‘I felt like a professional beggar‘ – Joe Curr on working for the Joint Appeal
Education for Women
There was a time when fund raising in corporate philanthropy was not a career, at least not in the church. Everything was done voluntarily. In 1949, my father, Joe Curr, worked for the Joint Colleges Appeal at the University of Queensland.
My parents, Tina and Joe, had just had their first child, Pamela. Dad later said that he disliked the job at the Joint Appeal because he ‘felt like a professional beggar’.
Like the other colleges at UQ, Duchnese Women’s College was built in the 1950s with the money raised through a philanthropic appeal together with government subsidy. Dad was Archbishop Duhig’s main man on the joint appeal along with Father Power who raised money for St Leo’s, the Catholic men’s college at UQ.
I wouldn’t call Joe Curr a holy roller but religion was a big part of his life. I remember when we were young Dad was approached by a priest at St Stephens to help a man find his sister … we, Pam, John and I, spent all day driving around in the car with the man looking for the sister. Mum was upset when we finally arrived home, it was dark and we had not eaten all day. We were only about 9 or 10 years old. Georgina was still a baby so she didn’t come.
Duhig the builder they called him. Unlike Mannix in Melbourne who had called for uprising of the working class in the 1920s, Duhig was a conservative. James Duhig supported Italy’s invasion into Abyssinia. The UQ Senate named a tower after him in the Main Building. The Sacré-Cœur nuns wanted to build a college for women and they got Duhig’s support. I am not entirely sure how it came about that my father was involved but i do know he was involved in the Newman Society (he may have been its Queensland President at one time). The aim of the Newman Society was to encourage the education of Catholics, both men and women. Dad was a Franciscan, not a priest because he was married but in the lay order. He took this very seriously and said these long prayers called ‘an office’ and went to mass most days.
Anyway here he is accepting a donation from Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor Groom. All this was before the Catholic Church set up its own bank in Brisbane called the Archdiocesan Development Fund (the ADF) which was located at St Stephens.
14 May 2019
Articles from the Courier Mail, 1949 and 1954
£1,000 each to six Colleges
Cheques for £1000 each were presented to six Queens land University residential colleges for their building funds in Brisbane yesterday. The money represented the second dispersal by the College’s Joint Appeal Committee, which is seeking donations from business organisations and industries in the State. Each of the six colleges Emmanuel, St. John’s, King’s, St. Leo’s. Women’s, and Duchesne — has set a target of £100,000.
The State Government has agreed to subsidize amounts raised on a £ for £ basis. So far the appeal has been confined mostly to Brisbane and its Immediate district, but later it will be extended through the State. In four months £13,500 has been given or promised to the appeal. A committee spokesman said yesterday that college endowments and bequests in south ern States were far more frequent than in Queensland.
Nation’s youth will benefit by J. R. KEMP, Coordinator-General of Public Works and Member of the University Senate.
In a recent article in the Courier-Mail on the vital part of Universities in civilisation Archbishop Duhig explained the need for the establishment of residential colleges. This need has been recognised by the University Senate, which planned the lay-out of the St. Lucia grounds so that six splendid sites on the southern boundary have been reserved for the affiliated colleges.
This is not only to meet the need of students, but also to preserve the ideal of communal life within the University itself.
The college sites which will be allotted on an extended lease, with provision for renewal, face the Brisbane River, and are close to the main University centre, and to well established University sports grounds.
‘Take true place’
The total college area is more than 31 acres, and fronts the river boulevard leading through University grounds to the site of the projected bridge it St. Lucia. When this bridge is built [NB: this took nearly 70 years], the University will be within 15 minutes’ travel of the centre of Brisbane, and will take its true place in the civic, economic, and cultural life of the community. To ensure that the College Buildings shall be a worthy part of this architectural concern; the Government has promised a £ for £ grant up to £50.000 for each College, and has decided that a condition sf subsidy shall be that the plans, specifications, and estimates shall be submitted to the Coordinator-General of Public Works, who will report thereon.
The State Government has agreed to subsidize amounts raised on a £ for £ basis. So far the appeal has been confined mostly to Brisbane and its Immediate district, but later it will be extended through the State. In four months £13,500 has been given or promised to the appeal. A committee spokesman said yesterday that college endowments and bequests in southern States were far more frequent than in Queensland.
For some years the colleges have been making individual appeals for building funds to individual members of the community. In addition, during the last six months the colleges have combined in a joint appeal to business and industrial interests. Although the total sum required is large, men of vision will welcome the opportunity of participating in a scheme of such historic significance.
The cost of modern colleges might be more than £500,000, but their value to the youth of the nation, men and women, will be incalculable.
University Colleges Fund now at £67,724
The following article appeared in Brisbane’s Courier Mail on 2 Feb 1954: