St Aloysius' College (Sydney)

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For other schools of the same name, see St Aloysius' College (disambiguation).
St. Aloysius' College
St Aloysius' College (Sydney) Logo.svg
Latin: Ad Majora Natus
("Born for Greater Things")[1][dead link]
Milsons Point, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°50′55″S 151°12′52″E / 33.84861°S 151.21444°E / -33.84861; 151.21444Coordinates: 33°50′55″S 151°12′52″E / 33.84861°S 151.21444°E / -33.84861; 151.21444
Type Independent, Day school
Denomination Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Established 1879; 137 years ago (1879)[2]
Founder Rev. Fr. Joseph Dalton SJ
Rector Fr. Peter Hosking SJ
Principal Mark Tannock
Staff ~96[3]
Gender Boys
Enrolment ~1,174 (3–12)[3]
Colour(s) Blue and Gold         

St Aloysius' College is an independent Catholic single-sex day school for boys[4] in Kirribilli, a suburb on the lower North Shore of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Founded in 1879 by Fr. Joseph Dalton SJ at St Kilda House, Woolloomooloo, St Aloysius' is conducted by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) as part of a worldwide network of schools and universities which Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Order, began in Messina, Sicily in 1548. The College has an academically selective enrolment policy and as of 2013 catered to approximately 1,174 students from Years 3 to 12 (8 to 18 years).[3]

St Aloysius' is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[5] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[6] and is the oldest of the six schools which make up the Combined Associated Schools (CAS).[7]



Following the 1877 closure of Lyndhurst College, a Catholic school for boys in Glebe, there was no Catholic college for boys in the area. Roger Bede Vaughan, the second Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, was petitioned by the community to set up a school; Fr. Joseph Dalton was sent to Sydney by the Superior, Fr. Cahill in answer to a request from Vaughan.[8]

Towards the end of 1878 Dr Dalton returned to Sydney with Fr. Kennedy to seek a site, first for a city day school and later, if possible, a site for a boarding school. After much discussion and searching, a property known as "St Kilda House" on the corner of Cathedral Street and Palmer Street in Woolloomooloo was rented at £260 per annum. The property had been built in 1844 by Charles Scott on part of a grant made to John Palmer, purser on the First Fleet ship HMS Sirius, it was a Georgian style mansion with fifteen rooms. The building has since been demolished.[8]

St Kilda House was blessed by the Archbishop and its first 45 pupils admitted on 3 February 1879. By the end of 1879 enrolments had increased to 115.[8]


It soon became clear that the school site and its surroundings were not ideal for a College. The students had been experiencing transport difficulties and the children of the local area resented the intrusion of "college boys", expressing themselves accordingly. Subsequently, in September 1883, the College moved to a property known as "Auburn Villa" in Bourke Street, Darlinghurst, with classes resuming on 17 September. This property had been purchased from the Iredale family for £6,975, and though the house had just eleven rooms, the area offered considerable advantages. The name "Auburn Villa" was changed on purchase to St Aloysius, the patron of youth, and a new wing was built shortly after at a cost of £5,000. The building was later demolished to make way for St Margaret's Maternity Hospital.[8]

Student numbers grew considerably towards the end of the century. In letters to the Jesuit Superior, Rectors constantly pleaded for more staff, telling of their constant financial struggle to exist.[8]

Milsons Point[edit]

Across Sydney Harbour, the Society of Jesus had taken control of the parish of St Mary's, North Sydney. A small, stone church in Jeffrey Street, Kirribilli built in 1863 by Congregationalists, Wesleyans and Anglicans had fallen into disuse due to lack of a congregation. This church was purchased by the Jesuits in 1880 to serve the district of Kirribilli and Milsons Point, but the priests at North Sydney were finding it difficult to attend to their large parish. Cardinal Moran, Archbishop of Sydney, urged the Jesuits to move the College from Bourke Street to a site near the church in order to give regular service to the Catholics of the area.[8]

In 1902, a property adjoining the church was rented for £225 and a few years later purchased for £4,500. The area was small – about three quarters of an acre, however the building, with crenellated tower and lace iron balconies, was set in picturesque surroundings and featured an uninterrupted view of the Harbour. St Aloysius' College officially commenced classes here on 2 February 1903, with fewer than 50 students.[8]

