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from SACOBU arrogant. He could laugh at himself, but what’s more, he could Weybridge, Surrey. In his time based in the UK, Tom travelled make you laugh at yourself. Such was his manner and charm. across Europe, visiting Ireland, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, As the fifth in the line to be named Tom Doolan he had Montenegro, Croatia and more. He shared these adventures an implicit understanding of the importance of heritage and with many of his “old” friends from school as well as many family. He loved his parents Tom and Janette, adored his sister new friends made in his time in the UK. His love of sport was Georgia and spoke of them all often. There was nothing more contented while overseas, as he found time for Wimbledon, important than family and Tom knew this instinctively. It was The Wallabies and the World Rugby 7s. Not to forget his this attitude that allowed Tom to so easily forge relationships Basketball, he would be seen walking about in his Nike Tom and he amassed friends wherever he went. Not only within the Doolan 7s, the custom shoes he had designed in the UK. Aloysius community, Tom was known and beloved by people Tom responsibilities as a teacher’s aide and sports assistant from all over Sydney, whether he met them through sport, on the at St George’s College Junior School saw him build an intense town, or on the 7:34 am train from Turramurra each morning. rapport with the students and staff, who thought of him less as Travelling abroad, he was a much sought-after companion and a Gappie or a teacher, but as a friend. Tom knew each child anchor of the ‘Weybridge Family’ – the gappies in the area individually – an unbelievable feat in a school of six hundred. who became something of a surrogate family as they all dealt On hearing of his passing, the children he had so inspired with the adjustments of a year away from home. contributed to a memorial book, where he was described as the one we could talk to about anything or the teacher who It is impossible to recall Tom without recalling the passion gave homework but purposefully never checked it. It’s not and intensity with which he approached his sport. As hard to ascribe these reflections to Tom, they reflect his knack vice-captain of the St Aloysius’ College 1st V Basketball his for understanding individuals and treating them in a manner manner of leadership was less focused on talk than on action. that endeared them to him. Many of the kids said their first In the final home game of his 2009/10 season, Tom led the nicknames came from Tom and in this, they will always have a 1st V to overcome Barker College in the final moments with point of reference by which to remember him. his magical fast break. He was a performer regardless the circumstances, one of his most memorable games came in a Tom’s was thrilled to don the Old Boys tie in the UK when losing battle against CAS Champions Trinity Grammar School he attended his first St Aloysius Old Boys Reunion in London when Aloys found themselves scoreless at the end of the first in November, 2011. His love and respect for his school was quarter. The team’s heads were down, worse still was the crowd reflected in the fact that Tom made a point of speaking to each who found it difficult to watch, let alone cheer. It was situations and every Old Boy in attendance, whether they graduated in like these where Tom thrived. He carried the ball down court, 2010 or 1910. found himself guarded by their Australian representative centre It is difficult to encapsulate the diversity of Toms experiences and still charged, driving not only past but through the man to in words, the only apt way to capture them would be to score and bring the crowd to their feet. In this sense, Tom was describe them as the gappies did on coming home. The twelve a natural leader: he understood the significance of hard work, months abroad were ‘a life in a year’ for Tom. just as he knew the importance of leading by example and not Looking back, elements of Tom’s personality appear to be being bogged down by talk and empty gestures. As a mark of at odds. How could someone so laidback be so passionate? respect, Tom’s singlet number, number 7, has been retired by How did that cheeky smile we were all so accustomed to the College and will not be worn again. His 1st V singlet has hide the ferocious warrior who emerged on the sporting field? been framed and hangs in Dalton Hall. Hence, when recalling Tom, it’s difficult to settle upon a single Tom represented the College in 2010s most successful image. For some, the memory that prevails is him on the Rugby side: the 3rd XV, or The Fifteen as it became known. basketball court: intensely focused, a perfectionist incapable It was Tom who led the team in their pre-match chant and of giving less than his very best. For others, they see the Tom who was most vocally supportive of the team’s scheme man as he was on his year abroad in Europe: fun loving and to illegally commission a jersey in the style of the 1st XV’s old relaxed, yet also rising to the responsibilities afforded to him as attire. His on-field performances always overshadowed this a member of the St George’s community. For me, it would be off-field flair, however, with him always distinguishing himself Tom as he was at his farewell: energised by the company of his as a dangerous force in the air and around the ruck. family and friends, anticipating the boundless, irreplaceable As a member of the College Cadet Unit throughout his experiences that lay ahead. Each of these images capture secondary years, Tom was the Corporal in charge of the only one facet of a man who meant many different things to Engineers, a platoon whose popularity spiked on account of the people who knew him. But if you asked a group to define his presence. His approachable nature magnetised the younger Tom, their descriptions would be united by a single truth: cadets to his Platoon. They knew that with Tom in charge, He made us better. Tom brought out the best in everyone he they would have fun. The annual cadet camps were always encountered. We are all better for knowing Tom and blessed highlights and the mateship and camaraderie with his fellow for the experience of his friendship. He will be missed greatly, cadets meant much to him. The final passing out parade and as a loving and respected son, an adored brother and a true graduating dinner, all dressed in their formal ‘whites’, was a friend to many; however, his influence will always endure. memorable occasion of his Cadet time at Aloys. A true Aloysian, a man for others. After graduating, Tom embarked on a Gap Year, Peter Walsh (SAC 2010) undertaking a teaching position at St George’s College, 2010 School Captain St Aloysius’ College A Jesuit School for Boys _ Founded 1879 a l oy s i a d / page 78


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