Since 1986 Goold Hall at the Augustinian Order’s Villanova College in Brisbane, Australia has grandly served the students (now exceeding 1,200 male day pupils) as an auditorium and an indoor sports space. It was named in honour of James Alypius Goold O.S.A., the first Augustinian to serve in Australia, who arrived in 1838 and died there as the first Archbishop of Melbourne in 1886.
To celebrate recently the 175th anniversary of continuous Augustinian presence in Australia, Villanova both literally and metaphorically made Goold the central focus of a commemorative mural on an external wall of Goold Hall. Mr Jason Lane, Villanova’s Subject Area Coordinator for Middle/Senior Arts, supervised the project, and Fr Peter Wieneke O.S.A., College Chaplain, gave assistance.
The decision was made that as much of the project as possible would be the creativity and work of Villanova students. With this parameter in mind, for two weeks in November 2013 the College commissioned Pamela Denise as the Artist-in-Residence for the project. Pamela’s extensive work with communities in New South Wales and Queensland is well known, having completed over 150 public art projects since 1998.
More than twenty willing students from Year 7 to Year 11 were involved in a large mural project in the Arts Precinct under Goold Hall. Under Pamela’s guidance a sketch of the proposed mural was drawn, depicting Goold’s arrival in Australia, his involvement with the gold miners who at the Eureka Stockade participated in Australia’s only major citizens’ rebellion, Goold’s construction of St Patrick’s Cathedral that still serves the city of Melbourne; finally the mural acknowledges Fr Richard “Ben” O’Donnell O.S.A. as the leader of the Augustinian who established Villanova College in 1948, and who was the first Villanova Rector (Principal) from 1948 to 1958 inclusive.
Painting the sketch to the cement (“Besser”) bricks of the retaining wall brought the time required for the project to an estimated 200 hours. Written lightly along the mural are St Augustine’s words from Confessions: “You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You”.Mr Dennis Harvey, Villanova’s Principal, commented about the intention of the mural and its positive impact. He said, “The mural was commissioned as a visual expression commemorating 175 years of continuous ministry in Australia by Augustinian priests since the arrival of James Alypius Goold OSA in Sydney on 24th February 1838. It is our desire that the mural will serve as a lasting acknowledgment, reminder and reinforcement of the College’s abiding Augustinian heritage and spirituality. Already the mural has featured in our Open Day tours, drawing great interest and engagement from prospective parents and students alike.”
“Current students are drawn to the mural each day. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that Pamela Denise, our professional artist-in-residence for the project, was assisted by five Year Eleven Visual Art students. Each of these boys acted as a Student Project Leader, spending considerable portions of their own time designing and painting the mural with Pamela’s support and guidance.”
"All artists like their work to be displayed and appreciated by others. That’s why they paint. These five students, along with their teachers, have provided a mural of which they and the College are justifiably proud, not simply because of it quality but also because its subject speaks the restless hearts and minds of which St Augustine was well acquainted, and adolescent boys are well accustomed.”