Peter Bohrsmann and the phone call from his friend

I’ve had a couple of attempts to write this post and so far and I’ve lost a bunch of stuff I’ve written. So, this one could be the best of three, or may even be the worst but that’s not so important. What’s important for me is the information that came to me a few weeks back, which I feel is worth writing about and hence is why I’m writing this revision for the third time.

This all started when I wrote a post about my final year at St Ignatius College, Riverview, when my religion teacher, Peter Bohrsmann surprised me with an act of kindness. You can read more about it here (http://disorderlyhappiness.com/2012/04/10/peter-bohrsmann-on-would-jesus-do-at-st-ignatius-college-riverview/).

I then got a call from a friend of Peter’s, who told me what I already felt was true, that his suicide was not a confession of guilt for what he was accused of, which is what people presume when such a thing happens.

But if you haven’t read that post and you’re interested in what this is all about, here is a bit of a background…

Peter Bohrsmann was accused of some kind of sexual thing with a male student, and this accusation was never found to be true. Peter’s friend, whose name I can’t remember, but as he says he reads this blog, I’m hoping he’ll comment with his name and clarify anything here – he told me the accusation was from an anonymous tip-off to the police. So they, the police, doing their job had to investigate and they found no evidence.

Peter apparently thought it came from a woman who worked in the refectory, which if that’s a term you’re unfamiliar with, it’s where food is prepared for boarders, who are the kids that live at the school. The reasoning Peter had was that because he’d recently had an argument with this lady, and because in Peter’s mind the accusation was baseless, she was the most likely candidate for the anonymous accuser. He was so sure of this that he tried to make her feel guilty by getting her to be a witness to his will. I suppose he thought this would make it known to her that he knew she was behind the tip-off and she’d feel regret or remorse, or at least she’d feel much worse when she’d learn about his suicide.

The thing here, from what I heard was his suicide wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, it was planned and it’s likely that it might have been on his mind even before this event. Afterwards, Peter’s friend for instance saw all the receipts of the equipment he bought to get the car exhaust into the closed car. Peter even bought a new car just beforehand – maybe he just wanted to treat himself with a last bit of luxury before committing the final act. It makes some sense to treat yourself when you mightn’t have another chance again. The point being was it appeared planned and if he was guilty of some sexual act with a boy, it wouldn’t make any sense he’d be thinking this lady was the anonymous accuser to the extent of getting her to witness his last will, as a sort of retaliation, at least not in my mind anyway.

Yet to put this in more context from what I understand, Peter had previously attempted suicide a long time before, so it’s likely he fought with a deep sadness that might have had a lot to do with his father committing suicide too when he was just a young boy. On top of that, Peter’s family life was generally dysfunctional, so Riverview, the school that took him in, was the saving grace from his troubled youth. I can imagine then that he must have had strong emotional ties with school, in a way the school perhaps acted as surrogate parents and these emotional connections are not likely to just disappear when we become adults.

Why this is important is the school just before this accusation had demoted him from the high position he had there. It was due to one of those hired business consultant teams that throw around words like innovation, economize, streamline, competitive edge etc. etc, far too often, and these guys came to the school and saw Peter as a someone who couldn’t be “re-branded” enough to fit into their glossed over vision of what the school should transform into – to place itself as “a strong competitor in the marketplace”. So he was demoted and that was sure to be a big hit, considering the school was for him his home, his passion, his life, and in many ways emotionally, his parents.

But I feel it’s probably a good time to add a bit of a disclaimer. I’m talking about this as if I have first hand knowledge of these events, which I don’t – but I want to relay what I was told and from how my memory best serves me regarding the phone conversation I had, because I believe many ex pupils might have automatically believed that Peter Bohrsmann was guilty of what he was accused of, and I personally feel, even more now that he wasn’t.

