It is located on the grounds of Rupertswood Mansion. Set up by the Salesian Society when the mansion and its grounds were sold to them in 1927, it was originally an all-boys boarding school. In the 1950s it began admitting day students as well as catering for boarders. After Sunbury grew in the 1980s the school began to welcome girls to the school and by 1997 it had become fully co-educational and stopped student boarding.
Rupertswood is one of the largest houses constructed in Victoria and, although now subdivided, has significant farm land. The estate also had its own private railway station and artillery battery. It is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
The school has a very wide curriculum ranging from agriculture to visual communications. It has its own sporting facilities including a 25m swimming pool, a large stadium, a cross-country equestrian course and full-size football ground facilities. The closure of the railway station, as well as the abandonment of the school's VCE Drama and Agricultural units have proved a controversial issue amongst parents and students in the past years.
Past Pupils Association
The Past Pupils Association is the alumni association of Rupertswood for all students since its foundation in 1927. This Association networks with the other Salesian Past Pupils Associations in Australia and around the world. The group aims to foster and cultivate a continuing association with the College and to build on the networks and friendships developed over the years.
Sexual Abuse Claims
During the 1970's and 1980's a number of sexual abuse crimes occurred at Rupertswood that were later brought to public attention. Following police investigation and criminal trial a number of past brothers and priests were brought to justice with successful convictions being achieved including substantial jail terms.
Cases Resulting in Conviction and Jail:
Father Frank Klep Father Frank Gerard Klep, of the Salesian order, Victoria, 5 years 10 months jail, with parole after 3 years 6 mths (after an appeal by the prosecution on behalf of the victims, April 2006, replacing previous sentence in 2005 of 1-3 yrs jail); also had a 9 mths jail sentence in 1994, which he served in community work.
Father David Rapson Father David Edward Rapson (born 30 July 1953), a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco, was sentenced in 1992 to two years jail after pleading guilty to five incidents of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old boy at Salesian College, "Rupertswood", in Sunbury, Victoria, where Rapson was a vice-principal. At the time of his trial, Rapson was living on a Salesian property at Lysterfield, in Melbourne's south-east, and was still being supported by the Salesians. In 1993, four former students from the Sunbury school began civil action for damages against the Salesian Fathers, alleging that the Salesians tolerated and concealed Rapson's activities, thereby putting students at risk. Fr Rapson has since been expelled from the Order
Cases Resulting in the church signing a Civil Settlement:
Father Julian Fox In 2000, a Catholic order of priests in Australia (the Salesians of Don Bosco) made a settlement with a Melbourne man (Luke, born in 1964). According to the settlement deed (of which Broken Rites has a copy), Luke alleged that "over a period of time between 1978 and 1979, whilst a student at Salesian College, Rupertswood, Sunbury [Melbourne], he was unlawfully sexually and/or physically assaulted by Fr Fox". In 2006, six years after the settlement, Luke died, aged 42. Father Fox is now serving his sentence in Gaol
Father Peter Paul van Ruth Melbourne Magistrates Court on 23 July 2010, Peter Paul van Ruth pleaded guilty concerning incidents that occurred in 1969 while he worked as a Catholic religious Brother at Salesian College "Rupertswood" (a secondary school at Sunbury, near Melbourne). The school was operated by the Salesians of Don Bosco religious order. Van Ruth, who was born on 5 July 1946, was charged with indecent assaults against two boys. Van Ruth pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault upon a male which included the penetration of a child.
When Transferred to South Australia van Ruth taught for a while at Ridley Grove Primary School in suburb of Woodville - where is offending continued.
Father John/Jack Ayers In 2000, a Catholic order of priests in Australia (the Salesians of Don Bosco) made a settlement with a Melbourne man (Michael, born in 1953). According to the settlement deed, Michael alleged that "over a period of time between 1967 and 1968, whilst a student at Salesian College, Rupertswood, Sunbury [Melbourne], he was unlawfully sexually and/or physically assaulted by Fr Ayers".
☀Ayers died in Samoa in 2012, aged 83.
Father Frank de Dood In a deed of release dated 7 February 2008, the Salesians of Don Bosco (a Catholic religious order) made a settlement with a former student who was a boarder at "Rupertswood" Salesian College, Sunbury, Victoria, in 1982-83. The deed of release states that the ex-student has alleged that he was sexually abused by Fr Francis de Dood and Father Frank Klep. The deed says the ex-student claimed that, "as a result of such assaults, he has sustained loss, damage and injuries that may require specialist counselling and therapy." To cover this loss and expense, the Salesians agreed to make a settlement with the ex-student. Farther Frank de Dood still works as a Salesian priest in Lysterfield Victoria.
- Salesian College, Rupertswood Official Website
- Broken Rites Australia — fighting church sexual abuse since 1992
- "Victorian Station Histories - Sunbury (including Rupertswood)". www.vrhistory.com. http://www.vrhistory.com/Locations/Sunbury.pdf. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
- "VICSIG - Infrastructure - Rupertswood". vicsig.net. http://vicsig.net/index.php?page=infrastructure&name=Rupertswood. Retrieved 2008-05-20.