English House is named after the late Monsignor John English. For those not already familiar with the man, he achieved a great deal during his years in the priesthood and had a significant impact on the College during the early days at Albion. The Library at Albion was named in his honour and this tradition carried over to the current Caboolture site. Monsignor John was born on 24 June 1897 in Tipperary, Ireland. He immigrated to Australia, arriving in sunny Brisbane in April 1925. It was during his time as parish priest of St Agatha’s at Clayfield that he became closely associated with St Columban’s.
Monsignor John frequently visited the College at Albion to run retreats, speak at major functions, provide advice and donate funds. Speaking of funds, he contributed at least $60,000 to the College over five years from 1963 and left half of his estate to the College on his death. Like most, Monsignor John enjoyed his downtime. He became very good friends with the Christian Brothers and would often join them on Christmas holidays at Tugan.
Not only did Monsignor John make a name for himself throughout Brisbane, he was recognised throughout Australia as a skilled orator, preacher, lecturer, scholar, educator and conversationalist. He was in high demand as a speaker at Catholic functions and throughout the Diocese.
Monsignor John passed away on Easter Sunday 14 April 1969 in the presbytery at Clayfield. The Catholic leader described him as “one of the most distinguished, respected and affectionately regarded priests in Australia, and an eminent member of a group of Irish-born clergy who have laboured outstandingly and rewardingly in the Australian church”. At every English House assembly, House Captains and Vice-Captains lead students in a brief reflection on one of the many special qualities of Monsignor John. His legacy is far from forgotten and is used as a source of inspiration for the members of the mighty Blue English House.
Through various fundraising initiatives English House attempts to raise awareness of various social justice issues. With Intrahouse PC competitions to raise funds for charities or the clothing drive to help provide clothes for the less fortunate during winter, students demonstrate their compassion for others regularly throughout the year. Our biggest fundraising activity of the year is the annual 'Buddy Auction', where students bid for teachers to be their 'buddy' for the day. There is a little embarrassment on the teacher’s behalf but all for a good cause. This day regularly raises in excess of $1500, which is donated to the Rural Fire Brigade.
Students of English House are able to represent the House by becoming members of the Blue Brigade. Here students will meet throughout the year to help plan various activities, assist with fundraising and carnivals. The Blue Brigade members support the students and House Coordinators and play an active role in a number of House events. Being a part of Blue Brigade earns these students a cocurricular point and supports English House in a proactive way.