Br Maurice Cathage Clarkson

Principal 1980

Br Maurice Carthage Clarkson was appointed Principal in 1980.

Born in North Fitzroy in 1924, he grew up in Clifton Hill as a Collingwood supporter, but it was the influence of one of the Brothers at St Thomas' school, with whom he played cricket, which led to his vocation. At Strathfield he struggled with Latin initially having missed the fundamentals, but his prowess on the handball court and at cricket stood him in good stead. After spells in Gympie and Ipswich, he sought a posting nearer his family in Melbourne but finished up in Charters Towers, a boarding college next to the racetrack where the Brothers and the students picked up some colourful language from the jockeys as they exercised their horses. By the late 1970s he was back in Victoria and was Principal at Cathedral College Melbourne before being appointed at St Joseph's.

When he was appointed, Br Clarkson resolved to improve each of the various sections of the school, he started with the Chapel. Some of the rooms next to the Chapel were not being used, so with the aid of Mr Russell Zampatti, 'the most valuable person ever to set his foot on the soil of St Joseph's" he set about converting them for classrooms, replacing combined benches with single tables and chairs. Then he attended the gardens, again with Russell's help, and the Old Boy's Pavilion which encouraged the Old Boys to get involved. His next area was the tuck shop and then the office area where he asked the office staff to suggest and implement the required changes. When money became available, he drained the swimming pool which was not being used and had become a nuisance. Then he returned his efforts to the gardens as 'a sign to all that there was growing interest in progress and beauty'.

He felt that people had become too content to accept deterioration and took a stand saying "We won't change things overnight but unless we begin we won't change them at all - ever". His leadership style was very clear and people were seldom in doubt as to where they stood. He radiated enormous self confidence and encouraged Deakin University's cooperation and supported their Talented Children Program, which gave selected students a chance to sample innovative educational approaches.

After three years, Br Clarkson went overseas for study.

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