Peter did his primary schooling under the Dominican Sisters at Semaphore, winning a scholarship to Rostrevor College where he completed his secondary education.
Joining the Dominican Friars at East Camberwell in Melbourne, he was professed in February 1958, studying for the priesthood in the Province’s House of Studies both there and in Sydney, and was ordained in January 1964.
After completing the then House of Studies qualification of Lectorate, he taught there for a year before being assigned to teach at Blackfriars Priory School in Adelaide from 1966 to 1971.
In 1972 he was elected provincial at the age of 33, completing a double term of office in 1980. From there he was called to Rome to serve as assistant to the master of the Order for the Asia Pacific region. This he did for five years under two successive masters.
Returning to Australia in 1986, Fr Peter undertook pastoral work in Canberra and Brisbane, and finally in Adelaide. He lived and worked at Hesed Christian Community at Magill for a number of years, where his tolerant and inclusive style was much appreciated; born undoubtedly of wide and difficult life experiences.
From Hesed he attended the regular monthly St Laurence’s Community meetings. He was also given the task of introducing postulants (first-stage vocations) joining the province to its constitutions, customs and way of life as preachers, spiced with notable characters from the past.
During the first term of each year when they lived at St Laurence’s he had weekly sessions with them, which they valued greatly. Fr Peter had a significant influence upon Dominican life and work in this region.
In 2016 he returned to live at St Laurence’s, preaching and continuing to offer Mass for various groups.
Seriously deteriorating health, borne with great patience and without complaint, saw him hospitalised and in rehabilitation from mid-2017 until his transfer to The Pines where he died peacefully within 24 hours of his arrival.
Fr Peter had great capacity to help others in their suffering. A retired Salvation Army Officer who had met him when both were posted to Brisbane wrote: “In my service I found Peter to be a beautiful Christian gentleman with such an ability to get alongside his fellow man to care and encourage them.”
He leaves his devoted sister Mrs Pauline Wilkinson as sole surviving family member.Jump to next article