Br Richard Xavier Butler

Principal 1935

Brother Richard Xavier Butler, formerly Superior of St Mary’s, is appointed the first Principal in 1935.

Born in Hollyford, County Tipperary in Ireland, in 1875. Br Butler came to Victoria in September 1896 but then spend several years in Queensland as Superior at Ipswich and Principal of Toowoomba school. His stress on academic excellence led many of his students to careers in law, medicine and the Church.

After leaving Toowoomba Br Butler spent a short time in Adelaide and Kalgoorlie before he was appointed to the Christian Brother's Training College in Strathfield, New South Wales.

He then spent some time as Superior of the Victoria Parade School in Melbourne before making a long anticipated trip back to Ireland in 1932, where unfortunately he fell ill whilst travelling.

On his return to Australia he was appointed Superior of St Mary's Geelong, at the time a combined primary and secondary school whose residents began petitioning for a separate higher grade school.

These demands were partly met by the establishment of St Joseph's College at Newtown, adjoining the existing orphanage. In 1939 the orphanage moved to Highton leaving behind a decrepit building. Br Butlers most significant contribution was the work he did in reconstructing and improving the infrastructure of the school. Br Butler turned the site of the orphanage into a first-class boarding College for boys, of which all Catholics could be proud.

He is remembered as being a gentle man of extraordinary energy,quietly spoken and well liked. He was a man who liked to get to know his students and would often be out in the yard at lunchtimes. He was transparently honest, promoted justice and peace and a good sportsman. Br Butler is represented on the blue College House Crest by a dove and an olive branch, and the House is named in his honour.

By 1940, with most of the significant building work completed, Br Butler enjoyed his Golden Jubilee celebrations at St Joseph's in the newly constructed dining hall. When it became known that his term in office was coming to an end, a 'Butler Scholarship' was instigated in his honour.

Br Butler moved to a hostel at Albert Park and died after a short illness in August 1941.

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