College Honour Roll


Dennis Handley

Fr Dennis Handley was a Salesian Priest who dedicated his life to God and the education of young people in the spirit of the Salesians. Fr Dennis attended Salesian College Chadstone from 1961 until he matriculated in 1966. During his time here, he was an office bearer in the St Joseph Solidarity Society, and an active member of the Debating team. At the ACC Debating competition he participated in, he was voted Best Speaker by representatives from the Age Newspaper.

In 1968, Dennis entered the Salesian novitiate and for three years underwent religious formation and teacher training.

His first appointment as a Salesian was to Boys’ Town, Engadine (NSW). From 1975 to 1978 he undertook studies in theology, culminating in his ordination in June, 1978. He also undertook an Arts degree, Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education.

From 1979 to 1987, Fr Dennis was Deputy Principal at St Joseph’s College, Ferntree Gully, and from 1988 to 1994 he was Principal at St Marks, Port Pirie. He was the foundation Principal of Xavier College, Gawler, from 1995 to 2003. From 1995 to 2003, Xavier College, Gawler, grew to be one of the state’s most respected colleges under his visionary leadership as the foundation Principal.

He was involved in numerous committees within Catholic education, and immersed himself in the Gawler community as a sports player, coach, and committee member of various clubs, as well as contributed as celebrant at the Gawler Catholic parish.

As an educator, he championed the rights and aspirations of young people, particularly the disadvantaged. He was diagnosed with a highly aggressive brain cancer, and passed away eleven weeks later on March 4, 2004. Despite the significant physical and cognitive impairment, he faced in this time, his true character as a patient person shone through.



College Achievements





Fr Dennis Handley

Hall of Fame Inductee - Religious Life





Champion Of Youthful Aspirations

Xavier College

Pastoral Care, House and Oratory Structure