Peter Ireland graduated from UNE with a Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Education, and continued to advance his studies throughout an impressive career in education. Today, Peter holds the position of Head: Governance, Policy & Risk and Company Secretary in the Executive Director’s office of Sydney Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney. Never forgetting his UNE roots, Peter is an original member of the annual Sydney Alumni ‘Albies’ reunion; a gathering which has grown from 6 to 250 attendees in its 29 years running.
Peter enrolled at UNE to continue his love of French, satisfy his appetite for philosophy, and to increase his knowledge of industrial relations and economics. ‘The [Economics] Faculty had an experienced academic staff, some of whom had come from Sydney's sandstone universities ... I often scored part time work on my lecturer's acreage.’ As a resident of St Albert’s College, Peter enjoyed the thriving university community and participated in a variety of college sporting events. ‘Inter-college sport gave us all the opportunity to meet and make lifetime friends and start a great professional network.’ These sporting achievements provided a pathway to NSW & Australian selection in Rugby and Athletics, which has remained a part of Peter’s life throughout his career. ‘In addition, the Economics Faculty welcomed my dog "Cobber" to lectures along with a couple of kelpies. I liked the inclusivity!’
"In a capital city, you couldn’t fit as much into a week as we all seemed to do in Armidale."
Career and Achievements
In his years as a teacher, Peter taught Economics, Geography and Studies of Religion. As his career in Catholic schooling progressed, he held a variety of positions, from Faculty Coordinator and Studies Coordinator to Deputy Headmaster and Principal. In addition to teaching, he sat on the CSSA Economics Examination Panel for seven years and spent five years as a HSC marker. Community engagement has always been a focus for Peter. In 1994 he became Chairman of St Agnes Parish Council, and was awarded a State Government Citation for his services to young people in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Throughout 1998 and 1999 Peter led street retreats for Sydney’s homeless, and in 2008 he acted as the Site Manager for 10,000 World Youth Day pilgrims at the Homebush Accommodation Centre.
"The unique set of geographical and demographic circumstances [at UNE] nurtured a real resilience among almost all."
Sporting and Charity
Since his days as an Albies rugby player, Peter has represented Australian Universities in Rugby Union and Athletics, earning University Sportsman of the Year in 1976 and a University Blue in 1978. From 2008 to 2011, Peter won the Gold medal at the Australian Masters Athletics Championships in both the 400m hurdles / 110m hurdles events. In 2009 he won the gold medal at the World Championships in the 400m hurdles in new record time. In the same year he placed second for his age in the Sydney Centrepoint Tower charity race, being the highest fundraiser with over $35,000.00 for deaf and blind children. He has won the Balmoral Burn – Sydney’s steepest Hill Sprint - on six occasions for his age, raising funds for the Humpty Dumpty Foundation which contributes over $3.3million annually to children’s hospitals. Never forgetting his commitment to community, Peter was the highest individual fundraiser across Sydney in 2014 and 2015.
Author: Zoe Sutherland
UNE Office of Advancement
Ph: 02 6773 2870