Benedict Soler was a teacher and is a community worker in Melbourne, Australia.
Early life and migration
Benedict (Benny) Soler was born in Vittoriosa, Malta, on September 8, 1938, the oldest child of Saviour (Sam) and Angelica. The family moved to Mosta during the war and then to Pawla after the war before the decision was made to migrate to Australia in 1950. He attended Primary School in North Richmond and commenced his Secondary schooling at St Joseph’s Technical School in Abbotsford before moving to Richmond Technical School, where he completed Year 9. He then took up an apprenticeship as a maintenance fitter and worked with the SEC for 12 years during which time he married Helen in 1962 and completed his high school studies at night school.
Benny started an engineering diploma and during his second year of study he obtained a teaching position in 1967. He completed his Technical Trade Instructor Certificate in 1968 at the Hawthorn Institute of Technology. In 1979 he was promoted to Head of the Fitting and Machining Department at Brandon Park Technical School and in 1987 was appointed a senior teacher at Jamieson Park Technical College at St Albans. In 1993 he became Head of the Department of Technology Studies at Marcellin College and retired from teaching in 2001.
Benny`s involvement with the Maltese Community Council of Victoria (MCCV) started in 1966 as a delegate for the Phoenicians Association. In 1970 he was elected as the Public Relations Officer. He became Assistant Secretary of the Council in 1972 and in 1976 he was elected Honorary Secretary of the MCCV, a position he held with distinction for 18 years, the longest serving Secretary in the history of the MCCV. Benny was deeply involved in fund raising for the Maltese Community Centre in Parkville. The major purpose was to build a new Centre for the whole community.
He worked tirelessly as coordinator of the committee for the Miss Maltese Community Quest which, over the 15 years of its existence, raised in excess of $400,000 for the Maltese Community Centre Building Project. Over a number of years Benny, with his wife Helen (for a time President of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the MCCV), also helped raising funds for the Centre by organizing a variety of activities, such as the bric-a-brac stall at the annual fete organized by the MCCV as well as organizing big annual raffles complete with great prizes such as a trip to Malta.
Awards and recognitions
Benny's contributions over many years led to his being recognised at the inaugural MCCV Community Awards presentations in 2012 “for his services to the community through his work within the MCCV”.
Benny and Helen have two children, David and Luisa, and three grandsons, Ryan, Luke and Sam.
Interview with Benny Soler