St John's College, Woodlawn

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St John's College, Woodlawn
SJC Woodlawn Crest.jpg
Woodlawn Road
Lismore, New South Wales
Type Catholic Marist Systemic Secondary
Motto Tenete Traditiones
"Hold fast to the traditions"
Established 1931
Founder Marist Fathers
School district Lismore Diocese
Principal Mr Chris Comerford
Chaplain Fr. Paul Pidcock
Faculty >100
Grades Year 7–12
Number of students 780
Campus Rural; 20 acres
Colour(s) Red, Green and Gold
Mascot Eagle
Accreditation Land Donated by Margaret Buckley
Newspaper Woodlawn Newsletter
Yearbook The Eagle
Affiliations Marists, Lismore Diocese
Aboriginal Land Bundjalung Region
Patron St John the Evangelist

St John's College, Woodlawn is a Catholic systemic secondary school, located in the rural area of "Woodlawn" on the outskirts of Lismore, New South Wales, Australia.

In the city of Lismore the four largest industries by employment are the retail sector, health care, education and agriculture. St John's College, originally an agricultural secondary school, has a major part in two of these sectors and of course participates indirectly in the others as well.

The school's name is often shortened to "Woodlawn" rather than being named fully. After 75 years the name is a source of pride and honour throughout the local and educational communities. The School was founded by the Marists who continue to play a role in the running of the school. The first lay Rector (Principal) is Glenn Roff who holds the role currently.


St John's College, Woodlawn, was founded from St. Patrick's College, Wellington, New Zealand in 1931. The Marists who began the school themselves originated in France in the early 19th century.

St John's College was formally opened in 1931 as a Boarding and Day school on land which was donated by Miss Margaret Buckley. The first Rector of the school was Fr Thomas Segrief S.M, Followed by Frs James Bell, John Kennedy, John Webber, Steven Maloney, Sid Mitchell, John Webber, Garry Reynolds, Lou Molloy, John Worthington, William Ryder, Ray Chapman – all priests of the Society of Mary and the current Principal is Mr Chris Comerford.

The College was described in the Northern Star on 25 May 1931:

"St John's Educational and Agricultural College at Woodlawn, on the outskirts of Lismore, and architectural jewel adorning the pastoral diadem of the North Coast, is destined to make history throughout all States of the Commonwealth. Its inspiration is eloquent tribute to the zeal, enthusiasm and practical outlook of that order of the Roman Catholic Church, the Marist Fathers."

For many years, St John was primarily a boarding school for boys. While most students came from country NSW, during the 1960s and 1970s, a substantial number of students came from Sabah, Malaysia.

The 75th anniversary[edit]

St John's College Woodlawn celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2006. The College held many events throughout the year to celebrate, ranging from the first "Woodlawn Race Day", to "St John's Youth Day" and formal ceremonies. The opening of the renovated Chapel was a central part of the ceremonies, with hundreds of Alumni returning to be a part of the celebrations. After the Woodlawn Race Day (also known as the Woodlawn Cup), the College executive in association with the Parents and Friends executive decided to hold the day annually.


  • Carroll: Green – Bishop of Lismore Diocese at the time of Woodlawn's establishment
  • Segrief: Red – First rector of the college
  • Bell: Yellow – Second rector
  • Kennedy: Blue – Third rector

Sporting heritage[edit]

St John's has a rich sporting heritage, evolving over the years from cricket and rugby league on the famous green ovals through to swimming with the installation of the 33 Yard swimming pool, further expansion to now include a large range of indoor and outdoor sports with the use of the college "Colin Centre" which is the indoor sports centre. The school also boasts tennis courts, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, squash courts, gymnasium, indoor soccer and cricket facilities and netball courts.

Woodlawn from the adjacent hill.

Significant days at Woodlawn[edit]

Opening Mass[edit]

The Opening Mass is the spiritual event marking the start of the new year. In recent years the Opening Mass has been held at the Lismore Cathedral to allow the entire school to attend and to include the Diocese in the events of the College. The Opening Mass also celebrates the new leaders in the College, the Prefects receive their badges of office, and the newly appointed Students' Representative Council is inducted for the year.

College Swimming Carnival[edit]

Woodlawn Swimming Carnival; at night with its great atmosphere.

It is regarded as being the most exciting, engaged and fun night of the college. It is known as the best swimming carnival in the Northern Rivers, and is the first event for the new year 12 to engage their new responsibilities. Some of the College's most significant moments have occurred in or at the pool, and is not an event to miss.

College Cross Country[edit]

The course varies between 3 and 5 Kilometres depending on year level and gender and also the time to beat varies, ranging from 30 to 40 minutes to earn extra points. The Cross Country is run over the rolling hills nearby and is easy to walk yet very challenging to run.

Year 12 Youth Day/St John's Day[edit]

St John's day has recently been combined with the college youth day to become "St John's Youth Day" and is the event where Year 12 takes control and has some fun with half the day dedicated to fun activities designed by Year 12s for the rest of the college to enjoy. The profits made from the events go back through the school in the fashion of the Year 12 gift at the end of their years.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]