A 60 year history, including 40 years as a teacher and principal have this month been celebrated by Marist Brother Noel Hickey.
Br Noel Columban Hickey was honoured at a special reception last week Wednesday 6 June in the presence of Archbishop Timothy Costelloe and Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey.
Br Noel, the cousin of Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey, was born in 1925 at Fimiston, on the Lake View Lease in the Goldfields, Western Australia.
His Marist vocation began when he received the Lord Abbot Scholarship as a resident for five years at St Ildephonsus’ College, New Norcia.
As a student, he excelled in his sportsmanship, earning the record for under 16’s 880-yard at the inaugural State Schoolboys’ Athletic Carnival in 1940 which lasted for some years.
Br Noel received his Marist Brother’s religious habit at Mittagong, New South Wales at a time when Australia was at war and had already signed his conscription papers.
In July 1944 at Parramatta Marist, he began his long and distinguished teaching career, mainly teaching senior students, with time also as a school principal.
He also managed to attain his Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Western Australia, receiving the Lady Hackett-Moulden prize of three guineas for Latin.
In 1983, he began a very fruitful period of his life, during which he spent the next 18 years in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands as a teacher and later as the District Secretary and Bursar.
Finally, in 2002 Noel returned home to Churchlands, but not to retire.
Br Noel’s steadfast commitment to Newman College since that time can be seen in his weekly contribution to the Newman College Education Support Centre.
He also spent two hours every week for more than a decade visiting patients in the Head Trauma Unit at Shenton Park.
Now that he is 94, he is moving slowly with the aid of a walking stick and a walker for longer distances.
His athletic, sporty days are now behind him although his physical condition does not prevent him from working each Tuesday with the students in the Newman College Education Support.
One thing that is certain is Br Noel’s morning habit of completing crosswords from The Australian and Jumble World in The West Australian.
Newman College School Principal John Finneran said he admired Br Noel’s dedication to Catholic Education that has enhanced the lives of thousands of young people both in Australia and overseas.
“Br Noel’s ongoing presence is exemplified by his wisdom, intellect and support of our students, specifically his work in the Education Support Centre,” Mr Finneran said.