Peter Bohrsmann

Peter Bohrsmann

Back to the topic then. Peter’s friend also mentioned a lot of good things about his mate. One thing that struck me was that he loved the surf, that he came from the northern Sydney beaches and he relished in the waves. It was out in the surf that he apparently felt he could be himself and when he was himself, he didn’t mind expressing his common tongue. It may be why my last religion essay which had many fucks and shits and cunts written throughout it, as I recall, wasn’t such a big deal to him. As I wrote in the previous post, Mr Bohrsmann was far more concerned with the reason I wrote like this than the words themselves.

It’s funny about the surfing thing too, because I used to take a pretend sick day or what was then called wagging from school almost once per week to get out in the surf myself and I never figured he was a surfer. I mean, he didn’t look the part, he was a big guy in both the up and sideways dimensions.

Anyway, from my memory, I recall that it was his down to earth nature, kindness and his humbleness that was a quality that really set Peter apart as a teacher and person, and that’s why a lot of kids liked him. He’d often joke with the kids and so would have to take a few of the big guy jokes on his chin, because he was a big guy but from memory he’d just be quick witted about it because wasn’t the type of person that would dish a hurtful comment back, like some other teachers, who seemed to do that out of some twisted need to exert power and control over young kids.

The last thing I’m going to write about was how Peter used to attend Fr Ted Kennedy’s church at Redfern, Sydney. Fr Ted, was not the conventional Catholic priest, his masses where really informal almost like a group of people got together and talked, while a few ritual interludes had to be injected in between. I’m not a church goer myself, but I went there once when my Polish grandmother-in-law, Halina who visited Australia and wanted to go to Sunday mass. In her mind, so my wife said because I can’t speak Polish, it wasn’t really a service, so it didn’t really count towards the weekly mass attendance checklist!

Anyway, Fr Ted did a lot of work for the Aboriginal community and a lot of that community went to church there. Peter, was always offering to help Fr Ted’s church financially or with things needed for the community and from what Peter’s friend said, who spoke to Fr Ted, he contributed a fair bit. This was something that wasn’t really known about Peter among his friends or colleagues from what I heard, as he never really talked about it. It was only known to Peter’s friend by the off change phone call he had with Fr Ted, while he was doing his own investigating of the events around Peter’s death.

I understand that Peter’s friend has written or is in the process of finishing a book about Peter, which will obviously have a lot more detail than this post. Anyway I wanted to thank you again, Peter’s friend for straightening this out for me, sorry I forgot your name!!

My personal feeling on the matter of Peter Bohrsmann’s death, having myself a strong sense that an afterlife or spirit life exists, is that suicide is sure to bring some difficult circumstances for the person that commits suicide after passing. But having said that, I feel someone like Peter, who had a real and by that I mean a demonstrated religious conviction, had a strong belief in God, was humble and kind, would get through these challenges relatively quickly, and move to a good place, one that’s a hell of a lot better than a life at Riverview anyway!

On a side note, I don’t have a huge issue with my old school but I did and still do have a big aversion to institutions that act out with hypocrisy, but then again, I myself, in the past have been a hypocrite, so who am I to judge? Well all in all, I feel it will all make sense soon enough and we’ll all have a laugh about everything we hold on to too strongly – for dear life!

So too, wherever you are, thanks Peter for being a great teacher and a good bloke to many.

29 thoughts on “Peter Bohrsmann and the phone call from his friend

  1. deberigny

    It’s very sad what happened to Peter and in the afterlife I’m sure he appreciates what you are doing for his memory — many people can be teachers but only a few can be so fondly remembered!

    Reply
  2. Simon Mahon

    I stumbled across this great article. I was also at St Augustine’s in Brookvale (1974 – 1981) and Peter Bohrsmann was also my teacher (3 years of Latin). I agree completely with Paul O’Neill, Peter was a great teacher and a great bloke.

