St Joseph's College, Melbourne

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St Joseph's College Melbourne
SJC-NM Front.jpg
Melbourne, Victoria
Coordinates 37°48′14″S 144°57′17″E / 37.8039°S 144.9548°E / -37.8039; 144.9548Coordinates: 37°48′14″S 144°57′17″E / 37.8039°S 144.9548°E / -37.8039; 144.9548
Type Independent secondary school for boys
Motto Luceat Lux Vestra
('Let your light shine')
Established 1903
Founder Irish Christian Brothers
Closed December 2010
Classes Year 7 – 12
Campus North Melbourne and Pascoe Vale
Colour(s) Purple, White, Gold & Blue                 
Affiliation Roman Catholic, Christian Brothers, ACC

St Joseph's College Melbourne[1] was a Roman Catholic secondary college which opened early in 1903 and closed at the end of 2010. It was part of the Association of Edmund Rice schools, founded and run in the tradition of the Christian Brothers. Between the years 2000 and 2009 it formally operated two campuses, a senior campus (VCE and VET) located in Queensberry Street, North Melbourne, Victoria and a junior campus (Years 7 – 10), in Brearley Parade, Pascoe Vale, Victoria. These two campuses were previously known as St. Joseph's College, North Melbourne and St. Joseph's College, Pascoe Vale respectively.


College buildings, from left, Whelan Building, Les McCarthy wing and main building as seen from Queensberry Street, 2014

Throughout its life the school provided students, from a wide variety of cultural and economic backgrounds, with an opportunity to enter a range of careers. Many of its pupils went on to become respected members in their chosen fields which included the financial and business sectors, the medical profession, law and politics, industry, sporting and religious communities.

While the two campuses lacked the open playing fields of its wealthier cousins, students had access to a range of local facilities. The North Melbourne campus for example, close to the Melbourne City Centre, was within walking distance of world class universities, museums, libraries, historical and athletic venues. Likewise the Pascoe Vale campus was able to make use of several nearby ovals and both were close to excellent public transport links.


Swimming Team 1940, winners of the Walsh Shield. (Kevin Dynon, seated second from left)

Sport was an important ingredient in the education of boys attending North. The school had its own football squad as early as 1906 when it played its first match against Christian Brothers College, St Kilda at Albert Park where it scored 2 points.[2] As enrollments grew then so did the involvement in other sports, often in competition with other schools. Inter school athletics, handball and tennis competitions, such as those conducted by the Associated Catholic Secondary Schools organization, were held as early as 1914 when the College won the Athletics Championship for that year. Membership to organizations such as that and also the Combined Secondary Schools group, around 1920, was one of key features of the schools early history.

From 1948 the school began its close involvement with the Associated Catholic Colleges, or ACC, where it won competitions in various sports over the years. Their famous 70 meter long banners, North is Speed, Power, and a cheer squad, led by the Committee organizing War cries, or COW,[3] where notable features of the annual competitions at the Olympic Park Stadium.

St Joseph's College students also became members of one of the schools sporting houses or teams. These built on the existing pastoral class groupings to generate team spirit during sporting carnivals with students wearing their team colors. These houses, later named after four early headmasters of the college, were:

Hogan      McSweeney      Geoghegan      Kelly     

College crest[edit]

At the time of amalgamation in 2000 a new logo was developed to represent the College. This logo was composed of pre-existing elements which were representative of the school's history and philosophy. Set on a traditional heraldic background, in the form of a shield, it features a rampant Gryphon protecting a smaller inner shield bearing a large shining star, a symbol used by the Christian Brothers, supported by smaller stars in the shape of the southern cross. The entire design sits above a ribbon which includes the words, "Luceat Lux Vestra".[4] The symbol appeared on the newly designed College uniform, which included a blazer after a lapse of a number of years, and various College medallions. The logo was used extensively on College publications and documents including Cynosura, the annual school magazine.

Associated schools[edit]

Over its long 107-year history the college was associated with a number of schools at one time or another. These included many primary, or feeder schools, to which the college Old Boys Association offered scholarships up until the 1950s. The school also had connections with a number of higher secondary colleges such as St Kevin's and Parade, East Melbourne. Although not exhaustive this list includes most of those known.

