Parramatta Marist High School

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Parramatta Marist High School
Parramatta Marist High School logo.jpg
Fortior Ito (Latin)
"Go Forth With Strength"
2 Darcy Rd
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, Single-sex, Day
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 Br Patrick Howlett
Chaplain Rev Fr John Paul Escarlan
Teaching staff 64[1]
Years offered 712
Gender Boys
Enrollment 1,017[2]
Campus type Metropolitan
Colour(s) Green and Gold
Song 'Fortior Ito' by A. Clark
Nickname PMHS/PMH/Parra Marist
Affiliations NTN

Parramatta Marist High School is a systemic 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) being 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 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 Learing which students refer to as 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.

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]


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  4. ^ Unknown, Author. "History". Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Unknown, Author. "The 1880's". Retrieved 04-06-2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. ^ Unknown, Author. "1966 - 2003". Retrieved 04-06-2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  7. ^ Unknown, Author. "2008 - Present". Retrieved 04-06-2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. ^ Deare, Steven. "Forged in a Parramatta Marist Fire". Retrieved 01-06-2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. ^,_Michael.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
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