    Reply
  3. Gary F Bourke

    Hi David,
    I am sorry I did not respond here to your request to comment. My wife, Josephine has been seriously ill for almost two years. I didn’t respond initially due to being shocked that you wrote so much and also recalled so much of our brief phone conversation.
    Yes, you are correct with your content and I am in awe of your sincerity and also your strong passion in your writing(s) – most especially what you said about my mate, Pete.
    I know of the two guys who have made such great comments here as they were Peter’s students. I didn’t complete that book but I intend to. Peter had a ‘half-sister’, Jne who was in publishing and I hope to track her down.
    Peter’s only other sibling, a ‘half- brother’, Simon is well known in the UK. I was in contact via email a couple of years ago and I will attempt to send him this link and also the “Memorial” link I started up for Peter – which appears further down the net page – along with all that sh^t written about Peter, included with those folk accused of misconduct.
    I only wished Peter had waited out those extra days, during which his name would have been exonerated.
    He must have been in such a lonely ‘space’, most especially the early hours of that morning of he 2nd June when he ‘phoned his elderly Mum, Margot to say he wouldn’t be seeing her for a while due to a “bad cold’ and that he “would be taking some pills and all will be alright”. He did so prior to placing on a CD of his choral music and turning on the engine of his new Statesman – parked behind the boat shed – just below the old stone steps – facing the view of the Lane Cove River wherein he, as a kid, sat in the rowboat and in lieu of training: he and his mates would take a smoke or two under the overhanging trees – so he used tell me! Yes a “great bloke” and a great man.
    I’m trying to locate his euology which was written by a another good mate of ours, and which was read in the Sydney Cathedral and was more than a tribute to Pete., it summed up this ‘greatness’ and the non-jugmental humility of a man, a teacher, a mentor – all of which you spoke about so well. I thank you here, publicly, for opening a discussion which many didn’t have that fortutude to do so.
    Cheers mate, Gary F Bourke.

    Reply
    1. David Wall Post author

      Cheers for replying back there. I’m glad I didn’t mis-relay anything. Good to hear from you, hope your wife is doing better now. – David

      Reply
  4. deberigny

    David, all you have said about Peter is very inspiring, but there is a undertone of sadness, and we are left with a regret that for Peter his only solution, in his mind, seemed to be an act that ended his life.

    Reply
    1. David Wall Post author

      Yeah, it’s sad, I really can’t see how there was any validity to the claims against him. Interestingly I got a comment on the other post I did about Peter from an anonymous person:

      “PB was set up, by a jealous employee.”

      http://disorderlyhappiness.com/2012/04/10/peter-bohrsmann-on-would-jesus-do-at-st-ignatius-college-riverview/#comment-1409

      I guess the person’s got a heavy conscience and wants to offload. But in my opinion someone that knows the truth would really need to stand by the truth to set themselves free.

      Reply
  5. Mark Rogan

    Hi David, thanks for this post. I was in school with Paul O’Neill and only know Peter Bohrsmann as a gentleman, a gentle man, a great educator but most of all a carer of people. I, like many of us at St AUgustines were very saddened and troubled by Peter’s death and the accusations that surrounded them as they were so out of character with the man of character we knew. Thank you Gary Burke for confirming David’s account. I remember you and Peter attending many of our basketball games in the last 2 years at St Augustines. We all appreciated the support and commitment that represented. Gary I hope and pray that your wife is better and that life is brighter now days. Paul, thanks for letting me know of this post. God bless you all.

    Reply
    1. David Wall Post author

      Cheers Mark, I believe it was a shock to everyone that had some interaction with Peter, because it was so out of character. It’s great people like yourself attest to that too. Thanks

      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      G’day Mark, It’s been a while mate and it is supportive to read you comments, along with the other good and respectful words and expressed sentiments.
      Regards to Michael. Your mention of those evenings at basketball made me smile! All of this here that David Wall ‘started’ by his blog, reinforces my faith in our own school (Augustine’s) motto: Vincit Veritas – truth conquers. I had a good chat to Selby two nights ago. Cheers, Gary B.

