Parramatta Marist High School

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Parramatta Marist High School
Parramatta Marist High School logo.jpg
2 Darcy Road
Westmead, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°48′21″S 150°59′05″E / 33.80583°S 150.98472°E / -33.80583; 150.98472Coordinates: 33°48′21″S 150°59′05″E / 33.80583°S 150.98472°E / -33.80583; 150.98472
Type Private, Secondary, Day
Motto Fortior Ito (Latin)
("Go Forth With Strength")
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholicism
Denomination Marist Brothers
Patron saint(s) Saint Marcellin Champagnat
Established 1820
Founder Father John Therry
Educational authority Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta
Principal Matthew Brennan (Acting Principal)
Assistant Principals Adam Hendry (Curriculum)
Peter Stephens (Pastorial)
Chaplain (vacant)
Teaching staff 68 (2016)[1]
Years 712
Gender Boys
Enrolment 1,036 (2016)[2]
Campus type Urban
Houses      Alman
     St. Vincent's
Colour(s) Green and Gold
Song 'Fortior Ito' by A. Clark
Nickname PMHS/PMH/Parra Marist/MBP
Affiliations NTN

Parramatta Marist High School is an independent Roman Catholic, secondary, day school for boys, located in Westmead, a suburb of the Greater Western Sydney region in New South Wales. It was the first Catholic school established in Australia, and second oldest school in Australia. Only Newcastle East Primary School (founded in 1816) is older.[3]

Parramatta Marist began as a school established by Father John Therry in 1820, under the direction of Mr. George Morley. The school was transferred to the site of the present St Patrick's Cathedral in 1837 and entrusted to the care of the Marist Brothers in 1875.

The school was entrusted to the care of the Marist Brothers in 1875, thus becoming Marist Brothers Parramatta (MBP); later, this was changed to 'Parramatta Marist High'. In the 1960s, a decision was made to move the secondary classes to a site in Westmead and leave only the primary classes at the Parramatta site. The Westmead campus was opened in 1966. In 2008, Parramatta Marist High introduced Project Based Learning into Year 9 to cater for a new technology-rich modern learning environment. Classrooms were redesigned to cater for this technology-rich environment. This ensured that each student in year 9 had access to individual computers. The school has since implemented new strategies such as 151 (One Five One), as of 2010. In Year 12 2013, the school has now adopted a Flipped-Classroom approach. Also known as Project Based Learning, which students call PBL. [4]



Father John Therry, an Irish priest, had resolved to emigrate to the penal colony of NSW to serve the spiritual needs of those being transported to Australia. Once there, he sought to establish a school in Parramatta in 1820 under the direction of emancipist George Morley (possibly 'Marley'), an accountant from County Meath, Ireland, who had been convicted of a petty crime and sent to Australia in 1813. Establishing the school in Hunter Street, Parramatta, in late 1820, the school had, by early 1821, 31 pupils (of both sexes) with 24 Catholics and 7 Protestants. In 1837, a Church was built at Parramatta (later St. Patrick's Cathedral) and the schoolhouse was built adjoining the new place of worship. The school continued to develop over subsequent decades with various lay teachers and pupils of largely Catholic background. Only three years after the arrival of the Marist Brothers in Australia under Brother Ludovic Labourers in 1872, the Catholic school at Parramatta came under their tutelage.

1880s - 1960s[edit]

The 1880s were important years for Marist. In 1888, a new monastery was built next to the school and in 1889 a new headmaster, a Frenchman by the name of Brother Claudius, took over the school. During this time enrollments increased to over 250, the first senior classes were presented for public examinations with notable success, facilities were expanded, extra classes were organised at night and on weekends, and competitive sports were promoted vigorously with next-door neighbours The King's School being the chief opponents in cricket, rugby, and athletics. The school began to flourish. Developments in the new century. In 1918, the original stone building was demolished and replaced with the building that housed the junior school until 1994. During the 1920s, and 1930s numbers continued to grow, placing more pressure on classroom accommodation. The 1940s, and 1950s saw the growth and consolidation of the secondary school and a fine record of scholastic and sporting success. Despite the new erection of a new wing in 1956, the school in the early 1960s was at breaking point. Enrollment was over 1000, with classes having to be taught in the Parish Hall, which had been sub-divided, on verandas, at St Vincent Boy's Home, and even under an oak tree in the school grounds. The decision was taken to move the secondary classes to Westmead and leave only the primary classes at the Parramatta site. [5]

1966 - 2007[edit]

