|19 Sep 2022
|Alumni Families Profiles
The first of the Gillespies to attend John’s was Michael Gillespie (John’s 1974-1978), who enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney in 1974, after completing his secondary schooling at St Ignatius’ College, Riverview in 1973.
The Gillespie family was based in Queanbeyan NSW, where their father Don (himself a graduate of the Sydney University Faculty of Medicine) was a much-admired GP for nearly fifty years.
During his time in John’s, Michael had the singular good fortune to be a Fresher in 1974, the only year thus far that the College won the Rawson Cup. The celebration dinner conducted in honour of that remarkable occurrence became the stuff of legend, though the details can be recounted elsewhere!
It was a truly glorious occasion, with huge numbers of Johnsmen coming from all over Australia (and from even further afield) to honour this unique triumph.
In that glorious year, the College won the cricket, swimming, rugby and athletics competitions, with solid finishes in rowing, shooting and tennis to ensure overall victory.
During his time in John’s, Michael represented the College 1st XV in two winning rugby Rawson Cup-winning campaigns (‘76 and ’77) and was a member of the House Committee.
He also served on the Intercollege social committee and was elected to the Board of the SUSU (Sydney University Sports Union) in 1976.
The next Gillespie to attend John’s was Michael’s brother David Gillespie (1976-1980), who left St Ignatius’ College in 1975, and also enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine in 1976. David’s close friend and fellow old Ignatian Tony Abbott was a fresher in the same year.
David and Michael were both students in the Clinical School at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) which adjoins the College, and both completed their early post graduate medical years through RPA and its associated hospital network.
Michael qualified as an orthopaedic surgeon (FRACS FAOrthA) in 1989 and practised in Canberra till his retirement at the end of 2021. He was President of the AOA (Australian Orthopaedic Association) in 2021.
David qualified as a gastroenterologist in the early 1990s and soon after, established a highly regarded specialist day surgery and endoscopy centre in Port Macquarie. For many years he was one of a very few specialist gastroenterologists between Newcastle and the Queensland border.
In September 2013, he had a major career change when he became the Federal member for the electorate of Lyne, representing the National Party. He served in a number of ministries in the Turnbull and Morrison governments and was recently re-elected for his fourth term in the Federal Parliament.
Tom Gillespie and Simon Gillespie
Michael’s two sons Thomas (2008-10) and Simon (2011-12) followed in their father’s footsteps to both St Ignatius’ and John’s.
Tom’s fresher year was 2008, and he was House President in 2010.He graduated with a degree in Liberal Studies and completed a postgraduate degree at UNSW the following year. He was very active in all aspects of College life – academic, cultural and sporting, and retains many lasting friendships from his time at John’s.
Isabelle Gillespie and Oliver Gillespie
Two of David’s children, Isabelle (2012-14) and Oliver (2014-16), have also both been successful undergraduate students at John’s in recent years, further deepening and strengthening the family connection to this historic centre of catholic scholarship.
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