In Nudgee A Life, Dr Martin Kerby offers the reader a valuable record of one of Australia’s oldest secondary schools, all the while placing it in the broader social and historical context. As Kerby observes, ‘nothing happens in a vacuum, least of all an institution with its roots firmly grounded in the history of Queensland and the place of Irish Catholics in that history’. The author, whose biography of Sir Philip Gibbs was recently published in the United Kingdom, chose the same methodology to document the evolution of the College from a vehicle for Irish Catholic socio/economic advancement to one of the country’s premier educational institutions. In doing so, he offers an insight into the Irish Christian Brothers educational mission, the often uncertain place of Irish Catholics in the years prior to World War Two, through post war reconstruction and an increasingly multicultural and secular society. Kerby draws on a wide range of archival sources and many previously unpublished sources to provide a biography that, like all good biographies, is capable of placing a life narrative into the broader sweep of history.
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