Before long enrolments again increased and additional accommodation became an urgent need. A wooden building was hastily erected, housing classrooms and study hall until it was replaced in 1907/1908 by a three-storeyed brick building later known as the "Junior School". As student numbers increased, additional rooms again became necessary and in 1913/1914 a new wing was constructed on the eastern side of the original residence. In 1916 a property opposite the College, known as "Wyalla", came on the market. Money was eventually borrowed and Wyalla became the "Senior School".[8]

In the early 1920s, a property off Sailors Bay Road, Northbridge, was purchased as a site for much needed playing fields. This property remained undeveloped due to the lack of excavating and levelling techniques and machinery at the time. Had this plan materialised, it would today be a very valuable asset, however it was sold in 1939 and provided finance for the purchase of some market gardens in Tyneside Avenue, East Willoughby, which forms the current College Sports Ground.[8]

The war years brought a significant drop in numbers, and the College was forced to pile sand bags to prevent blasts from anticipated Japanese bombs, and strong, wooden fortifications were constructed to prevent roofs collapsing. Following the war, the number of pupils increased more rapidly than the development of accommodation, and by the late fifties it was clear that a major decision on the College's future was no longer avoidable. There appeared to be only three available options: one was to close down the College gradually, an unpopular choice, however, had it proved to be the only possible one, the machinery was ready to implement it; The second was to find another suitable site in the vicinity and to make a fresh start. No site comparable with the present one was available, and subsequently part of the Jesuit owned property in Pymble was suggested as a possible location. The financial commitment involved in such a move was more than the College could carry. An invitation came from Archbishop Eris O'Brien to move the College to Canberra where 20 acres (81,000 m2) and financial assistance were available, however after much debate this offer was turned down; The third possible option was to stay at Milsons Point and to re-develop the site. The representative of the Jesuit General, Fr. John McMahon, who was then visiting Australia, and the Provincial Superior, Fr. Jeremiah Hogan, favoured this option as being in the best interests of the Catholic community and of the College.[8]

In 1961, with the help of Mr G J Dusseldorp, the co-operation of the Commonwealth Bank and the support of Fr. Hogan, the College began the task of rebuilding. The limitations of the site and the fact that existing buildings could not be demolished beforehand, restricted the Rector, Fr. John Casey, in his plan and the architect, Mr Robert Metcalfe, in his design. In approximately ten years, with the support of the College community, four stages of building were completed.[8]

St Aloysius' College, as seen from Circular Quay

To celebrate its centenary in 1979, the College began the fifth and final building stage. This building, housing administration, entrance gates, canteen, library, study room, community rooms, and classrooms, was opened in 1981. Despite the completion of this stage, there was still insufficient room to house the College. For some years, assisted by the proposal of building the Harbour Tunnel, investigations were undertaken to see if it was possible to again move. In 1991 a decision was reached to purchase the Milsons Point Primary School and to develop a Junior School Campus. Construction of the Junior School Campus commenced in 1992, and in 1993 it was blessed and opened.[8]

Wyalla, St Aloysius' College

In order to provide more space for the College, the Jesuit community left the main building for a community house in Jeffrey Street in 1995. The top two floors were renovated to accommodate Year 12, while renovations for a new Senior School on the Wyalla site took place. At the commencement of the school year in 1997, the Senior School, accommodating Years 11 and 12 was opened and blessed by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir William Deane, the provincial of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Daven Day SJ and the Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, Right Reverend David Cremin DD.[8]

Head of school[edit]

In the early days, Jesuit Colleges were headed by a Rector, who was also a Superior of the Jesuit Community. The Rector was assisted by a Prefect of Studies, who attended to the day-to-day running of the school, especially concerning the curriculum and discipline. In the Australian Province, the 1970s saw the role of Headmaster become separated from that of Superior. Rectors and Superiors normally have a fixed term in canon law of six years; Headmasters' terms are indefinite. In 2003, the structure returned to the older dispensation, with the title of Prefect of Studies replaced with Principal. 2014 saw the appointment of the College's first ever lay principal with Mark Tannock being appointed to the role following the end of Rev. Fr. Chris Middleton's tenure.

