, leading to the decision to commission a new statue that reflected the more accurate drawings of Champagnat that were released at the time of his Canonisation in 1999.   

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The statue that was commissioned decades ago was based on a painting of Champagnat made after his death in 1840.

The new version was based on his passport’s description and facial recognition software applied to the original painting and the faces of descendants of the Champagnat family.

Champagnat was a Marist priest born in 1789, who after his ordination was concerned by the isolation and lack of education in many of France’s rural areas at the time.

He acted to improve the situation surrounding Catholic teaching, however on his first day at school he witnessed the poor treatment of a student by a teacher – souring his thoughts on education.

It was from that incident that he and two other men worked to form the Marist Brothers in 1817, which now incorporates more than 600 schools worldwide including Assumption College.

The old, damaged statue was housed in Assumption’s maintenance area for eight years before Kilmore woodworker and sculptor Greg Stute offered to attempt the restoration.

Mr Stute said working with the concrete statue was a new experience and added to his portfolio of other pieces around Kilmore.

“It was a good little project to do. I’ve got quite a few projects here so at least for myself I know that I’ve actually contributed something to the school,” he said.

“If you drive past or you go to Assumption and you see it sitting there, you know that you’ve contributed to that. Otherwise, it would’ve just been broken and put into landfill and then that bit of history is lost forever.”

Mr Stute thanked Matt Gibson from Amos Painting and John Knight from ASAP Bins for their contributions to the project.

The final location of the restored statue is currently undecided, however it could end up at the College’s boarding precinct in recognition of the area’s historical significance.

After removing seven coats of paint and repairing the cracks and voids, Kilmore’s Greg Stute used Haymes paint for the undercoat and final finish, and modelled a missing finger and thumb off his own hand. The 620-kilogram statue will be reinstalled at Assumption College. ​

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