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Maltese Salesian Past Pupils Association of Victoria disbanded

15 March 2015

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After five and a half decades the Maltese Salesian Past Pupils Association of Victoria has had to be disbanded. As the years went by and as migration from Malta dried up, there were no younger past pupils that could take over the running of the Associa­tion. A final Thanksgiving Mass and Get Together was held on 15 March 2015 at the Maltese Community Centre in Parkville.

Sincere thanks go to Father Joe Pulis SDB, who has been the Association’s Spiritual Director for the past 26 years and to all Presidents and their Committees for a wonderful job done. The Association also thanks its Sponsors for their generosity and support over the years.

Association’s History

The origin of the Association goes back to 1954 when a few Maltese immigrants, who were past pupils of the Salesians in Malta, joined the Don Bosco Salesian Foundation in Brunswick Victoria, then led by His Honour Judge Frank Walsh QC. This was a mixed group of Australians and immigrants.

In 1958 Judge Frank Walsh suggested to the Maltese members to form their own Maltese Association, as there were more Maltese in the Federation than any other nationality.

In 1959, after some organizing by Frank Azzopardi and Dominic Bonello, it was decided to form a new Association and call it the Salesian Old Boys. Frank Azzopardi was elected as its first President.

The Association’s membership soon grew to eighty-two members and their families. They organized picnics, get-together dinner dances in Hadfield and film nights, and gave out toys to the members’ children event at Christmas. Members continued to meet every month at the old Maltese Community Centre building in Parkville to hold meetings and keep the Association alive.

From the seventies onwards, the Associa­tion went dormant for a while. Dominic Bonello could not continue to be active on the committee but John Portelli then President, backed by Paul Borg as Treasurer, tried their best to keep it going and keep the name of the Salesian Old Boys alive but no functions were held.

During the years that the Association was dormant, there was always someone from the Salesians to represent our Association and be involved with the Maltese Community Council of Victoria, particularly their Treasurer, Paul Borg, and the late John Portelli and the late Manuel Bugeja, representing the Association as organisers, and Alfred Asciak helping with the decora-tion of the Maltese Community Hall.

The Chaplains involved with the Associa­tion were the late Fr Joseph Ciantar SDB, Fr Joe Curmi SDB, Fr Joe Pulis SDB, Fr Frank Klep SDB and Br Joe Ellul SDB.

Fr Joseph Ciantar SDB, helped Fr Claudio Borg, the first MSSP priest in Victoria, to establish the first chapel and residence for the MSSP in Victoria at Parkville where the Maltese Community Centre is now located.

In 1988, John Portelli and the Committee decided to revive the Association under a new name and they called it Maltese Salesian Past Pupils Association of Victoria.

Since then meetings were held every month either at the MCCV in Parkville  or at Don Bosco in Brunswick. A full committee was formed and John Portelli was elected President.

In 1991 the Association was registered with the Office of Fair Trading and Co-operate Affairs and became affiliated under the Maltese Community Council of Victoria Inc. The Association continued to prosper and its membership grew to close to four hundred.

Since 1988 John Portelli, Tony Zarb, Victor Privitera, Arthur Cutajar and Joseph Darmanin served in the role of President.

In 1992 Fr Victor Mangion SDB visited the Association and presented the Associa­tion with a medallion in recognition of its work and appreciation for its donations to the Salesians in Malta.

The Association raised funds for the Salesian Missions and other needy institu­tions, for the homeless and the poor in the third world countries by running many functions every year and raising an average $15,000 to $18,000 a year from dinner dances, the Annual Charity Ball, raffles, get togethers, weekend trips and sponsor­ships. The Association’s donations went to South Africa, South America, Samoa, Philippines, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Malta, and other countries.

The Association enjoyed a very good relationship with the Salesian Past Pupils of Don Bosco in New South Wales. In 2004 the President and Vice President were invited to sit on the Board of Directors of Don Bosco Foundation, representing the Association.

Association members were very supportive with very generous always donating raffle prizes. Some always helped in organising functions and most members always attended Association functions.

In 2009 the Association celebrated a significant milestone – the 50th Anniver­sary since its foundation in 1959.

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ARCHIVED INFORMATION

Postal address: c/- 50 Intervale Drive, Avondale Heights, Victoria 3034

Date founded:1959

Association Objectives. The aims and objectives of  the Association are as follows:

  • To retain the original bond of friendship with the Salesians;
  • To keep the Past Pupils united in the Salesian spirit;
  • To help spread the teachings of Don Bosco;
  • To provide amenities and organize activities and other social events for the benefit of the members and for which a donation to be determined by the committee is to be paid by all members; and
  • To make donations at the discretion of the committee’s discretion to:
    – Salesian missions,
    – other missions and charitable organizations, and
    – natural persons who have given loyal and faithful service to the Association and to the Salesian Congregation,
    be they located in Australia or overseas. 