      Reply
  6. Anonymous

    Peter was the teacher I can remember being kind and supportive at St Augaustines in the 70’s. He was a great guy who I really respected. He was my Christian Doctrine teacher in year 10 and I topped the year in both the half yearly and yearly exam in that subject. As my schoolmates will attest, this was a major shock as I was not terribly interested in academia at that stage of my life. He was the best teacher I ever had by a country mile and I distinctly remember him taking me aside the afternoon I was suspended from St Augustines and told me that it was not imprtant and I was a good kid and don’t worry too much about it.
    He was a great guy and the best teacher I ever had and I reckon it would have given him enormous satisfaction knowing that.
    Larry Collier

    Reply
    1. David Wall Post author

      Thanks Larry, I really enjoyed his teachings. He appeared to be a deeply religious person in a true sense, but was also very down to earth – if only more teachers were like that at Riverview at the time. I remember his passion for hymns and I recall the one he taught all the kids which was Blake’s poem “And did those feet in ancient time”. I still remember that tune today.

      Reply
  7. James Gallagher

    Peter Bohrsman was one of our boarding masters at View during the early 80s. “Ollie” as he was affectionately known, was universally respected and liked. His death came as a shock and all of the classmates with whom I have since spoke expressed that it was “out of character” for the man they knew. I’m pleased that this discussion has lifted the suspicion surrounding “Ollie”. Anyway, let me relate one “Ollie” story that sticks with me, on the topic of champagne. Not sure how we got onto the topic, but Ollie explained that champagne was ideally consumed by a couple who had arrived home at 4am after a ball. Still in their tuxedos and ball gowns, he puts on some music, they settle into a sofa, and they clink their champagne flutes at the first sign of daylight. So his message was that champagne was a drink for couples that should be saved to the end of the night. Who but only a gentleman of the highest order and cultivated mind could relate such a story!

    Reply
    1. David Wall Post author

      Cheers James, agree, in my interactions with him, he was honorable. Anyone having even a little interaction with Peter would have to question the authenticity of what he was claimed to be involved in, I’d say.

      Reply
  8. Pingback: Peter Bohrsmann on what would Jesus do at St Ignatius College Riverview | Disorderly Happiness

  9. Andrew T

    Hi David, thanks for your thoughts here. I am completely confident that your views about Peter are correct.

    Like Simon M (Hi Simon), I stumbled upon this and I knew Peter from my years at St Augustines (class of 1981 also). Peter was never my teacher but we became very close friends when i was in year 10 through our mutual interest in photography. Peter was the unofficial school photographer at SAC and became his unlikely right hand assistant. Before I got to know Peter I struggled quite a bit at school, being generally too full of myself with a tendancy towards misbehaviour. Peter was without doubt the best role model and strongest mentor of my youth. I remember his saying to me (more than once) “T, I would trust you with anything that was important”.

    Peter was smart, very humorous, strong, principled, somewhat unconventional, charitable and full of integrity. I say unconventional because he was both establishment and anti-establishment at the same time. He was his own person. I wasn’t mature enough to recognise depression but I often observed a sadness in Peter.

    When I read your email I knew immediately that Gary Bourke (Hi Gary) was the person on the phone. Gary and Peter were great great mates. I am glad Gary has been in touch again – I am sure he knew Peter better than anyone. Gary’s comments about Peter’s fondness for the ocean resonate with me. Peter had us organised into a group that did gardening at an old peoples home Mona Vale and he would take us to the beach after that and it was easy to see his feeling of happiness and comfort there. His other great love in those days was McDonalds (with a strong preference for Fairlight over Brookvale). Go figure.

    So, here is to Peter. Although his death tragic, he touched the lives of many and I am confident we live in a better world for that.

    Andrew T

    Reply
    1. David Wall Post author

      Thanks Andrew, it’s clear to me too from reading all these comments that Peter remained the same man, that is – as people are saying here, a person with high integrity and honour. It’s sad in many ways that he was able to help and be an inspiration to many but must have not believed he was – to the point that he must have imagined no one would want to help him through the difficult situation he found himself in. It’s not true from what I can see here, that years after still people are wanting to know the truth about Peter. Undoubtably he was very well liked and undoubtably there would have been others able to be there as support, enough so that Peter might have made a different decision. But that’s the thing with depression, it’s unfortunate, but those who experience it, won’t often be able to see outside of their depression and so can’t imagine they are loved by others. I’m sure if Peter was to read these comments, it would make him happy. I don’t know for sure, but perhaps he could. Cheers again Andrew.

