A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Br Colin Campbell SM

Colin Campbell was born at Cessnock NSW on 27 April 1922. His father owned a draper shop. He was the elder of two brothers. His mother died of an allergic reaction when he was five years old and his brother three years. Colin’s father took the two boys to Sydney to their aunts’ boarding house. The two boys were sent to school at the Mercy Sisters in Redfern. In 1930, the family having moved to Randwick, they commenced at Marcellin College, Randwick. 

In 1937, in the depression years, Colin left school to work as the family needed the money. He became a telephonist in the Post Office. In 1939 Australia declared war and Colin joined the Air Force as an aircrew trainee, but his entry was deferred as he was only seventeen and there was a long delay in training aircrew. At the age of eighteen he was called up by the Army and became a signaler in the artillery. After training in Queensland the unit was sent to the Ramu valley in New Guinea, then later to Bougainville. There he was wounded and carried out by natives who saved his life. Evacuated to Australia he returned to the Post Office and became a clerk in the Public Service. 

Colin was active in his parish at Coogee but having decided to return to New Guinea he became a keen yachtsman and diesel engine student to fit himself to become a captain for the mission ship. He entered the Society of Mary at Armidale in 1951, asking to be sent to the missions. He was put in charge of the farm until novitiate, and after profession on 28 April 1953, again on the farm. In 1956 Br Colin was sent to Geelong as farm manager, disappointed at not going to the missions. However in 1960 he was sent to the Solomon Islands. He took over the sawmill after the Brother in charge had an accident. After five years he was sent to Honiara as plantation manager and assistant to the procurator 

In 1967 Br Colin was appointed assistant novice master in Fiji and in 1969 was sent to Suva to assist in the seminary. He was there until 1998. He went to Sydney, was treated for melanoma and lived at Oceania House, Hunters Hill, during which time he commenced a weekly pastoral ministry at the courtyard coffee shop of St Patrick’s inner-city shrine, Sydney, walking every Tuesday from Hunters Hill to the City. 

In 2008, at the age of 86, he returned to the Australian Province and later joined the Maryvale/Montbel community at Hunters Hill where he lived until moving to Southern Cross Aged Care, Marsfield, shortly before his peaceful death on 18 April 2021. He was the oldest member of the Australian Province of the Society of Mary and went to the Lord nine days before his 99th birthday. May he rest in well-deserved peace.  

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