Association HistoryIn 1954 a few Maltese immigrants who were past pupils of the Salesians in Malta joined the Don Bosco Salesian Federation in Brunswick Victoria, which was run under the leadership of His Honour Judge Frank Walsh QC. This was a mixed group of Australians and immigrants.

In 1958 His Honour Frank Walsh QC. then President of the Foundation, suggested to the Maltese members to form their own Maltese Association, as there were more Maltese in the Federation than any other nationality. After some organizing by Frank Azzopardi and Dominic Bonello, it was decided to form a new Association and call it the “Salesian 0ld Boys”.

Frank Azzopardi was elected as the first President. However, after some time, he stepped down and Dominic Bonello was elected President in his place. Working hand in hand with Manuel Debattista and Fr Joe Curmi SDB, who was their chaplain, he encouraged the Maltese members to form an Association. They started to advertise on radio and spread the word around to inform and attract Salesian past pupils to join our Association.

By 1959 the Association had eighty-two members and their families, organized picnics, get-together dinner dances in Hadfield and film nights, gave out toys to the members’ children event at Christmas. This went on for a few years. Dominic Bonello relates that the members continued to meet every month at the Maltese Community Centre in Parkville to hold meetings and keep the Association alive.

From the seventies onwards, the Association went dormant for a while. Dominic Bonello could not continue to be active on the committee but John Portelli who by then was the President and backed by Paul Borg as Treasurer, tried their best to keep it going and keep the name of the Salesian Old Boys alive but no functions were held.

During the years that the Association was dormant, there was always someone from the Salesians to represent our Association and be involved with the Maltese Community Council of Victoria, particularly their Treasurer, Paul Borg, and the late John Portelli representing the Association as Organizer, the late Manuel Bugeja as Organizer, and Alfred Asciak helping in the decoration of the Maltese Community Hall.

The Chaplains involved with our Association were the late Fr Joseph Ciantar SDB, Fr Joe Curmi SDB, Fr Joe Pulis SDB, Fr Frank Klep SDB and Br Joe Ellul SDB.

Fr Joseph Ciantar SDB, helped Fr Claudio Borg, the first MSSP priest in Victoria, to establish the first chapel and residence for the MSSP in Victoria at Parkville where the Maltese Community Centre is now located.

In 1988, John Portelli and the Committee decided to revive the Association under a new name and they called it “Maltese Salesian Past Pupils Association of Victoria.” Since then meetings were held every month either at the MCCV in Parkville  or at Don Bosco in Brunswick. A full committee was formed and John Portelli was elected President. In 1991 the Association was registered with the Office of Fair Trading and Co-operate Affairs and became affiliated under the Maltese Community Council of Victoria Inc. Since then, the Association has prospered and at the present, it is doing very well. The membership is continuously growing and is close to four hundred strong.

Since 1988 the Association’s Presidents were John Portelli, Tony Zarb, Victor Privitera, Arthur Cutajar, and, at present, Joseph Darmanin.

In 1992 Fr Victor Mangion SDB arrived from Malta to visit the Association, by then Tony Zarb was the President. Fr Mangion presented the Association with a medallion as recognition of its work and appreciation for its donations to the Salesians in Malta.

The Association raises funds for the Salesian Missions and other needy institutions for the homeless and the poor in the third world countries, from running ten to fourteen mixed functions a year and raise an average $15,000 to $18,000 a year from Dinner Dances, the Annual Charity Ball, raffles, Get Togethers , Pokie Trips and sponsorships. The Association’s donations go to South Africa, South America, Samoa, Philippines, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Malta, and other countries.

The Association has a very good relationship with the Salesian Past Pupils of Don Bosco in New South Wales, and Joseph Fabri is their current President. In 2004 the President and Vice President were invited to sit on the Board of Directors of Don Bosco Foundation, representing the Association, and these positions are considered an honour to the Association.

Our members are very supportive to the Association, many are very generous always donating raffle prizes. Some are always helping in our functions and most members are always attending all the functions. The Association is grateful to its Sponsors for their continuous generosity and support.

The Association has a very dedicated Committee, always ready to do the work at hand and run our functions efficiently. In 2009 the Association celebrated a significant milestone – the 50th Anniversary since its foundation in 1959.