In 1966 the first stage of the buildings on the new Westmead campus was opened, and most classes transferred. Further buildings were completed: the Monastery in 1968, the Swimming Pool in 1968, the Library in 1971, the Senior Block in 1973, and Arts and Techniques Centre in 1982, the Administration Block in 1984. Meanwhile, the fields and grounds were developed. In 1993, the Morley Centre was opened as a new multi-purpose facility to accommodate the needs of the school. In 1994, Parramatta Marist Junior, based at the original school site beside St. Patrick's Cathedral, was closed following a Diocesan decision to retain Year 5 and 6 boys at local Catholic primary schools. The old junior school buildings were demolished to make way for the new wing to the refurbished St. Patrick's Cathedral following its devastation by fire in 1996. At Westmead, a new Science Building (with 5 laboratories) was opened in 2001. In 2003, after various fundraising events the library (originally constructed in 1872 to commemorate the centenary of the arrival of the Brothers in Australia) was refurbished and named the Br Ludovic Learning Centre; a new healthy Canteen was built on the old uniform shop site in 2004; an eLearning Centre was created on the lower floor of the Harroway Building; in 2007 the Science laboratories, TAS, and Creative Arts areas were updated and a 172-seat theatre was built on the site of the old canteen. In July 2014, a new multimillion-dollar Administration and Classroom block are to be opened - it has been purpose built to accommodate a PBL approach to learning.


2008 - Present[edit]

In 2008, the school introduced Project Based Learning into Year 9 to increase student engagement and emphasis soft-skill acquisition (e.g. teamwork, communication, presentation). Classrooms were redesigned to cater for this technology-rich environment with each student having access to individual computers or personal devices. Project-Based Learning continues to be delivered to Year 9 and 10 students and has been subsequently rolled back into Years 7 and 8 in the past couple of years. Parramatta Marist is also a member of the NewTech network which is an American-based Project Based Learning group consisting of over 100 schools in the USA. In 2010, Problem Based learning, the originator of many current constructivist pedagogies (including Project Based Learning) was introduced to deliver courses to the original 'PBL' students moving into Year 11. The approach taken became known as '151' (based on the hourly structure of the course delivery) and has its roots based in the 'One day, One problem' approach to learning pioneered by Republic Polytechnic, Singapore - with whom the school has subsequently formed close ties. To facilitate the building of new classrooms and admin block, Year 11 students initially undertook '151' lessons in the 'Champagnat Centre', a building leased from UWS (located on land originally owned by the Brothers). This building was vacated in late 2014 following the completion of the aforementioned development on the school site and was later demolished. [7] In 2013, Year 12 Students first undertook the 'Flipped Classroom' approach which focuses on content delivery through various media accessible through iPads prior to the class, which in turn, allows class time to be devoted to the application of content, addressing issues that arise from previously delivered information and the practicing of responses to HSC style questions. To facilitate the introduction of this approach, the timetable now consists of three 100-minute lessons per day. In 2016, after serving the school for 48 years, the Cyril Shean Swimming Pool was decommissioned due to many structural failures. All the swimming carnivals that were previously held at the School Pool have been moved to Granville Pools. In Term 2 2017, Brother Patrick Howlett, Principal of Parramatta Marist High announced his retirement after 15 years with the school, guiding the school towards Project Based Learning. An Acting Principal, Mr. Matthew Brennan has been appointed until the end of 2017.

Old Boys Union (Alumni Association)[edit]

