St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill

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St Joseph's College
Hunters Hill, New South Wales
Australia Australia
Coordinates 33°49′54″S 151°8′20″E / 33.83167°S 151.13889°E / -33.83167; 151.13889Coordinates: 33°49′54″S 151°8′20″E / 33.83167°S 151.13889°E / -33.83167; 151.13889
Type Private, Day & Boarding
Motto Latin: In Meliora Contende[3]
(Strive for better things)
Denomination Roman Catholic (Marist Brothers)
Established 1881[1]
Headmaster Dr Christopher Hayes
Chaplain Rev. Fr Gavin Foster
Staff ~111[2]
Gender Boys
Enrolment ~1000 (7–12)[2]
Colour(s) Pink and Blue         

St Joseph's College (SJC or Joeys) is a Roman Catholic, secondary, day and boarding school for boys. It is located in Hunters Hill, a suburb on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Founded by the Marist Brothers in 1881, Joeys currently caters for approximately 1100 students from Years 7 to 12,[2] including over 750 boarders, making it the largest boarding school in Australia,[4] and one of the largest in the southern hemisphere.[5]

The College is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[6] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA),[1] the Association of Marist Schools of Australia (AMSA),[7] and is a founding member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS).[8]

In 2006, Joeys saw the appointment of its first lay headmaster, Mr Ross Tarlinton, who served from 2016-17. He was succeeded in 2018 by another layman, Dr Christopher Hayes.[9]



St Joseph's College (SJC) can trace its origins back to the Marist Brothers' school founded in Harrington Street, Church Hill, which was attached to St Patrick's Catholic Church. The Headmaster, Rev. Br Emilian Pontet then sought out land to found a new school elsewhere. After inspecting several locations, Hunters Hill was chosen due to its proximity to the Marist Fathers' Monastery and Parish of Villa Maria.

On 29 July 1881, the Headmaster, Rev. Br Emilian Pontet, transferred the school from Harrington Street to Hunters Hill, founding St Joseph's College in a temporary wooden building with a student population of 55. Within six years of its founding, keen observers had taken notice. In 1887, James Francis Hogan wrote in The Irish in Australia that:

St John's College, affiliated to the University of Sydney; Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview, conducted by the Jesuit Fathers; and St. Joseph's College, Hunter Hill [sic], under the management of the Marist Brothers, are three educational institutions that reflect the highest credit on the Catholic population of the parent colony.[10]

Brother Emilian Pontet was the founding headmaster (1881-1890); he was succeeded by Brother Stanislaus (1890-1894) who continued the building program at the main campus and oversaw the acquisition of 16 acres of playing fields close by.[11]

List of Headmasters[edit]


The College opened in 1881 in a temporary wooden building, however, it has continued to expand its grounds and buildings since then. Some examples are the construction of the main building's southern wing in 1882–1884; the building of the central and northern wing in 1889–1894 and the building of the Chapel in 1938–1940. The south-eastern corner of the College campus is a property which was acquired in 1882 with the assistance of a benefactor named O'Shaugnessy. The property was then known as Joubert's Reserve and the original small stone cottage that stood on the land when it was acquired still remains on the site today. The College's main playing fields ("the Park") are located 300m away from the main campus and were bought in 1893 from Charles Gilbert Heydon a distinguished lawyer and devout Catholic who offered the Brothers for sale at a discount 16 acres he had acquired nine years earlier.[13] Mr Heydon agreed to a generous instalment plan to assist the Brothers to make the purchase and the interest bill was met by the same benefactor O'Shaugnessy who had assisted with the acquisition of Joubert's Reserve eleven years earlier.

Today the College is situated on a 16 hectares (40 acres) campus overlooking the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers, in suburban Hunter's Hill, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the Sydney central business district.[4] The current facilities of the school include:


St Joseph's has several buildings used for accommodation. Five of these are for Years 10, 11 and 12 respectively. The College's main building, which has stood since the 1880s, contains dorms for the junior years, as well as all the College's refectories (dining rooms), the infirmary, teachers lounge, a chapel and administration offices. The Year 12 Boarding Area was totally refurbished in early 2009, creating modern and comfortable accommodation for senior students.

