The home movies of Monsignor Bartholomew Frawley

Monsignor Bartholomew Frawley (1904-2002) was born near Toowoomba and spent a few years as a teacher before entering the seminary. He was ordained as a priest in 1930. Following service as a RAAF chaplain during World War Two, he was posted to Scarborough as priest for St Bernadette's parish in 1946 and set about building a church and schools. Over the next few decades, the parish schools expanded to include De La Salle College, Frawley College, Soubirous College and St Bernadette's Primary School.

Monsignor Frawley, his dogs Tom and Sue and his Messerschmitt car, ca. 1962. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Monsignor Frawley, his dogs Tom and Sue and his Messerschmitt car, ca. 1962. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Monsignor Frawley had a keen interest in film and made hundreds of home movies across three decades. He meticulously documented the gradual expansion of the parish schools as well as events associated with the schools and the changing landscape around Scarborough. His vast body of work was unfortunately destroyed some years ago, however the State Library of Queensland has recently acquired two reels of 16mm film created by Msgr Frawley to document the history of St Bernadette's parish. These have now been digitised.

Moving the St Martins presbytery building, 1950s. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Moving the St Martins presbytery building, 1950s. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

The films were cut together using Msgr Frawley's own footage as well as still photographs. Reel 1 documents the history of the St Bernadette's parish schools from 1946 to 1968, reel 2 from 1968 to 1982.

Students of St Bernadette's primary school, 1973. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Students of St Bernadette's primary school, 1973. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Without inspection, these films seem like little more than a good document of local school history, however they are much more than this. The films are narrated throughout by Msgr Frawley in a voice akin to newsreel presenters of old. His unique but thorough narration and occasional dry humour are accompanied by a sentimental orchestral soundtrack giving the films a strong sense of nostalgia. This, along with the washed out colour and relatively quick editing and changing of scenes give the films quite a hypnotic quality and they prove surprisingly easy to watch.

Children on the future site of St Bernadette's Primary School, ca. 1966. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Children on the future site of St Bernadette's Primary School, ca. 1966. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

The films are invaluable from a local history perspective, showing the changing landscape around Scarborough, both as a result of the expanding schools and simply due to development and the passing of time. The uncanny ability of Msgr Frawley to name nearly every person that passes in front of the camera makes the movies excellent family history resources as well. There is also a lot of valuable social history contained within.

Band performing at Soubirous - De La Salle ball night, 1970. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Band performing at Soubirous - De La Salle ball night, 1970. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Gathering of students, Feb. 1970. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Gathering of students, Feb. 1970. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

For a school history, the footage proves quite diverse. In addition to scenes of the construction of new buildings and school activities there is also footage of visiting dignitaries such as Jan Taylor - Miss Australia 1964, Archbishop Duhig, Joh Bjelke Petersen and the seemingly unimpressed Australian Rugby League team.

Miss Australia 1964, Jan Taylor, pays a visit. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Miss Australia 1964, Jan Taylor, pays a visit. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

The films occasionally stray away from Scarborough as well, taking in events at the Brisbane exhibition grounds, street parades on the peninsula and even a school excursion to Marineland at Surfers Paradise.

Corpus Christi procession at Brisbane exhibition grounds, 1962. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Corpus Christi procession at Brisbane exhibition grounds, 1962. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Monsignor Frawley clearly had an acquaintance with a helicopter via which he filmed regular aerial footage of the schools and the broader peninsula, giving a great bird's eye view of the changing landscape. He also seemed to have a cherry picker at hand to get regular elevated shots over school assemblies and events.

Looking north west over the peninsula, ca. 1964. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Looking north west over the peninsula, ca. 1964. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Students of the four St Bernadette's schools assembled, early 1970s. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Students of the four St Bernadette's schools assembled, early 1970s. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

The movies can now be viewed on the State Library of Queensland's One Search catalogue.

A dog in a boat being towed by a dolphin, Marineland, Gold Coast, ca. 1968. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

A dog in a boat being towed by a dolphin, Marineland, Gold Coast, ca. 1968. Accession 30700 Monsignor Frawley motion pictures. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

R. Hillier - Original Materials Librarian, State Library of Queensland

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Fantastic memories, I started at Soubirous convent in 1959 and finished at Frawley college in 1971. I was in the swimming team , the bugle and brass bands, the Gilbert and Sullivan concerts, played in the band at most of the openings in the 60's and the Chorpus Christi processions, Anzac day marches on the peninsula as well thank you for making this wonderful set of clips. I hope there are more to come :)

I was lucky enough to attend the schools from 1=12. I knew Monsignor Frawley very well. What a great model for the Christian spirit, he always use to pat my head and call me Goldilocks, I remember his sermons and his kind heart.

I was in your class at school Mark and lived in Bunton st, I ran into your father at Father Frawley funeral in 2002! So many memories!

These films bring back great memories of our school holidays spent at Queens Beach and attending St Bernadettes for Sunday mass. Also the Scarborough Fun Fairs that Mons Frawley ran.

The site gives the impression that St Bernadette's primary school was founded much later than was actually the case. I started school there in 1951 and it was well established then. The building is still standing as part of a housing estate - I am sure there would be a foundation stone which will confirm the date.

I remember the day "Blessed Martin's" was moved across from one side of the property to the other - mainly because it left wheel ruts in the bitumen of the playground. (The contractor was Mark Smoothy.)

I started grade 4 at Saint Bernadette's 1966, Then Soubirous College and finished grade 12 at Frawley College in 1975.
Mons Frawley was a most humble man. We had 11 children in our family and he helped us immensely. My father Ernest even worked for Mons, designing and building the original grade 11 and 12 classrooms at Frawley College. How sad that his movies were destroyed. His movies were a big part of speech night every year.....I remember them well. I was in the Photo of the grades of Saint Bernadette's in 1970. I remember the effort that went into a Corpus Christi that was held on the De La Salle college oval on Easter. In his latter years my mother Elsie and I would visit Mons often. I even collected him and took him to join the Class of 75 Reunion at the Scarborough Bowls Club. He had a brilliant mind and dedicated his life to serving God and by helping everyone that he ever met. I still try hard to give my full 5%.
God Bless him.......... He will always be remembered.