The Parramatta Marist Old Boys Union was founded in April 1926, after 325 old boys of the school gathered for a ‘smoko concert’. The reunion was so successful that they resolved to form a committee for social purposes and support the progress of the School. Almost £100 was raised on that evening for the proposed science room in the school. The first Old Boys Union President was Mr. Andrew Creagh. The Union continues to this day and holds an Annual Reunion Dinner in October and all funds raised go towards the Br Coman Sykes Memorial Scholarship (awarded on an annual basis) and the archiving, preservation, framing and display of memorabilia within the school. The OBU website can be found here.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Dr Stephen J Anderson, Professor of Optometry and Visual Neurosciences, Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
  • Stan Wickham, Wallaby player and captain
  • John Muggleton, Rugby League player for Parramatta, Balmain, NSW and Australia. Former defence coach of the Australian Rugby Union Team, the Wallabies; the ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels.
  • Mick Watson, an Australian businessman.
  • Mick Keelty APM, Former Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.
  • Geoff Brown, Australian Davis Cup tennis player and Wimbledon finalist in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.
  • John Devitt, dual Olympic Gold Medallist swimmer.
  • Paul Lynch, sprint canoeist and Olympian.
  • John Stephens, Professional Baseballer and Olympic Silver Medallist.
  • Paul Hogan, Australian actor and comedian.
  • Sir John Clancy KBE, CMG (1895-1970), Australian judge and Chancellor of the University of New South Wales (1960–70).
  • Phil Ruthven AM, Chairman and founder of IBISWorld and leading Australian analysts on business, social and economic matters.
  • Denis Fitzgerald AM, Australian representative rugby league player and former CEO of Parramatta Eels
  • Chris Warren, former professional rugby league player, television, radio, and sports commentator (son of Ray Warren).
  • Professor Chris O'Brien AO, (3 January 1952 – 4 June 2009), Australian oncologist and surgeon.
  • Jeff McMullen, Australian journalist, author and humanitarian
  • Nathan Cayless, Australian Schoolboys, Parramatta Eels and NZ representative rugby league player.
  • Jason Cayless, former professional rugby league player and NZ representative rugby league player. He is the younger brother of Nathan Cayless.
  • Chad Robinson, former professional rugby league player.
  • Paul Gallen, Australian representative rugby league player.[8]
  • Jamie Lyon, Rugby league player and former NSW and Australian representative.
  • Daniel Irvine, former NRL Rugby League player.
  • Luke Ford, Hollywood actor.
  • Tony Ward, Actor and TV presenter.
  • John Williams, former National Rugby League (NRL) player.
  • David Williams, Australian representative rugby league player.
  • Kwabena Appiah-Kubi, A-League footballer, representing Central Coast Mariners.
  • Josan Nimes, Philippine Basketball Association PBA Shooting guard, representing Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
  • Daniel Anderson, former coach of the Parramatta Eels and St. Helens and current NRL referees boss.
  • Thomas Leo McAdam, during WW1 Colonel McAdam was part of the Army general staff administering New Guinea. Also, he was responsible for native affairs and later he became Chief Collector of Customs for New Guinea.
  • Major General David Valentine Blake, (1887–1965), Australian military officer commanding the unit who shot down and subsequently buried the Red Baron (WW1); and, the most senior officer present at Darwin in 1942 when the Japanese first bombed the city.
  • Brian Tamberlin QC, Justice of the Federal Court of Australia (1994 - 2009). Prominent barrister, law commentator and alumnus of Harvard Law School
  • Professor Michael Gracey AO, world-renowned paediatrician, expert in Indigenous health and former head of the International Paediatric Association (IPA).[9]
  • Peter Arcadipane, Automotive Designer who designed the Mad Max Pursuit Special; CLS Mercedes and currently chief designer with Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC).[10]
  • Jack Ferguson, Politician and former Deputy Premier of NSW (1976-1984). Father of federal politicians Laurie Ferguson and Martin Ferguson.
  • Associate Professor Raoul Walsh, Conjoint Associate Professor School of Medicine and Public Health/Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle (Australia).
  • Professor Len Harrison, Professor in the Department of Human Biology, University of Melbourne, and Head, Autoimmunity and Transplantation Division, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, and Burnet Clinical Research Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH).
  • Clinical Associate Professor Stephen Jurd, Clinical Associate Professor in Addiction Medicine at Sydney University (based at Royal North Shore Hospital).
  • Dan Mahoney, Politician and Member for Parramatta in the NSW state Parliament (1959-1976).
  • Fred Cahill MBE, Politician and Member for Young in the NSW state Parliament (1941-1959).
  • Pat Flaherty, Politician and Member for Granville in the NSW state Parliament (1962-1984).
  • Andrew Ziolkowski, Politician and Member for Parramatta in the NSW state Parliament (1991-1994).
  • George Thomas Ford, Politician, and Member of the NSW Legislative Council (1964–66).[11]
  • Edward Fleming, Chief Commissioner of the City of Sydney (1928).
  • John Garlick, Chief Commissioner of the City of Sydney (1928–30).
  • Mike King, Chief Minister ('Head of Government') of Norfolk Island (4 May 1994 to 5 May 1997)
  • Cardinal Edward Clancy, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney (1983-2001).
  • Bernie McGann, (1937 – 2013), Australian jazz alto saxophonist.
  • PJ 'Waratah' Hurley, One of Australia’s leading horticulture/garden writers of the 20th century writing for the Sydney Morning Herald for 32 years under the pen name ‘Waratah’. One of his books "This Week in Your Garden" was last published in a 3rd edition in 1970.
  • Cornelis Vleeskens, Dutch-born writer, visual poet, artist, poet, collagist, translator, editor, and publisher.
  • Terry Kennedy ('TK'), TV and Radio presenter. Current co-host (with ex- Australian cricketer Michael Slater) of the 'Big Sports Breakfast'.
  • Terry Wilkins, Musician and composer
  • Professor Vance Gledhill AM, computer scientist, academic, researcher, administrator, application and software developer. Visiting Professor, Computer Science, University of Sydney, since 2001; Vice-President, Research, National College of Dublin, Ireland, since 2005; and, visiting Professor, Computer Science, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, since 1997.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Newcastle East Public School". Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Unknown, Author. "History". Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Unknown, Author. "The 1880's". Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Unknown, Author. "1966 - 2003". Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Unknown, Author. "2008 - Present". Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Deare, Steven. "Forged in a Parramatta Marist Fire". Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "Sydney Medical School: Gracey Michael". Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "BAIC hires Mercedes CLS designer Peter Arcadipane". Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  11. ^ "Parliament of New South Wales: Mr George Thomas FORD (1907 - 1966)". Retrieved 20 May 2017.