- Schools -
St Oliver Plunkett (Pascoe Vale) St Paul's (Coburg) St Fidelis (Moreland)
St Mark's (Fawkner) St Matthew's (North Fawkner) St Thomas More (Hadfield)
Corpus Christi (Glenroy) St Joseph's (West Brunswick) St Monica's (Moonee Ponds)
St Brendan's (Flemington) St. Augustine's College, Yarraville St Columba's Primary (Essendon)
Trinity College (Brunswick) St Mary's Primary School, West Melbourne Cathedral College (East Melbourne)
Therry College (Broadmeadows) St Thomas' (Clifton Hill) St Joseph's (North Fitzroy)
St Joseph's Technical School, Abbotsford St Joseph's Technical School (South Melbourne) St Kevin's College (Toorak)
St George's School, Carlton St Ambrose's School, Brunswick

College history[edit]


Junior students classroom circa 1913

St. Joseph's owes its early beginnings, in part, to the establishment of St Mary's Primary School, West Melbourne some 50 years earlier. With high numbers of Catholic children in the area needing education, members of the Christian Brothers were asked to take control of existing schools at West Melbourne and at Carlton. At the same time they were to establish a Brothers community and a secondary school in Queensberry Street, North Melbourne and this was completed by the end of 1902. This 'community house' was the residence of Brothers teaching at St. Mary's, St. George's (Carlton), St. Joseph's, and for a time, St. Augustine's College, Yarraville. The total cost of the building and furnishings was a little over £4516, £3000 of which was provided by local parish priests. The combined enrolment of St. Mary's, St, Joseph's and St. George's was 550 boys in 1903.[5]

In January 1903, Christian Brothers' High School, as it was then known, opened with an enrolment of 44 students. Staffed by three Christian Brothers, that number had grown to 112 by the beginning of 1904. Students were divided into eight classes; Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth, a Commercial Class, Sub-Matriculation and Matriculation Class.[6]

The first Principal was Br. William J Hogan, followed by Br. Francis A Kelly in 1904 and Br. Matthew A Geoghegan in 1908.[7] The first football team, featuring a large white star on its guernsey, was formed around 1906 and began a long tradition of involvement in a variety of sports. A year earlier a brick and concrete handball court had been built at the school and over the next five decades hosted State and Interstate handball championships at various times.

Early school Annuals indicate a variety of titles to identify the school and it was not until 1912 that the name "St. Joseph's" was formally added.[8] Even though its naming varied slightly over the years, the school was more simply known to its students as "North".

St Joseph's CBC North Melbourne, Queensberry Street circa 1928.

In 1913 the North Old Boys Association was formed [7] to assist the school in serving its expanding school population (200 pupils in 1909) and the increasing need for finances as the period after the First World War was an economically difficult one. In the early years both Primary and Secondary school classes were conducted on the Queensberry Street site. The school was able to achieve impressive educational results from its pupils in Junior and Senior University and Public Service Examinations as results published in early Annuals show.[8]

Between 1918 and 1941, students wishing to study for their Leaving Certificate had to do so at St. Kevin's College. By 1921 the enrollment stood at 174 and handball had become the leading sport and both public and school tournaments were frequently held on the handball court.

Athletics Shield winners 1930. (Left to Right) B.Curran, R.Skinner, K.Bye, Mr.Pemberton, J.Hibbert, R.Dalman


By 1940 the Christian Brothers' felt that the school had expanded to the point where it was able to take over the provision of night classes in a Catholic Accountancy school for young men in the Melbourne area. The classes started with 40 or 50 students but expanded, post war, to around 200 and provided study allowing its pupils to attain membership to the Australian Society Of Accountants. Hundreds of young men attended there until 1969 when the night school closed.[2]

1951 saw the first Matriculation class of 23 students graduate from the College which meant that it had attained full secondary school status.[7] During the Golden Jubilee year of 1953, 122 boys were members of the College Cadet unit and provided a martial spectacle as they paraded before visiting dignitaries. Arthur Calwell, a prominent politician and old boy, was a guest speaker on one occasion as was Archbishop Daniel Mannix.[2]

The Preparatory College ready for its first students.

During the 1950s the growing school population, due partly to the post War migration boom, forced the college to purchase land and eventually build a second school in the suburb of Pascoe Vale. In 1956 the Preparatory College, as it was then known, opened under the guidance of Br. Ernest S Crowle as principal, who was himself an old boy of the College. In its early years it provided tuition in Grades 4, 5, 6 and Form 1 and had an initial enrolment of 274. By 1970 the school had become entirely secondary with classes comprising Form 1 to 4. Traditionally students completed their "junior" studies (Grades 7 to 10) at Pascoe Vale and then transferred to the "senior" campus in North Melbourne.

