The Southern Cross The Southern Cross

Read the latest edition. Latest edition

Lucy's long service to education


Lucy Brodie was a fresh-faced 16 year old straight out of Year 11 at Mary MacKillop College when she first began working at the Catholic Education Office (CEO) in 1976.

Print article

A Josephite Sister at the college had suggested she apply for the job of ‘office junior’ and after an interview with director John McDonald and the ‘office manageress’ she joined the staff of 12 at Fennescey House, Wakefield Street.

Forty seven years later, the CEO’s longest serving staff member retired last month from her position of recruitment officer with the Human Resources department.

Over that time Lucy has undertaken a variety of positions – from printer to director’s secretary and office/site manager – while witnessing the growth of the CEO to 220 staff today.

“I remember my first day of work so clearly,” Lucy said.

“I was so nervous but the staff made me feel so welcome and comfortable…it was a very intimate and family-like environment where everyone looked out for each other.

“I have seen an enormous amount of change, working under six different directors in the Adelaide Archdiocese and five directors in the Diocese of Port Pirie.”

One of the highlights of her career was in May 2000 when she was made one of the Catholic representatives of an Association for Educational Support Workers across government, Catholic and independent schools. A two-day inaugural conference was held in Adelaide to kickstart the Educational Workers Association and provide networking opportunities for members.

Jane Swift, the then coordinator of Human Resources who later became director, was her biggest role model at the Catholic Education Office.

“I studied at TAFE for a certificate and then a diploma in human resources,” Lucy said.

Lucy and Kevin Brodie at the farewell

“She (Jane) patiently guided me along the way and taught me all the practices that I know and still use to this day.

“I have met some very special people and life-long friends along the way, not only in the office but also out in schools.”

Sadly, one of her closest colleagues, Isabella, died in 2007 at the age of 47.

Lucy worked full time for 45 years and two years .6 FTE.

“Because I’ve had so much variation in different roles and enjoyed new challenges, as well as my work colleagues, many of whom have become life-long friends, I never wanted to seek work elsewhere,” she said.

Raised by parents with an Italian heritage who had a strong Catholic faith, she has four brothers and two sisters who all went to Catholic primary and secondary schools.

“I had a wonderful childhood and am blessed to have such amazing parents who are my greatest role models and of course my beautiful siblings who are always there for me, whether it be in person or on the phone,” she said.

“It was with heavy heart in deciding to bring to a close my professional working career but this will allow me to spend valuable time with my mother as well as helping out my children by looking after the grandchildren and spending more time with family and my dear friends.”

Lucy said she would miss the “daily interaction and smiling faces of many people, the laughter and stories and many morning teas celebrating birthdays, engagements, weddings and so on”.

Director of Catholic Education SA, Dr Neil McGoran, said Lucy’s retirement was a significant event in the life of the CEO. He thanked Lucy for her “unwavering commitment to the thousands of Catholic education colleagues and students” over the past five decades.

“Supporting staff in a professional and kind way has been the hallmark of Lucy’s work and there is no doubt that Lucy’s service orientation has made a positive impact on those around her,” he said.


More People stories

Loading next article