The Governor General of Australia, His Excellency General The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove have paid a very special visit to his old school St Francis of Assisi Regional Catholic Primary School, Paddington.
“It’s remarkable for me to look at you and imagine myself sitting in those pews about as young as you are now – I certainly didn’t look as tidy as you are,” said His Excellency.
Standing on the altar, he told the school community gathered in the adjacent parish church that he had never been given the pulpit before.
“I’m delighted to see that your primary school is one of the very best primary schools in NSW – and because we’re proud of our state let’s say it’s one of the best schools in Australia,”
“You’re doing a fabulous job,” he said to the Principal, Acting Principal and teachers.
“I am an example of someone who had a good schooling, a loving schooling here and then at high school, had no idea of where life would take me, but when I look back I wouldn’t have swapped a day,” His Excellency told the students.
Their Excellencies took part in a special liturgy, then afterwards His Excellency answered questions from seven students – one representing Kindergarten and each Year.
He told Victoria (Year 2) his favourite subject at school was English, especially reading poetry.
In response a question, from Nicholas (Year 5) His Excellency said his favourite memory of school was footy practice in the park and being coached by one of the Sisters of Charity who taught at the school.
“We did our school work but we liked to burn off a bit of energy – so running around is a good school activity,” he said.
The retired senior army officer told Hugo (Year 4) that when he was at school he thought he might be a teacher or a policeman.
“Sometimes I thought I might be a soldier, because my father was a soldier and my grandfather had been a soldier, so that was always there in the background,” he added.
Eleni (Year 5) was told that his role models at school were cricketers and footballers – “because boys think that way”.
“It would be lovely to say it was someone who did wonderful and inspirational things for the world… But then, Richie Benaud, those sort of people, were my role models,”
He told Grace (Year 6) that his next life goal after being Governor-General was a long rest.
“When my wife and I retire, we want to take some overseas travel – I want to be a little less busy so I’m much more available to my kids, their partners and wives and my grandchild. It would be good to know them a bit better.”