Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : Literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

Brother Keith Weston

Dark tales from the Christian Brothers

As told in my first book - Cleary Independent - HarperCollins 1998

 

Brother Hayes, our rotund, quietly spoken Principal departed soon after I arrived in 1962, to be replaced by the tall, stern, foreboding figure of Brother Weston. The aroma of pipe tobacco, doused with Old Spice hung like cumulus nimbus clouds, above Weston when he arrived for class after the lunchtime break. His moods, like that of Brother Darcy, were unpredictable and at times inexplicable. The day he took to a quiet, innocuous kid, knocking over his desk in a fit of rage, we gripped our seats paralysed by fear.
The Christian Brothers often warned us about girls, especially girls from state schools where Protestantism and sinfulness was rife. The Brothers, who we assumed knew little about girls and the lure of sex, regularly staged social nights where we could fraternise with female descendants of the Virgin Mary.
"Christ told us to go forth and multiply but he did not intend that we multiply Protestantism. Your motto, 'luceat lux vestra', must be worn with pride. Do you understand what that means?" said Brother Richardson.
"Yes, Brother. Our light must shine just like Christ's did," we chorused in sublime deference.
"So when escorting a girl along a footpath what does a Catholic boy do, Mr Cleary?"
"He walks on the side nearest the gutter, Brother."
"And why is that, Mr Cleary?"
"So that the girl is shielded from possible splashes caused by passing cars, Brother," I replied, the saint inside desperate for recognition.


Brother Weston at work


If a boy had sporting talent there was no chance that it would lay dormant. Brother Darcy, our Grade 6 teacher, terrorised anyone foolish enough to avoid his calling. Bending over at the back of the room waiting for that whistling cane to embed itself into the fleshy part of your backside was a nerve-wracking experience.
"Next time you miss training it will be 10," he'd say, sliding his free hand along the cane as if it was a samurai sword dripping with the blood of an enemy's head. Darcy eventually left the Brothers and married an ex-nun.
Inexplicable acts of aggression and fumbling, awkward sexual advances were sufficiently common to convince young boys in shorts that all was not well with some of the blokes dishing out punishment at St Joes. Fortunately we weren't locked in an orphanage when night fell. I did however feel the shock wave of apprehension when a Brother opened the door one night during a Retreat and asked, "Do you need to be tucked in?" The same bloke had earlier taken me to the Presbytery for what he called a vocational talk. When he inquired as to the level of my sexual knowledge and the operations of particular parts, I sought my leave.

Note

When I wrote these paragraphs in 1998 I was not absolutely sure about Weston's behaviour. It was Weston who poked his head into my room on the Retreat. He was the same brother who took me to the presbytery for 'a talk'. Only later, when contacted by a former classmate, did I realise that Weston had made a habit of sexual molestation. The defamation laws precluded me from naming him.


 

 


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