The College operates kitchens and a laundry catering for all students, teachers and brothers.

Academic facilities[edit]

The College has a significant number of academic facilities, including a large four-storey building solely containing science laboratories and classrooms (which have recently been refurbished), a library and resource centre, a visual arts centre, a music centre, a hall and five computer labs, each with 20 plus computers. Stage one of a major refurbishment of the resource centre was completed early in 2009, creating a modern, up-to-date teaching and learning facility that provides students with high quality resources and technology for today's fast paced digital world. In 2013, St. Joseph's opened a new Technology and Arts Precinct, including numerous art studios, workshops and classrooms.

Sporting facilities[edit]

Similar to other GPS schools, St Joseph's has significant sporting facilities for use in both training and competition. The College owns and maintains approximately 10 playing fields for cricket, rugby and soccer. Its main rugby field is in a 10-hectare (25-acre) facility known as "the Park" and located two blocks from the school campus and is often used by higher level teams for training purposes.

On the main school campus there are ten tennis courts, five basketball courts, a number of cricket nets, a swimming pool, two gymnasiums (for gymnastics and weightlifting respectively) and a cardio room. The boatshed and pontoons for the school's rowing club are situated some 300 metres (980 ft) from the main campus on nearby Tarban Creek, a northern tributary of Sydney's Parramatta River.

Outdoor education facilities[edit]

In 1986 St Joseph's opened "Colo", an outdoor education centre for students. It provides education in various outdoor activities, culminating in extended expeditions in Year 9.

Collectable School Cigarette card featuring the Joeys colours & crest, c. 1910s


Marist Brothers[edit]

An ageing population of Marist brothers have their own accommodation on the school grounds (some in the retired brothers quarters) and work to maintain its status, holding a number of executive positions at the College. In 2006, Ross Tarlinton became the first lay headmaster of the College.

Sexual abuse allegations[edit]

In June, July and August 2014 the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, a royal commission of inquiry initiated in 2013 by the Australian Government and supported by all of its state governments,[14] began an investigation into the response of Marist Brothers to allegations of child sexual abuse in schools in the ACT, NSW and Queensland.[15] Five former students, one former teacher, a former assistant principal and two former principals, former and current Marist officials and clergy, and one of the clergy at the centre of the allegations gave evidence or made statements before the Royal Commission[16] that the alleged cases of abuse happened during the 1970s and 1980s at Daramalan College, Canberra, at Lismore, Campbelltown and in Far North Queensland.[17][18][19][20]

In March 2015 a former Marist brother was arrested over a number of sex offences allegedly committed at St Joseph's College and St Gregory's College in Campbelltown in the 1980s.[21]


St Josephs College

With a boarding population of approximately 500, SJC is one of the largest boarding schools in Australia (in terms of student numbers). Joeys offers full boarding as well as weekly boarding options (where students go home on weekends). In recent times the College has also offered day-schooling, and students who do not board are known as 'day-boys'.

A number of dormitories ('dorms') and refectories ('refs') are located on the College grounds for boarders and day-boys alike. Dorms and refs are segregated by year, and students tend to receive larger, more private and more privileged accommodation as they advance through the years(i.e. students move from large dormitories to single rooms, and from the College's original accommodation facilities to newly built accommodation).


As a secondary school in New South Wales, the College teaches Year 7 to 12 students in accordance with the State Government's education curriculum, as determined by the Board of Studies. At the end of Year 12, successful students are accredited with their Higher School Certificate (HSC).


St Joseph's College offers a variety of co-curricular activities, including Senior Orchestra, Chess and Debating. Joeys is also has the reputation of being a very strong sporting school.

Joey's boys at GPS athletics, 1939


St Joseph's official sporting calendar revolves around competition with the eight other GPS Schools. However, it regularly competes against Combined Associated Schools (CAS) during the lead-up to each season, and as a member of the GPS (in GPS vs CAS matches) at the end of each season.

