History / Tradition

History of the College

St Mary’s College, formed in 1899 by the Christian Brothers, has been and continues to be an integral part in the education of many young men in Toowoomba.  Our success ranges from academic, cultural, sporting to spiritual development and our Old Boys enjoy outstanding careers post-school in professional and commercial undertakings.  There are many proud and dedicated Old Boys who continue to support the College financially and enthusiastically speak with fond memories of the spirit of mateship and support that exists at St Mary’s College. Below, you will see a summary of some of the important dates in the development of the College. The rich history of St Mary’s College makes it a privilege to be a part of the continuing St Mary's story.


Br Patrick Ambrose Tracey, Provincial Superior of Christian Brothers in Australia is visited in Sydney by the Parish Priest of Toowoomba, Fr Denis Fouhy, about the establishment of a boys’ Catholic school in Toowoomba.


28th January, tenders invited for the erection of the School/Residence designed by William Hodgen HRIBA (Construction time 24 weeks).
26th February – Foundation Stone laid by Archbishop Dunne.
15th September - Br J.H. Hurley – First Principal arrived in Toowoomba.
28th September – School/Brothers’ residence – completed (as exists today).
1st October – Classrooms and residence blessed and opened.
2nd October – St Mary’s College commenced operations – 120 pupils – first student was named as William McGoldrick, having won a foot race from Our Lady of Lourdes Church to St Mary’s College.  Fr McGoldrick was ordained in 1911.


Enrolments at St Mary’s College grew to 210 pupils.


August – Sudden death of Principal Br J.B. Nugent (1912-1914).  A white Carrara marble statue of the Madonna was erected in memory of him in front of the Brothers’ Residence – which still exists today.


 School placed First in Queensland by the official examiner of the Christian Brothers.


 School placed First in Queensland by the official examiner of the Christian Brothers.


21st July - Laying of Foundation Stone, St Mary’s second school building, by Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Cattaneo.


26th August – Fire damages the south/west corner of the school building (Brothers’ Residence).
October – Restoration of the fire damaged building completed.


30th October – Second school building completed to accommodate the increasing number of students (Primary Building).


10th October – Initial Old Boys’ Association formed.


Five Old Boys ordained – Frs H Crowe, T McCormack, J Michael, B Noland and R Prior.


Old Boy, Tom Gorman captains Kangaroo Rugby League team on tour of Great Britain.


College Swimming Pool and 2 Tennis Courts erected with relief labour supervised by Br McAllen


Dr RSJ (John) Simpson secured 1st Place in Senior in Queensland.


6th – 12th July – Old Boy, Frank Forde was Prime Minister after the death of John Curtin.


First College Magazine.


Golden Jubilee Celebrations, current Old Boys’ Association and Brisbane Sub-Branch formalised. The need for sporting fields and an assembly hall identified – commencement of land purchases and building of facilities for the College over many years.


Enrolment at St Mary’s College reaches 502 students.


Establishment of second Christian Brothers’ School in Toowoomba; St Joseph’s College, to cater for the Catholic boys on Eastern side of Toowoomba.


New classroom block opened - Hill Street.


New classroom and Science Block- opened.


Library building - completed.


Sports field over Hill Street constructed by Old Boys, officially opened 26th November 1978


Manual Arts building – completed.


19th June - T.P. O’Brien Multipurpose Centre – completed by Old Boys.


June – (3) G P Classrooms, (2) Technical Drawing rooms, Woodwork and Welding facilities and covered court yard opened


Administration Building – completed.


12th April – Duhig Building (Hill St) Extensions opened.  These catered for Speech, Drama, Music, Japanese Studies, Computer Classrooms and General studies.


Margaret Street Complex extended to provide 6 additional classrooms, Japanese Language Laboratory, Social Science Room, 2nd Graphics Rooms, refurbishment of PE facility.


Extensions to Administration Building – opened.
Last Christian Brother Principal of St Mary’s College: Br B.E. Walker – completed term.


First Lay Principal – Mr Robert White.


Centenary Celebrations: 1899-1999


Gymnasium on Herries Street alignment completed by Old Boys for the commencement of the School Year – officially opened – 27 May 2006.


Primary Library and Old Brothers’ Residence refurbishment – opened.


Refurbishment of Science block.



Refurbishment of Tuckshop.

Opening of Food Technology Kitchen and Restaurant.


Refurbishment of Applied Technology and Design buildings.

This is just a snapshot of the wonderful history in the development of this fine College.


Edmund Rice Tradition

Edmund Rice IconDenis McLaughlin,  in his recently published book, researching the educational vision the founder of the Christian Brothers, Edmund Ignatius Rice (which he put into place in the schools he established in Ireland in the first half of the 19th century in Ireland) concluded from his analysis of the historical sources available, the following synthesis of Ricean Education.

The education that Edmund Rice pioneered was an initiative within the ‘evangelising mission of the Church’.  It was distinguished by the following characteristics and their expressions:

  1. Presence leading to a respectful sense of the sacred

    • A profound belief in the equal dignity of persons

    • Nurturing a culture of faith

    • A scholarly approach to education of the spirit

  2. Compassion nurturing authentic community

    • Honouring of a caring family spirit

    • Solidarity with the unimportant, the poor and the neglected

  3. Liberation underpinning the provision of education

    • Relevant, quality and critical education

    • An interdependent system of education focusing on mission authenticity

The tradition of the Christian Brothers who administered St Mary’s for the first 97 years of its existence is very important to this community.  We proudly do our best to continue the vision of Edmund in the life of the College today.


College Crest and Motto

College Crest

The crest is a variation of the original Christian Brothers' crest. The star is a reminder that "Those who have taught many people to do what is right will shine like stars for all eternity." [Daniel: 12.3]  As the star shines in darkness, it is regarded as the symbol of enlightenment and instruction.

Our faith is in Christ and so the star is set upon the cross, source of our inspiration and instrument of our salvation. The cross with the circle, symbol of eternity, is a Celtic cross and denotes the Irish origin of the Christian Brothers.

The open book at the top is a symbol of the aim of the school: an education of the whole person. The top motto, "Facere et Docere", is the motto of the Brothers: "To do (to show by example) and to teach". Christ said, "He that shall do and teach shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven". [Matt: 5.19]

St. Mary's motto, "Conanti Corona", "those who strive can achieve the crown".

The important thing is the striving.

This explanation has been provided by Br. John Hogan

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