Can't get enough of Bundy
"I HAD a return ticket to Bundaberg, but on my trip home my parents asked where would I be stationed in New Zealand and I didn't have the heart to tell them I had a return ticket.”
Brother Graeme Donaldson reminisce about the Bundy that was and marvelled at how far the city has come, with a long-over-due visit this week.
Meeting with Shalom College principal Dan McMahon and Brother Rochford, Br Donaldson said.
"I taught here in 1959 at the Christian Brothers High School on Woongarra St and I came to Australia in 1950 to join the Christian Brothers in Sydney,” he said.
"I caught the boat at Auckland on Thursday night and we landed on Monday morning. I spent seven years in the penal colony of New South Wales and three years in the banana and peanut state of Queensland.
"If I said I was impressed with Shalom College, I would be vastly understating that - it's amazing, in fact I'm blown away.
"If there is a better set up as a school in Queensland, I dearly love to see it. Boys and girls are well set up for life here.”
Br Donaldson said the quantity and quality of the facilities at Shalom particularly stood out to him.
From training facilities, catering, metal and wood work, the chapel, drama centre and the fitness centre, it was all state-of-the-art.
He said his own experiences with the Brothers and a desire to teach was what motivated him to join the Christian Brothers.
"I was at a boarding school an saw what the Christian Brothers did for us,” he said.
"They got us up for mass, taught school all day, coached us sport after school, supervised meals, night study and in late 1949 I saw the brothers walking up and down outside the chapel saying 'the rosary' and I said to myself, there's something in this and I'm having two-bob each way.”
Since joining, Br Donaldson has had a whirlwind of experiences, working as a secondary teacher for 31 years in New Zealand and took early retirement to be appointed prison chaplain.
He said working in a prison was "something that was worthwhile, fulfilling and answering the need, listening and being available to them”.
"I enjoyed every school that I was at, it was well worth it, it fulfilling,” he said.
Br Donaldson said he has recently been working at St Vincent de Paul Society Opportunity Shop and isn't ready to slow down yet.
"I'm still at the crease, I've had a good innings and I'm ready to go at anytime,” he said.
"I love this place, I never waned to leave with my return ticket - but it was more for my parents.
"It's great to see Br Rochford again.”
While he was in town, Br Donaldson got a taste of some of the fish and chips from Flippers and couldn't be happier with the result.
"It was lovely grilled and crumbed fish, crunchy chips not soggy, it was beautiful,” he said. With the food as good as the company, Bundaberg certainly lived up to his expectation.