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Ray Carroll’s ‘From the Boundary’: March 12, 2024

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Man for the time

I’ve had the chance in recent weeks to speak with Assumption’s new Principal, Paul Finneran.

He was kind enough to answer a range of questions and give me a rundown on his background and career in education spanning three decades. He has already settled in well at ACK and is enjoying Kilmore and its people.

Born in Sydney, Paul attended CBHS Lewisham and then Australian Catholic University where he obtained three degrees.

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Part of a close-knit family of three boys and three girls he pays high tribute to his parents Ivy and Peter- the latter deceased- saying they have been the greatest influences on his life.

Paul has previously taught at nine schools across regional and metropolitan NSW and Victoria. Assumption is his third Marist School having taught at St Patrick’s in Dundas (Sydney) and Trinity College also in Sydney.

Prior to his ACK appointment he was in charge of St Paul’s Catholic College in Greystanes, Parramatta.

“Twelve hundred students, nearly forty nationalities, a wonderful community,” he told me.


An avid sports fan and Sydney Swans ‘tragic’, AFL, rugby league and cricket are his favourites with cricket ranking number one.

He was a very useful left arm pace bowler. In a number of respects Paul reminds me of another Paul, of happy memory- Brother Paul Gilchrist who was at the helm of ACK in the mid-eighties.

He too was a people person, respected by staff, students, and the wider community. He was also a keen cricket fan and left arm ‘quick’.


Paul Finneran’s other interests include reading crime fiction novels, watching films and travel.

He told me there have been real highlights in his life including his appointments as principal at St Paul’s and now Assumption.

His first overseas trip in 1996 was memorable, as was being present at the Swans Premiership win over the Hawks at the MCG in 2014.

Very special though was being able to take his dad to the 2016 Grand Final (won by the Bulldogs). Peter, dearly loved, passed from this life in 2019.


I asked Paul about the importance of education in this day and age. He replied thus-

“In education we have the opportunity to help our young people develop a voice, confidence and agency to make a positive contribution to the community into which they will eventually enter.

With so many negative forces around them, we need to instil within them a sense of hope that they can get better, that they can achieve, and that in doing so they can help make the world a better place.”

Paul’s first impressions of Kilmore are that it’s quite a lovely town and the people he has met have been very welcoming.

He feels he has the best of both worlds – living in a regional town less than an hour from Melbourne. I asked him about his hopes for his tenure at ACK and his response was reassuring.

“I hope that I can build on the great work that has already been done here. I hope that I can contribute to more success at the College in ensuring that it remains the school of choice in the region for both our families of prospective students but also prospective staff.

Together with the staff here, I will continually strive to ensure that Assumption College promotes academic excellence, supports success in sporting and cultural arenas, and provides our students with the opportunity to engage in social justice and outreach experiences which helps speak the silence of those who live at the margins of our community.

Ultimately, I want to continue to uphold the legacy of the Marist brothers who built this community and created the traditions and began the narrative of this wonderful school.”


Brother Xavier, the last of the Marists at Kilmore, now long retired in Bendigo will be delighted that Paul is a Swans supporter.

Xavier who preceded me as first XVIII coach in the early seventies is also a Swans ‘tragic’.


Finally, I believe Paul Finneran is the right leader for this time in ACK’s history.

Happy trio

The three young people pictured attended different schools in Mitchell Shire but have become friends in a Christian youth group and belong to a choir. Maria, on left is a budding poet and sent me one of her poems.

I joined a choir; I hadn’t sung, not since days back at school.

I’m not one for new classes or for singing, as a rule.

And yet it’s been amazing; I’ve made so many friends.

We lose ourselves in lovely songs – we’re sad when each choir ends.

We’ve learned some classic ballads; The rock anthem is our best!

We do some a cappella -That one puts us to the test.

So now I’m not afraid to sing with joy that’s pure and true.

Amazing what some practice and some “go for it” can do!

There’s soon to be a concert, when we’ll sing for everyone.

It’s such a thrill to sing with friends, why not come join our fun?


It is four decades since John Woodruff was Mayor of Melbourne and a very good one.

The former ACK student was a man of many parts. For years he ran the family dairy business in Port Melbourne and was a great supporter of Port football and cricket clubs.

He also captained ‘Woodruff Dairies XI’ in a strong midweek competition in Melbourne. Kilmore resident and highly ranked former police officer Bryan Harding was a friend and played for the police XI in that competition.

John Woodruff was also a mayor of Port Melbourne. I’m pretty sure he was a different operator to current city mayor Sally Capp.

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