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Stories & News > Alumnus of the Year > 2012 - Michael Brierley (Class of 2001)

2012 - Michael Brierley (Class of 2001)

“I valued the Christian influence of William Clarke on my life. Overall, the College was crucial in moulding me to try to achieve the plans that God has for my life”.
Michael working as a physiotherapist in Thailand
Michael working as a physiotherapist in Thailand

Michael Brierley graduated from William Clarke College in 2001 and went on to Sydney University to study Physiotherapy. While at William Clarke College, Michael had shown commitment to his studies and a desire to support and encourage the Christian walk of other students.

“My parents and I initially chose William Clarke because of the well-rounded education that was offered. I could have gone to the local selective high schools but happily chose William Clarke due to its incredible music and sports program as well as strong academic performances,” he recalled.

“At school, I was also advised to choose a career that involved Science and helping people, thus I chose to complete a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy). I enjoyed studying languages in Years 7 and 8, and the skills I learnt have been a benefit in learning Thai and the languages of other ethnic groups who live as refugees in the Thai-Myanmar border area.”

During 2009 Michael and his wife Katy spent 12 months working as missionaries in a refugee village called Huay Malay near the Thai-Myanmar border, approximately seven hours west of Bangkok. They served with ‘Interserve’ Missionary organisation, working mainly with the Karen ethnic minority group, who had fled the oppressive political regime in Myanmar. Here, Katy taught in the local school and Michael, the first physiotherapist to come to the area, organised clinics and seminars to teach local health professionals rehabilitation techniques. Together, they worked to encourage the development of the Christian faith in this largely Buddhist community.

The couple returned to Australia in 2010 and Michael completed his Graduate Diploma in Divinity at Sydney Mission Bible College in 2011 while working part time as a physiotherapist. During this time he was also working with young people at St Paul’s Anglican Church in Castle Hill, leading youth groups and promoting the importance of mission work to his audience. He also organised and trained young people for an annual mission trip to Thailand where they worked with the Pathum Thani church on the outskirts of Bangkok, supporting their efforts in taking Christianity to local Thais and refugees from Myanmar living in the low socio-economic areas of the city.

As the recipient of the 2012 Alumnus award, Michael gifted his $2500 prize towards the following:

The Candlelight Project: this organisation provides mobility aids, rehabilitation, vocational training, and life skills for those disabled from birth or who have suffered disability as a result of accident, injury or war.

A Christian hostel in Huay Malay which provides a home for orphans and abandoned young people so that they can continue their education. This school educates 500-600 children of refugees who cannot access education through the government schools. Many of the children in this school are sponsored through Compassion Australia.

According to Michael, he valued the Christian influence of William Clarke in his life. “Through the College I became heavily involved in my local church. I also use the music skills I learnt to train younger students in the music ministries. Overall, the College was crucial in moulding me to try to achieve the plans that God has for my life.”

Today, Michael is a Senior Physiotherapist at Active Back Care in Castle Hill, actively helping the local community with their health needs. He is also a dedicated physiotherapist for several sporting organisations including Ice Hockey Australia, Netball NSW, Evolve Gymnastics, the Brisbane Lions AFL Club and many more. He has also worked with the Australian Olympic teams at the Pacific Games in Samoa in 2019. Michael has also been a clinic educator at venues such as the University of Sydney, Australian Catholic University, the University of Western Sydney and Macquarie University since 2012.



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