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Legendary Ipswich school leader Peter Coughlin dies

SENSE OF FUN: Peter Coughlin.
SENSE OF FUN: Peter Coughlin. Contributed

PETER Coughlin passionately believed in Bremer High School and, as its longest-serving principal, he enriched the lives of countless people.

The Bremer principal from 1984 until he retired in 1998 died on Tuesday night aged 72.

Mr Coughlin, who was awarded the Order of Australia in 2000, wrote an emotional farewell in the school's 1998 yearbook.

"I have been privileged to spend these 15 years of my life working with wonderful teachers and staff, 6979 talented students and their families and the community of Ipswich and district," he wrote.

"I have a heart full of gratitude for everyone who, through Bremer, has been part of my life. I've experienced indescribable joy in seeing all the goodness in our people translate into the greatness that is Bremer at its best."

Head of performing arts Shay Ryan wrote a tribute in the yearbook.

"What I have learned from Peter is his affirmation of emotion as an integral part of our school life," Ms Ryan wrote. "He yells his g'days to us, he laughs full-throatedly, he sings. And sometimes he's very sad indeed. Nothing subtle, calculated or restrained about his delight in and love of us."

Bremer deputy principal Graeme Goodger, who worked under Mr Coughlin, recalled his passion and his keen sense of fun.

"Peter was a bit of a prankster," Mr Goodger said yesterday.

"You used to be able to get these clickers in show bags and if Peter was in the mood where he didn't want to catch the boys out doing something wrong he'd walk around with one of those as a way of saying, 'Coughlin's coming'.

"In Year 12 they used to have sleepovers at the school and during the night they'd go out on to the oval and play war with water pistols and Peter would have the biggest water pistol of them all.

"He used to start assemblies by saying, 'Bremer, you're looking good'.

"He was a firm believer in the school. He started the B is for Bremer, B is for Best slogan."

Peter Coughlin's funeral is at 2pm on Monday at the Kenmore Baptist Church.

Topics:  bremer high school order of australia



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