Years Rector
1879 Fr. Joseph Dalton SJ, Founder
1880–1889 Fr. Daniel Clancy SJ
1890–1893 Fr. Charles Morrough SJ
1893–1903 Fr. Christopher Nulty SJ
1903–1910 Fr. Thomas Fay SJ
1910–1916 Fr. Patrick McCurtin SJ
1916–1921 Fr. John Forster SJ
1921–1930 Fr. Francis Xavier O'Brien SJ
1930–1937 Fr. Austin Kelly SJ
1937–1939 Fr. Noel Hehir SJ
1939–1944 Fr. Thomas Hehir SJ
1944–1948 Fr. Francis Xavier O'Brien SJ
1948–1949 Fr. John Casey SJ
1949–1954 Fr. Donald Roset SJ
1954–1961 Fr. John Casey SJ
1961–1968 Fr. Vincent Conway SJ
1968–1973 Fr. Thomas O'Donovan SJ
Halted and renewed in 2003 Headmaster replaced position
2003–2010 Rev. Fr. Ross Jones SJ
2011– Fr. Peter Hosking SJ
Years Headmaster
1974–1977 Fr. Gregory Jordan SJ
1978–1985 Fr. Robert Bruce SJ
1986–2003 Fr. Anthony Smith SJ
Years Principal
2003–2014 Rev. Fr. Chris Middleton SJ
2014– Mark Tannock

Jesuit education[edit]

St Aloysius' College is conducted by the Jesuit Order and is part of a worldwide network of approximately 1000 Jesuit primary and secondary schools and universities. The first school was commenced by St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Order, in 1548.

A Jesuit education stresses the acquisition of skills and techniques in a purposeful and balanced perspective. While emphasis is placed on the development of intellectual and mental skills, attention is also given to other aspects of personal formation, such as character, attitudes, values and social interaction.[9]

The aim of a Jesuit education is as follows: "Our ideal is the well-rounded person who is intellectually competent, open to growth, religious, loving and committed to doing justice in generosity to the people of God."[10]

Its brother schools include Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview and Loyola College, Mount Druitt in Sydney, Saint Ignatius' College, Adelaide in Athelstone and Xavier College in Melbourne.

The master plan[edit]

Renovations of St Aloysius College are currently[when?] underway, in these renovations the Junior School has been completely renewed, with the addition of a new carpark and playground, and various other changes; while in the Senior School, a new facility, named Dalton Hall, has been developed. Dalton Hall houses a championship basketball court, with stadium seating, a modern weights room, a 25-metre, four-lane swimming pool and PDHPE classrooms. The school's next renovation will involve the creation of a recital hall and a redevelopment of the College Oval pavilion, at Willoughby.


Alumni of St Aloysius' are known as Old Boys, and may elect to join the school's alumni association, the St. Aloysius' College Old Boys' Union (SACOBU).[11] Of particular note, the former Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, and former Treasurer of Australia, Joe Hockey, both attended the college.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Jesuits: 150 years of ministry in Australia". AD2000. Retrieved 24 January 2008. 
  2. ^ "St Aloysius' College". School Choice. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 24 January 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c "Annual School Report 2006" (PDF). St. Aloysius' College. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  4. ^ Admissions Information
  5. ^ "AHISA Schools". Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 24 January 2008. 
  6. ^ "JSHAA New South Wales Directory of Members". Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. Retrieved 24 January 2008. 
  7. ^ "About St Aloysius' College". St Aloysius' College. Retrieved 24 January 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "History". St Aloysius' College. Retrieved 24 January 2008. 
  9. ^ "The Jesuit Tradition". St Aloysius' College. Retrieved 24 January 2008. 
  10. ^ Fr Peter Hans Kolvenbach SJ, Superior-General of the Society of Jesus. "The Characteristics of Jesuit Education" (1986)
  11. ^ "SACOBU". St Aloysius' College. Retrieved 24 January 2008. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Strong, D. 1997. The College By the Harbour: The History of St. Aloysius' College. Hale & Iremonger, Sydney. ISBN 0-86806-620-6.

External links[edit]