The Joey's boatshed is in Tarban Creek, a short walk from the College

GPS sports include:

Rugby union[edit]

St. Joseph's has a very proud, strong tradition in rugby union, being widely renowned as one of Australia's great rugby nurseries. Over the years, the college has produced many well known players who have represented at grade, state and national levels, including three Wallaby Captains.[22] St. Joseph's proud history is displayed through their many 1st and 2nd XV premierships in the AAGPS competitions. Their most recent 1st XV success was in 2007, where the college won their 54th 1st XV premiership and their 24th undefeated championship.


Cricket has always been one of the premier summer sports at St. Joseph's. The college has always been strong in cricket, dating back to the inaugural AAGPS season, in which St. Joseph's shared the premiership along with Sydney Grammar School and Newington College.Stan McCabe remains the college's most well known cricketer. In recent years, St Joseph's has been consistently one of the best high school cricketing teams, winning both the AAGPS Premiership and Marist Cricket Carnival on multiple occasions.


St. Joseph's was the fourth Sydney school to take to the water (after Grammar, Riverview & Shore) and has been rowing in the GPS competition since 1907. Joeys had their inaugural GPS victory in 1911, then again in 1916.[23] The College's 1st VIII victory in the 2015 race ended a drought dating back to 1973 at the AAGPS Head of the River.

Notable alumni: 'Old Boys'[edit]

Alumni of St Joseph's College, Hunter's Hill are commonly referred to as Old Boys, and may elect to join the schools alumni association, the St Joseph's College Old Boys' Union (SJCOBU).[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "St Joseph's College". New South Wales Schools. Australian Boarding Schools Association. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  2. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Home. St Joseph's College. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  3. ^ "Schools acting to protect their trade marks". Catholic Resources. CathNews. 2004-03-15. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  4. ^ a b "St Joseph's College Hunters Hill". New South Wales. School Choice. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  5. ^ Boarding - St Joseph's College Accessed 3/7/2009
  6. ^ "AHISA Schools". New South Wales. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. April 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  7. ^ "Member School Links". About AMSA. Association of Marist Schools of Australia. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  8. ^ "AAGPS History". Info. Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales. 2007. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 28 October 2007. 
  9. ^ Patty, Anna (2006-04-26). "Band of brothers makes way for a layman". National. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  10. ^ Hogan, James Francis, The Irish in Australia, 1887. Reproduced by Project Gutenberg (retrieved 15 June 2006).
  11. ^ Meliora Life ed II
  12. ^ A Century of Striving: St Joseph's College Hunters Hill 1881-1981, Br Michael Naughtin, (1981) p. 356
  13. ^ "History". The College. St Joseph's College. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  14. ^ "Letters Patent". Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Case Study 13, June 2014, Canberra". Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "Witness List and Order". Public hearing into the response by the Marist Brothers to allegations of child sexual abuse. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  17. ^ Gilbert, Ewan (10 June 2014). "Royal commission into child sexual abuse: Canberra hearings to examine Marist Brothers response". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  18. ^ Ellery, David (10 August 2014). "Marist Brothers' schools director should be sacked, say sex abuse victim and lawyer". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  19. ^ Marszalek, Jessica (11 June 2014). "Northern links in royal commission into child sexual abuse at Marist Brothers school". Cairns Post. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  20. ^ Box, Dan (30 June 2014). "Complaints about Marist brother Kostka Chute allege 31 years of abuse". The Australian. Australian Associated Press. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  21. ^ Browne, Rachel (21 March 2015). "Former Catholic brother charged with child sex offences at St Joseph's and St Gregory's colleges". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  22. ^ Australian Schools Rugby
  23. ^ Early rowing club histories
  24. ^ "Welcome to the SJC Old Boys' Union". Home. St Joseph's College Old Boys' Union. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 


  • Naughtin, M. 1981. A Century of Striving: St Joseph's College, Hunter's Hill, 1881-1981. Macarthur Press, Sydney. ISBN 0-9595559-6-X.
  • Meliora Life, edition II May 2011 (a publication of the St Joseph's College Foundation Ltd).

External links[edit]