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Where are they now - Brian Pola (SPC 1967-68)

author: Lorrie Liston

5 Dec

Where are they now - Brian Pola (SPC 1967-68)

The College reconnects with Dr Brian Pola (SPC 1967-68) who shares his interesting life story, his recent work with SPC and commitment to improve the rights of gay people.

“After leaving St Patrick’s in 1966 and a confused two years, I started at Latrobe in 1969. I was heavily involved in the anti-Vietnam War and radical student movement and did three months in Pentridge Prison in 1972 as a political prisoner. Professionally, I had an up and down teaching career, with positions at Scotch College, ACU, RMIT, Ballarat University and St Patrick’s College. I was awarded a Doctorate in 1988 with a thesis on the Australian Radical Student Movement. In 2017 the university welcomed me back in a public and televised event to celebrate the university's radical history.

“As a very out gay man my life has been and still is very involved with the rights of gay people from a social justice perspective. I learnt about social justice at St Patrick's as a Christian, then as a Communist at university. Brother Kelty was influential as a teacher of Roman History.

“During the past two years I've worked with (St Patrick’s College headmaster) John Crowley in helping the many survivors of sexual abuse and developing contemporary methodologies regarding homophobia. The College, its students and staff, have been courageous in addressing this tragic past and now, in 2017, the College is happy and strong.  

In 2007 I published “Yarrowee: A Radical Life”, a warts and all, drugs, sex, rock n'roll speculative autobiography, which is available free on-line at brianpola.com 

I'm delighted the College is re-invigorating boarding. Boarding at St Patrick’s helped me to grow up and learn what it means to be a man, not a great man, but a man. Needless to say I've never married and my family are my many wonderful friends.