From its early beginnings the College was heavily involved in a range of sports and Australian Rules Football in particular. North's football teams were often considered tough opponents both within the local school competition and the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) as the North Old Boys Amateur Football Club, or NOB's, which it rejoined in 1964 after a lapse in membership. In 2005 the North club amalgamated with St Patrick's College, Ballarat to become North Old Boys St. Parick's College Amateur Football Club.[9]


During the later 1970s, 80s and into the 1990s, the Preparatory School in Pascoe Vale South, also known as St. Joseph's Junior College, with enrolments averaging around 490, took on a more independent identity to eventually be known as St. Joseph's College, Pascoe Vale. It had a separate administration, principal, School Board, registration number, logo and annual magazine, known as Scythia, to set it apart from its parent school, North.[7]

Beginning in 1997 preliminary discussions regarding the future of the two schools took place with a view to ensuring their continuing viability. The major issues included enrolments, student welfare, administrative structures, curriculum, staffing and finances. In 1998 the outcome of talks and independent reviews was that the schools should amalgamate within two years in order to remain a relevant and viable educational entity.[7]

The year 2000 saw the two sites formally amalgamated under a new name and banner to become the one College. It retained the traditional College colours of purple and white and College motto. A common uniform, which included a navy blue blazer with monogramed logo, became mandatory. In 2003 the total student population was approximately 750 cared for by a single Principal, two Campus Directors and 92 staff.[10]

Quadrangle St Joseph's Pascoe Vale campus

By 2008 the decision was made by Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) and the Christian Brothers to begin a phased closure of the College. The reasons behind the closure included falling enrolments (570 students),[11] amenities and plant which had become outdated and partly rundown and issues related to student management and involvement.[12] At the end of 2009 the Pascoe Vale campus closed and was stripped of any saleable assets; much was simply dumped leaving only the buildings. Those students who had stayed on were offered places, with some concessions, at other Catholic schools for the continuation of their studies. Likewise, staff, if they wished, were seconded to other schools prior to being declared redundant at the end of 2010. A number of past students were saddened by the closure of the school, they, and many parents, felt more could have been done by the Christian Brothers and EREA to allow it to remain open.

During an address given in 2002 the leader of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, Br Philip Pinto, alluded to another reason for the changes needed to the existing College structure. In that address he urged his fellow Brothers to return to Edmund Rice's vision; a renewed commitment to young people on the margins of society. It is best summed up in the following, "to look at life from the standpoint of the minority, the victim, the outcast, and the stranger. In doing so we will be giving hope to those who presently have little hope."[13]

Dark days[edit]

In 2004 a former principal of St Joseph's Preparatory College, Pascoe Vale, Br Keith Weston, pleaded guilty to, and was convicted of, a number of assault cases. These cases related to students who attended Christian Brothers led organizations and schools.[14] Weston died in 2014 before he could be interviewed by Victoria Police concerning other cases of assault which had been brought to their attention. His actions and those of others were acknowledged during a closure event at the Pascoe Vale campus in 2009.

Br Julian McDonald, in a newsletter published by the Christian Brothers, writes, "For us Christian Brothers, accepting the truth will mean acknowledging that a significant number of us have abused children in our care sexually, emotionally and physically. Abuse is, indeed, part of our sinful history." Br Weston was not alone as a minority of the members of the Congregation at a few schools also caused much hurt; as McDonald says in way of explaining this, "... far too many [were] ill-equipped and ill-formed..."[15] On June 1, 2017, Dr Wayne Tinsey, speaking for Edmund Rice Education Australia, made a formal apology to victims of sexual abuse who were also past students of Christian Brothers schools across the country.[16]

Post 2010[edit]

St Joseph's FLC, Queensberry Street North Melbourne

In 2010 extensive refurbishment work was carried out on the Pascoe Vale site by its new owners and later reopened as Saint Joseph Campus of Antonine College. At the end of the 2010 academic year the North Melbourne campus closed with a final Commemorative Mass and a range of ceremonies attended by current and past students and staff. In 2011 the site was temporarily closed as plans for a new learning center were formulated.

At the beginning of 2012 St. Joseph's Flexible Learning Centre opened at the old St. Joseph's site in North Melbourne. It is part of the Youth Plus Network managed by Edmund Rice Education Australia and is just one of many such centers around Australia. Its aim is to, provide young people with an opportunity to re-engage in education in a supported learning environment. [17] At the end of the 2014 academic year 292 students were officially enrolled full-time at the Centre to work with the 50 staff, made up of teachers, social workers and support staff.[18]


Australian rules football[edit]

'North' produced more than 50 Victorian Football League players, some of whom are listed below. A number of others also played with the Victorian Football Association, other major leagues or served as coaches or administrators.


Bob Santamaria and Archbishop Beovich c1943

More than 100 boys were to become ordained priests representing ten different religious Orders. Of this number, four went on to become Bishops.[7]


One of five marble boards honouring past student achievers.

