Where are they now - Frank Tierney (SPC 1962-68)
author: Lorrie Liston
The College reconnects with Frank Tierney (SPC 1962-68) who has relished a career in real estate spanning 50 years.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
I arrived in Ballarat to become a boarder at St Patricks College in 1962. My starting class was grade 6. This was a big step for my age and with my family in distant Mildura. The first year was one where I experienced loneliness and the routine of a boarding school.
The experience and the environment kept me at St Patrick’s for seven years as a boarder, where I matriculated in 1968. Both the school and I learnt to test each other and this became the establishment of a life of rules and regulations in a faith-based environment. At the start of the academic journey I was a very average to poor student. However the persistence of the Brothers ensured that I realised the need to be a better student and with their help was able to achieve much better results in the latter years, culminating in the Senior school prize “The Howard Prize/Award” for application to Study and Sport for the 1968 year. This was presented at the School Awards night at the Ballarat City Hall by Bishop J.P. O Collins and the then Federal Minister for Education Mr Malcolm Fraser.
On leaving school I took up work in the property industry as a real estate salesman and trainee valuer. In 1970 I joined the Australian Army and became a rifleman in the 4th Infantry Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, based in Townsville and then served in Vietnam 1971. I am the recipient of a number of Australia war medals along with a belated citation for service to the country from the Australian Government on behalf of the Australian people.
After the Army service, I went back into the world of real estate and property, by this time married to Lesley with the first of four children.
As a veteran, at such a young age, it was extremely difficult settling back into civilian life and in particular being rejected and humiliated by elements of the Australian people due to my service in Vietnam.
I have been in the real estate/property business all of my life and I am still a full-time property professional in my fifth decade of continual practice, with licenses across a number of jurisdictions in Australia. This journey has involved owning shop front real estate businesses, property development, property consulting and working across all sectors of the property industry both in Australia and commissions internationally, particularly America and the UK.
I fulfilled a role as a liaison manager for an Australian real estate marketing company with Prudential Real Estate in America and Canada for a few years.
Whilst Chairman of the First National Real Estate Group for a period of three years, during a period of change in the Industry which culminated in rolling out a system of Best Practice to some 450 offices in Australia and New Zealand, helping to lower professional indemnity insurance premiums in the industry. During this period I was the recipient of “The Kaye Heath Memorial Award“ for contribution to the real estate industry in Australia.
Today, our company Tierney Property Group (based in Melbourne,) specialises in property services/solutions to religious organisations mostly in the Catholic sector. The company is the property managers/project managers of large property portfolios which are diverse, complex and spread all over Australia and Papua New Guinea. Our business models allows us to put “in-house“ teams together to assist clients in this sector, bringing in a range of high quality property experience and qualification to assist organisations in matters of strategy and operational process, which enhances and adds value to their portfolios.
Travel has been a big part of my life both in a work sense and personal. I have an avid interest in the South East Asian region and have travelled extensively throughout the countries that rely upon and border the Mekong River. There is an enormous amount of history in this area and satisfies some of my quest for knowledge of all of the military history in the region. I have experienced almost the doubling of the population in this region and the economic challenges of the countries, both past and what lies before them.
We are so lucky to live in Australia where struggle street is nowhere near what struggle street is in Asia.
What are your favourite memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
The sport and study that helped create confidence and a sense of self-assurance.
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
I have reflected on this at length and considered it in two parts. Forms 1 to 4 was Brother O.V. Wynne. The poor man had the task of trying to teach me Latin.
Forms 5 and 6 was Brother Francis. His strength and discipline was firm, which helped him be a great teacher. From his history lessons, I developed an unquenchable thirst for travel.
How has your education shaped your professional life?
To believe in myself, to be firm yet considerate and always have a desire to do better and enjoy life.
How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?
I have seen many aspects of life in a number of different societies. I often reflect on the rights and wrong of my life and then my need for grounding. To do this, I have to dig into the foundations of faith and the values that had been taught and shaped from my education at SPC. I try then to transmit these to my four children and 10 grandchildren in many different ways.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Never feel sorry for yourself as there is always someone else worse off. Believe in yourself and be prepared to back yourself. You have to decide what values you take through life and how you will not only articulate them, but live by them. Values will always be stronger than material considerations and make you stand up for what you believe.