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The History of Monivae (Book)

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The Best You Can - The History of Monivae College Hamilton 1954-2004


Author of 'The Best you Can' Father John Franzmann described his work at Monivae as follows:

Late in 2001 I was asked to write the history of Monivae College in preparation for its golden jubilee in 2004. I had previously written the history of Chevalier College, a MSC college in Bowral NSW and therefore knew what would be involved, though I was unfamiliar with Monivae. After preliminary reading in MSC and school archives and interviews with past staff and past students, I spent 2003 at Monivae in further research and writing. “The Best You Can” is a result of that work.

The Book

Over two hundred pages on the history of Monivae from 1954 until 2004, with witty remarks, powerful portrayals of wonderful characters and what really went on behind the staff room door and how the decisions were reached that made Monivae the educational institution it is today.  This beautiful hard cover has over sixty photographs in high quality reproduction and an index of more than 1800 names and where to find them in the text.  Are you recorded in the Monivae histroy?

The Author

John Franzmann was born at Townsville in 1938, and grew up in various country towns in Queensland. He attended secondary school as a boarding student at Downlands College in Toowoomba, a college administered by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC). He joined that religious congregation, and was ordained a priest in 1966. His tertiary studies included bachelor degrees in Religious Studies, in Arts (English, History, Classics), and in Mathematics, and a masters degree in Education.  His ministry has been as a teacher, mostly of mathematics, in MSC schools in Canberra, Bowral and Darwin; in the latter two he held the position of Principal. After a year’s sabbatical study in Boston and Israel in 1989, he returned to teach senior mathematics at Chevalier College in Bowral.

You will probably get a feel for how I experienced Monivae from reading the book. I found a school that was inspired, as all our schools are, by a vision of the love of God given to us in Jesus. I met a very friendly student body with some great talent, especially (as I saw it) in the performing arts, and with a real interest in helping people in need. I met an equally friendly and really dedicated staff, and a particularly busy staff – I think it spends more after-hours in planning that any of the other colleges; perhaps because it was in the final stages of implementing a very precise and wide-ranging five-year strategic plan.

As a Catholic priest belonging to a religious congregation, I was greatly impressed by the warm relationship between the college and the parish. I met a local Catholic population that was both fully committed to its traditional faith and open to new ideas: a difficult mix to achieve. I enjoyed living in a large country town. I found Hamilton had a strong commitment to education, and a deep sense of its own history. I liked the country too, the change of seasons (apart from the too-frequent rain squalls!) with its changes in bird life (and insects too at some periods!), the rich pasture even surviving in drought times. I got to the Grampians only at the end of my time there, but what an experience, what a contrast with the plains of the Wimmera. But I suppose it is hardly my place to comment on Hamilton and the Western District after such a short time there.

The Best You Can is available through reception or by emailing