      Reply
    2. Chris Shannon

      I had to comment on Andrew’s recollection of Peter, Quote: “Before I got to know Peter I struggled quite a bit at school, being generally too full of myself with a tendancy towards misbehaviour. Peter was without doubt the best role model and strongest mentor of my youth. I remember his saying to me (more than once) “T, I would trust you with anything that was important”.

      That’s precisely as I remember him too. He gave us all, as young blokes, a sense of self worth when others often sought to take it away. So well said, Andrew!

      Reply
      1. David Post author

        Thanks Chris. this is the one post I’ve made I’m most happy about doing. If in some way it corrects the misconceptions around who Mr Bohrsmann was and collects all these personal comments that profess a truer picture of him, as you said a real embodiment of a man for others and someone that many past students have only fond memories of (which is the case), then I’m glad.

  10. Ben

    Hi David,
    What a wonderful piece about a great man! Like you and countless others, I had the pleasure of being cared for by the great ‘Bohrso’. Like so many, I was stunned to hear of his passing and the circumstances surrounding his ‘motivation’ for taking his life!
    ‘If’ Peter was guilty of what he was accused of then I give up on EVER understanding any human being! After I finished school I would always go back and visit Peter, such was my respect for the care and guidance he had given me! As a teacher, I find myself copying and repeating his exemplary lessons in pastoral care and compassion. Your observations about schools become more sterile and business-like are accurate and education is very much growing into a ‘service industry’.
    Men like Peter are gold dust and must be understood, embraced and laundered. His school was indeed his life and when he was brought into question, he completely lost his remaining self-worth. Reading your article again stirred such great sadness for Bohrso. Like many of my classmates, the lose of Peter was, and hopefully still is, frustrating, confusing and without any FINAL clarity! I hope your article helps all of us who cared for him, in the way he cared for us, perhaps finally arrive at the TRUTH!
    We’ll done David!

    Reply
  11. Chris Shannon

    It seems that everyone of us here has nothing but the fondest and most reverent memories of Ollie. When they made Peter Bohrsmann, they broke the mould. He was as special as he was one of a kind.

    To hear that his passing may have been the result of a false accusation is even more hard to bear. I feel, as many here do, that Peter Bohrsmann was the best teacher I ever had, and like others here, I was fortunate to have a few good ones, but it was Ollie first, daylight second, as far as I’m concerned.

    Riverview really could have used more teachers with his generous qualities, during the eighties. Not to say others were bad at all but there was a strong tendency towards conservative conformism which just was overdone, in my humble opinion,

    I often look now at all the bankers, lawyers and politicians that place has produced and think, were they even at the same school as I was? I was taught to be “a man for others”, especially by Pete. What happened to some of those guys? I think a similar sentiment has been more eloquently expressed by David about how, in time, we’ll all come to realise that the material things in which so many of us place so much importance and value, are really meaningless in the end.

    Finally, I think the boys from Augustine’s would like to know that Ollie often spoke very fondly of his time as a teacher there and of his old students as a collective. He always remembered and spoke of you during his years at View; you were important to him, even after you’d moved on.

    I was so saddened to hear Pete’s name being tarnished by cheap gossip as I knew it had to be, so, God bless all of you on here for setting right this important story about a truly great man whom we all cherished as out teacher and mentor. God bless you, Ollie.

    Reply
  12. Sam Davidson

    It’s funny, in these times of constant accusations, my thoughts always return to Ollie. I, like many other boys at riverview, was sent away from my family to board in the big smoke. It was Bohrs who was always there to take the leftovers out to Maccas on a Sunday or to Manly for a swim.
    I had him as my Latin teacher for 2 years, constantly referring to us as “the terminal Latin class” (we weren’t high achievers). Punishments consisted mainly of “the Sound of Music” re-runs!

