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CLAIRVAUX PAGE


The anecdotes on this page were written in 1969 by Bro Leo Beasley (Ex-Teacher, Ex-Principal and Patron)



IN THE BEGINNING

7th December 1947 the Junior College "Clairvaux" - to house primary boarders plus day-pupils from around the area was completed on the present site. It was built to contain 80 resident students (boarders) from 4th grade to 6th grade. It had poor facilities for a new building - due to financial restraints and war-time restrictions.

Pre-Clairvaux days - a number of houses..."Coughlins" - provided staff quarters in De La Salle days at the rear of the building. Also, with this house were a number of fowl-house runs on the approximate site of the present building.

THE GROTTO

The stone work and Grotto are the work of a retired Brother - one Bro Silverius R.I.P. - a former stonemason before joining the De La Salle Congregation in Ireland. He shaped and rolled into position every stone on the property. The retaining wall at the rear of the building was his pride and joy. Brother at this time was in his late 60's. He died in Blue Mountains District Anzac Memorial Hospital May 4, 1964 and is buried in the Brothers' Cemetery at Oakhill College Castle Hill.

The concrete road from the main gate - Golf Links Entrance - to the lower gate - Scenic Railway is the work of the Trainee Brothers over a Christmas period in 1950. The stormwaters were excessive and drains had to be constructed under the present buildings to carry away seepage prior to the somewhat shaped road just below the Scenic Drive at the back on the main building.

THE POOL

The swimming pool is "historic" (?). A Lithgow Contractor - Mr Brown - built it and five springs fed the water supply to it. This supply dwindled later on due to the Council sewerage pipeline interferring with the natural spring flow. To Mr Brown's credit this was observed by him and for years adequate water poured into the well to then be pumped into the pool. Later on it was pointed out by the Council that the pool was in the centre of two roads - they had approved the Project long before it was noted that Ficus and Acacia Streets join in the centre of the pool!

To preserve the pool, land had to be exchanged and an auxiliary drainage system via a pipeline had to be financed by the Brothers along the edge of Violet Street. Later decisions of the Crown Law Department showed that this expense was not the burden of the Brothers...but there the matter was allowed to rest.

THE OVAL

The untouched oval area covered in blackberry briars was a natural drainage system but bulldozers (an early use of them at the time) plus blasting made the area a proper sporting Oval. The goal posts have now disappeared and must have been extremely difficult to remove and install at the "Academy" Lithgow - a De La Salle day school - as they had purposely been well and truly cemented into position by me against this happening.

THE NAME

The name "Clairvaux" over the main gates is a natural when you consider that the Merriwa Street Property was called "St Bernard's". The mountains probably suggested to the founders "St Bernard's" due to the climate, mist and snow experienced by St Bernard himself an old monk of very much pre-Reformation days who lived in 1090. This St Bernard founded his first monastery and called it "Clairvaux" and he is buried there having died in 1153.

THE MOTTO

The College Motto was the same as St Bernard's College as the junior residents and day pupils naturally looked to Merriwa Street for the completion of their education and they took part in all sporting activities as the junior section of St Bernard's College Katoomba.

The Motto, or watch word, was Sola Nobilitas Virtus virtue or manliness only is noble, or more simply put, be a man.

A great part of myself is still in "Clairvaux".


The photos on this page were contributed by David Grant (Old Boy).




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