2019-08-07 AUSTRALIA

Terence Heinrich

Terence Gregory Heinrich was born on 12 December 1945 in Moree NSW. His parents were Adella and William, a publican. He was the youngest of four children, one sister, Berneice, and two brothers, Vincent (RIP) and Edward (Ted – RIP). Like his brothers, Terry received his secondary education at St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill, where he was a noted athlete and debater. He commenced the Postulancy in January 1963 and received the habit on July 2. He took first vows twelve months later, as did his fellow novices (at Mittagong and Macedon) Peter Bourke, Jeff Crowe, Michael Herry, John Horgan, Des Howard, Pat Thompson, John Wells. He professed his Perpetual Vows in December 1969.

Terry was appointed Principal of Marcellin Junior College Enoggera at age 29. From that point he held significant leadership positions. He was founder of Mt Maria Senior College at Mitchelton, Headmaster of Marist College Canberra and Headmaster of Marist College Ashgrove. He was a Councillor for the Sydney Province on two separate occasions. He was a leader with creativity and integrity. He embraced innovation and pursued change and improvement. For example, he brought the House System to Canberra and Ashgrove in an attempt to ensure students were well known and had a strong sense of belonging. There were many other examples of his broad vision.

However, it was one of the motivating factors that led him to the work for which he will be most remembered: founding the La Valla School in Phnom Penh for disabled young people – initially at least many were victims of land mines. Between finishing in Canberra and commencing at Ashgrove, Terry worked in a Refugee Camp in Thailand. This led him to consider how he could make a positive difference in the lives of young people in Asia. Terry finished his term at Ashgrove in December 1996, and arrived in Cambodia at Easter 1997. Initially he observed and investigated, and then when he identified the needs he believed he could help address, he acted decisively. Over the succeeding 22 years the project he began has developed in scope and in reputation. It has been well supported by Brothers, Aid Agencies, Australian Marist Solidarity and many individual donors in Australia. Many regard it as a lighthouse ministry in our Marist world. Terry put his heart and soul into that school, those young people and his Cambodian colleagues.


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