    He was always there for us.

    Reply
  13. Brett

    I boarded under Peter’s supervision & ‘Ollie’ as he was referred to was never more than a kind guy that would take the lucky ones to Maccas in Lane Cove & organise the singing for mass..

    Reply
  14. Richard


    https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsI was lucky enough to have Mr Bohrsmann as a teacher during my time at Riverview. I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of his death and the circumstances surrounding this. That we could lose such an inspirational individual under such a dark cloud is a great tragedy. I have wanted to speak to a relative of Mr Bohrsmann since hearing of his death to let them know what I knew of him. A man of the highest integrity and class who put the school and all others before himself. He was brilliant teacher and he lived the school motto of ‘being a man for others’ .
    I have two strong memories of Mr Bohrsmann. The first was when i was in 3rd form. It was a Friday afternoon and was with six friends trying to impress girls at Chatswood station by smoking. Mr B saw us , gave me a look of incredible disappointment and walked off. Monday Morning cam around slowly and sure enough Mr B asked to see me in the Formasters office. He then told me to get the six stupid friends i had and meet him in the Rose Garden at lunchtime where we would mix ‘terror with tranquility’. My friends and i assembled at the Rose Garden at lunch and Mr B took us for a stroll through the Rose gardens telling us how we had let ourselves and the school down by smoking in uniform, how smoking was so , so stupid and we needed to stop it immediately. We didn’t want to end up old and fat and out of breath, did we?( as a smoker he was old and fat and out of breathe from our walk through the garden) ? He then gave us Friday afternoon Penals for two weeks where we had to write essays on ‘the idiocy of smoking’.
    My other memory of Mr B was when i was at rowing camp at the start of 5th form. I remember it being late at night and i saw the light on him his office. I went in and spoke to him about the fact i wanted to leave school and ‘was sick of everything’. Mr B encouraged me to stay and put it in terms i could understand. He said ‘think of it like this, you are an athlete and you have just run 10 laps in a 12 lap race. You would not pull out of a race with just two laps to go would you?’ This doesn’t sound like a really compelling reason to stay at school but as a 16 year old it was exactly what i needed to hear to help me make the right choice.
    I am sad i never told Mr B what a wonderful influence he had on on life and how lucky i was to have him as a mentor.
    Thanks Mr B , we will never forget you .
    Richard O’Rourke

