Centacare, Catholic Diocese of Ballarat is a Company Limited by Guarantee with its sole member being the Bishop of Ballarat. Governed by a Board of Directors the daily operations of the organisation are managed by the Chief Executive Officer,
Tony Fitzgerald, and the Executive Team.

The Board of Directors have a strong connection to the Ballarat Catholic Community and have a range of expertise, life experiences and backgrounds. They provide the organisation with strong governance and guidance.



Paul Bird CSsR

Bishop / Member

Bishop Paul Bird CSsR was born in Newcastle in 1949. He was ordained as a Redemptorist priest in 1975.

In 1987 the Bishop was appointed superior of the Redemptorist community at Brighton in Melbourne and commenced twenty years of service as editor in the congregation’s publications ministry, Majellan Publications.

He served various terms totalling fifteen years in all as a member of the Provincial Council of the Redemptorist Congregation. He represented the Australian province at the congregation’s general chapter in Brazil in 1991 and, from 2008 until the announcement of his appointment as Bishop of Ballarat, he served as Provincial of the Australian Province of the congregation with overall responsibility for the communities and missions in Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia.

Bishop Paul Bird CSsR has served as the bishop of Ballarat since 2012.


Mary Darcy


Mary Darcy is a Counselling and Consulting Psychologist working in private practice for over 20 years. Mary has worked extensively in the areas of organisational change and development. Mary holds a Diploma of Teaching, Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Diploma of Social Psychology and a M.Ed. Counselling and Consulting Psychology.

Mary was a volunteer at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka.

Mary was a member of the Centacare board from 1993-2017 and commenced on the housing board in 2017.

Mary retired from the CHS Board at the end of 2018 to re-join the Centacare Board as Chair for 2019.


Maureen Waddington

Maureen is the Director of Mission at St John of God Hospital Ballarat and holds responsibility for the social outreach programs, Pomegranate House, Bloomsbury House, Raphael House and International Health in Tonga and Timor Leste.

Maureen has also been the Director of Mission for St. John of God Bendigo through the cultural alignment period of the new acquisition in 2005 and Acting Director of Mission for St. John of God Murdoch in Western Australia in 2010.

Maureen holds a Masters in Business Administration and a Graduate Diploma in Theology.

She was appointed to the Centacare board in February 2011.


Elizabeth Ryan

An experienced educator in primary, secondary and tertiary education Elizabeth has held senior leadership roles at St Patrick’s College Ballarat including VCE Coordinator, Head of School and Director of Senior School and Deputy Headmaster: Well being.

With broad management and extensive leadership experience Elizabeth is a current member of the Federation Business School Faculty Advisory Board and an Honorary Fellow of Federation University, Australia.

Elizabeth holds a Masters of Business, Graduate Diploma in Educational administration, Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Education and a Diploma of Teaching.


Carmel Hempenstall

Carmel currently works within the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) Pathways and Transition Team which is responsible for policy, provision and support for student pathways and transition in Catholic Secondary Schools throughout Victoria. Carmel’s work focuses on vocational and applied learning in the senior and middle years of education as well as Career Development.

Previously Carmel has worked in secondary schools across Ballarat and Melbourne and spent time as an Honorary Probation Officer with the Children’s Court.

Carmel is a member of the Highlands LLEN and holds a Bachelor of Economics, Diploma of Education (Secondary), Diploma of VET, Master of Career Development and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Carmel was appointed to the Centacare Board in 2011.


Allan McKinnon

Allan was appointed to the Centacare board in 2012. Allan worked for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development for over forty years. A member of the Rotary Club of Ballarat South and Legacy Allan is a key volunteer on the Commemorative Days Committee.

Allan holds a Bachelor of Education, Graduate Diploma in Religious Education, Graduate Diploma in Education Administration, Diploma in Teaching Asian Studies.


Jane Jens

Jane was appointed to the Centacare board in 2015. Jane is a registered tax agent and has worked in public practice for over eight years. Jane migrated to Australia from the Philippines in 2002 while she completed her studies in Bachelor of Commerce major in Accounting & Commercial Law. Jane holds her CPA.

Jane volunteers as a councillor for the CPA Ballarat Branch and is the President Elect of the Rotary Club Young Ambitions.


Fr Tom Brophy

Fr Tom Brophy was ordained a priest on May 20th 1972 and retired from active parish ministry in January 2015.

Prior to becoming an active parish priest Father Brophy Trained as a Secondary School Teacher (T.S.T.C).


Shannon Thompson

Shannon Thompson joins Centacare Board with over 20 years’ experience as a Registered Psychologist. Working across a variety of community organisations Shannon’s roles have included Australian Catholic University Ballarat’s Student Counsellor, Federation University, Grampians Psychiatric Services, Ballarat Community Health, Child and Family Services and Women’s Health Grampians.

A qualified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and a graduate of Leadership Ballarat Shannon holds a firm belief in reducing the stigma associated with mental health.

Shannon has a Bachelor of Arts, Humanities and Social Science, a Graduate Diploma of Applied Science (Professional Psychology), a Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Sciences (Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health) and is a Member of the Australian Psychological Society (MAPS).


Kevin Murnane

Kevin was appointed to the Board in 2018 and holds a Diploma of Business Studies, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a registered Tax Agent and a former registered Company Auditor.

Kevin is a committed volunteer in the community volunteering at St Vincent’s De Paul, St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Snake Valley Golf Club.

Kevin brings to the Board strong skills in finance, governance, systems development and implementation, business acumen and critical thinking.