More than 75 past pupils served in the army during World War I. Of those 16 died while on active service. During World War II over 780 past pupils served in the military forces; 28 died on active service and ten became prisoners of war.[20]

Politics and public service[edit]


The 1931 College Athletics Squad Champions, Batt Curran centre

College Principals[edit]

School song and War cry[edit]

School song

Give a cheer for CBC, thro the years her fame has grown.
Her grand ideals have enhanced her name,
bearing fruit wherever seed is sown.
Ev'ry rank and walk of life, has noble sons
who'll e'er be true
Ready to stand in peace and strife,
beside the standard of purple and white.
Purple and white are the colours we love,
Excelsior they seem to say,
And beckon us to reach the heights above.
Faith gives her light with the torch burning bright,
Its flame guiding us to do and dare,
That North may be beyond compare.

by Br Bernard Murphy (1946)

War cry

Caddaburra, Wirracanna, Yarrawonga, Yah !
Tallangatta, Wangaratta, Oodnadatta Aah !
Nulla Gulla, Wulla Gulla, Wish Bang Wah !
Cynosura, Cynosura, Yah, Yah, Yah !
North, North, Yah, Yah . . N O R T H . . North !
Caddaburra, Wirracanna, Yarrawonga, Yah !
Tallangatta, Wangaratta, Oodnadatta Aah !
Nulla Gulla, Wulla Gulla, Wish Bang Wah !
Cynosura, Cynosura, Yah, Yah, Yah !
North, North, Yah, Yah . . N O R T H . . North ![7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Catholic Education Melbourne; Our schools (webpage) retrieved on 14 May 2015 from
  2. ^ a b c d e Review of St. Joseph's Christian Brothers' College North Melbourne, Golden Jubilee 1903–1953, The College magazine Cynosura. St Joseph's College, North Melbourne
  3. ^ North 1980. (St. Joseph's College Magazine, First publication since 1953) North Melbourne, St Josephs, North Melbourne
  4. ^ St Josephs College Melbourne 2000. (magazine) St Josephs College, North Melbourne
  5. ^ "Christian Brothers' High Schools, North Melbourne". The Advocate. Melbourne. 25 April 1903. p. 16. Retrieved 11 November 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ Christian Brothers' High School, North Melbourne. The Advocate 26 December 1903. Page 15. Retrieved on 9 March 2015 from
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Stewart, Ronald (2000) The Spirit of North 1903–2000. St Joseph's College Melbourne, North Melbourne
  8. ^ a b Christian Brothers College, St Josephs, North Melbourne: The Tenth Annual Report, Prospectus and Prize List. St Joseph's College, North Melbourne
  9. ^ Programmable Soda. "Local Football Club - List". Australian Football. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  10. ^ Cynosura 2003 (Centenary Edition) St Josephs College Melbourne, North Melbourne
  11. ^ Cynosura 2008. St Josephs College Melbourne, North Melbourne
  12. ^ Smith, Anthony (2010) The Spirit Continues 2000–2010. St Joseph's College Melbourne, North Melbourne
  13. ^ Address by Br Philip Pinto CFC, Congregational Leader of the Christian Brothers, delivered in New York, 2002. (Webpage) Retrieved on November 25, 2015 from
  14. ^ Christian Brother avoids jail. The Age. November 29, 2004. Retrieved on June 13, 2015 from
  15. ^ Julian McDonald, 2013. Meeting a difficult challenge. in Oceania Updates. Vol. 6 No. 127. Christian Brothers, Oceania Province.
  16. ^ Wrigley, Brendan. 'Shameful reality': Apology for victims of sex abuse at Christian Brothers schools. Retrieved on June 3, 2017 from
  17. ^ Edmund Rice Education Australia (2011) Flexible Learning Centre. Retrieved on 1 September 2012 from
  18. ^ 2014 Annual Report to the School Community. St Joseph's Flexible Learning Centre, North Melbourne, 2015. Retrieved on May 28, 2016 from
  19. ^ "Catholics In Honours List". Advocate. LXXXVI, (5106). Victoria, Australia. 4 June 1953. p. 2. Retrieved 4 May 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  20. ^ Talbot, Christopher (2014) Northern Sons under the Southern Cross. [Blog entry] Retrieved on 1 January 2014 from
  21. ^ Kilpatrick, Rod (2012) Leonard, Sir Reginald Byron (1907–1986), Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol. 18 MUP, 2012.
  22. ^ Carmody, John (2012) "Pitney, William Robert (1921–1986)". Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol 18. MUP, 2012
  23. ^ "Terry Freeman on why Flemington comes up roses". 14 May 2015.
  24. ^ David Dunstan, 'Connelly, Sir Francis Raymond (1895–1949)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 8 June 2014
  25. ^ "Members Search".
  26. ^ Kozlowski, Jolanta (2010) List of Past Principals. (archival research notes) St. Joseph's College Melbourne, North Melbourne

External links[edit]