    Reply
    1. Gary Bourke


      https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsHello Richard,
      I am impelled by your ‘post’ on David’s site to comment / reply. I will let Peter’s brother Simon (resides in London) know of your ‘comment’; reflections of your time at school and so positive the impact Peter had on you! Your mention of him as an over weight, difficult to breathe type person did make me chuckle a little. Peter certainly had a huge problem managing his weight, and his pipe was a ‘pacifier’ for a man who, although put on a strong façade, was deeply shy and therefore nervous in many social gatherings. He was a man of unwavering faith. The so many times over those almost thirty years I knew him prior to his untimely death, he used ‘gentle’ give me his opinion of a God of mercy and a God of mystery; soaking up his theology, at these times, while I agued the injustices of our Church. Never did I actually win the discussion though Pete allowed me “many points” – I couldn’t compete. His fitness, prior to joining Riverview in 1981 was amazing. In 1977 I was studying and I entered into a regime of getting myself fir and losing weight; being younger than Peter, I really got into the jogging – which help me with my love of surfing. Peter saw ‘the change’, both physically and ‘anaerobically’, especially at Freshwater and Palmie, he decided to join me in a run……! Within months, then perhaps almost a year, Peter killed me on a jog from his unit at Manly Vale, over to Queenscliff to Manly Steyne, around to Shelly B., then back over to Manly pool – West Esplanade up to Fairlight – then prior to commencing our final section at Balgowlah down to Manly Vale, I was “stuffed” and said I needed to stop (for our first break!) Pete said stated through a calm ease of a voice:”Ok Gaz I’ll see you back at my unit for lunch”……….!! Well, when I returned, he was watching tele., coffee in hand, asking me in his typical ‘smart arse manner: You o.k.?”
      He loved his body surfing. He loved his work as a teacher and a mentor in boarding. He felt ‘View was his home and was shattered when he was handed notification stating that his so called profile no longer suited that of a ‘boarding master’. This was months prior to his death, though it became his first ‘demise’. He and I had kind of gone our separate ways several years prior to ’97, though he came to my wedding in early nineties, explaining that he won’t make the reception: “You know me Gaz, I’m more at easy in the water at Freshie…”. He left a message on my home answering system three weeks before he took his life on the foreshore, behind the boat shed – below the old stone steps; area he loved as a kid in rowing – not taking the rowing too seriously however did enjoy his cigs with his mates. He asked if Josephine and I would come to the College for evensong/compline and then following supper. He stated: “who knows Gaz when Riverview will ever hear such music again – perhaps never”. I cannot forget those words of Peter’s. He was a fine musician, an excellent organist and choir conductor. I didn’t go, as I had an important meeting as a school counsellor on the north shore with a parent, I actually could have postponed but I was kind of annoyed at Peter to the contact after I had repeatedly attempted to contact him. I was totally unaware of his deep depression he was then experiencing (chronic clin depression Pete suffered all his life). I never had the opportunity to speak to him again. after those three weeks, Peter was confronted by the ‘View admin to tell him that he needed to not be involved, as he was with the boarding community, due to an anonymously written letter stating things of concern to “child protection” – nothing more did Peter know or the College Admin. All official needed to act, investigate and follow procedures which apparently Peter knew, agreed and unhappily left this meeting. As we know all support was offered to Peter and knowing him as I did so well, I figured, as I attempted unravelling the events as I was o/s when all was put out there’ by the press, that Peter would have simply thought: “F^ck this, I’m over this earthly probation – I’m out of here”….. He told an old friend /. teacher the next day of receiving this that he was “going to end it all”. Well Pete did so on that next day, well evening of the Sunday the 1st June – probably waited until after midnight of the 2nd., as it was his sister Libby’s (Elizabeth) anniversary of her death – breast cancer – fifteen years prior to that date. The NSW coroner showed me a photo of Peter, after I proved my longtime friendship of him – showing his wallet his Mum, Margot had given me – with receipts still enclosed of materials he had purchased to connect to his car. Peter looked at absolute peace; no pain experienced and what ‘rang’ in my head full of sadness and also some anger was his words:”Sometimes a person takes their life… God calling them back…..Gaz”. Consoling words when a youth with whom I was working attempting to take his life though survived the attempt. Peter’s life’s work, although was not his ‘given brief’; as a teacher, a mentor, a boarding master / then Prefect of Boarders of his old school, was his focus in all his dealings when he saw / realized a young person was in desperate need. He would have seen this in David, the author of his incredibly thought provoking and ‘human’ blogs – as he did in thousands of students and ex-students: he went beyond “the boundaries of care” and took on the consequences – unlike the many other colleagues he shared a school with over his working time. After all these years – TWENTY on June 2nd of this year, I recently was told, now probably three years back, that a “jealous colleague” of his purposely wrote that letter to the GITS police team in Chatswood to injure his reputation – which the bible calls ‘calumny’. If you Richard and any others would like to meet at Peter’s grave on the day of his 20th anniversary, I hope to be there with my wife and a mutual mate of Pete’s and mine – and Augustinian.
      Regards,
      Gary Bourke.
      info@garybourke.com

      Reply
  15. pat

    God bless you Ollie……….Your presence at Riverview, and the young students you came in contact with, very very much added to the fact that we turned into good young men. I thank God that my time on earth coincided with that of yours
    .
    pat

    Reply

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