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St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill

St Joseph's College
St Josephs College
Coordinates33°49′54″S 151°8′20″E / 33.83167°S 151.13889°E / -33.83167; 151.13889
TypeIndependent single-sex secondary day and boarding school
MottoLatin: In Meliora Contende[1]
(Strive Strive for better things)
Religious affiliation(s)
DenominationRoman Catholicism
Established1881; 143 years ago (1881)[2]
Educational authorityNew South Wales Department of Education
HeadmasterMichael Blake[3]
ChaplainGavin Foster
YearsYear 712
Enrolmentc. 1,000 (2006)[4]
Campus size4.45 hectares (11.0 acres)
Campus typeSuburban
Colour(s)Cerise and blue   
NicknameJoeys; SJC

St Joseph's College (abbreviated as SJC and commonly called Joeys) is an independent Roman Catholic single-sex secondary day and boarding school for boys, conducted in the Marist Brothers tradition, 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 2000 students from Year 7 to Year 12,[4] including over 750 boarders, making it the largest all boys boarding school in Australia,[5] and one of the largest in the southern hemisphere.[6]

The College is affiliated with the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[7] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA),[2] the Association of Marist Schools of Australia (AMSA),[8] and is a founding member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS).[9]

In 2006, Joeys saw the appointment of its first lay headmaster, Ross Tarlinton, who served from 2006 to 2017. He was succeeded in 2018 by another layman, Christopher Hayes and now Michael Blake.



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, 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.[citation needed]

On 29 July 1881, the Headmaster, Emilian Pontet, moved the schools location from Harrington Street to Hunters Hill, founding St Joseph's College in a temporary wooden building with a student population of 55.[citation needed] 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]

These events took place in the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo[12][circular reference], the transition of NSW from a penal colony to a free settlement under the Governorship of Macquarie[13][circular reference], the broader context of Victorian Era politics and activity from London such as Saint Joseph's Missionary Society of Mill Hill founded in 1866 by future Cardinal Herbert Alfred Vaughan.[14] 19th Century Bishops such as Polding and Ullathorne were faithful witnesses to much missionary endeavour and Australia ceased being a mission territory simultaneously with Pope Paul VI writing to all the faithful of the entire world in "Evangelii Nuntiandi" on 8 December 1975.[15]


The following individuals have served as Headmaster of St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill:

Ordinal Officeholder Term start Term end Time in office Notes
1 Brother Emilian Pontet 1881 1890 8–9 years
2 Br Stanislaus Healy 1890 1894 3–4 years
3 Br Basil (Kelly) 1895 1897 1–2 years
4 Br Denis (Reilly) 1897 1902 4–5 years
5 Br Clement (Murray) 1902 1909 6–7 years
6 Br Victor (Ludeke) 1909 1912 2–3 years
7 Br Borgia (Coughlan) 1913 1917 3–4 years
8 Br Osmund (Rice) 1918 1920 1–2 years
9 Br George (O'Meara) 1921 1923 1–2 years
10 Br Brendan (Hill) 1924 1925 0–1 years
11 Br Gerard (O'Donoghue) 1925 1927 1–2 years
12 Br Clement (Murray) 1928 1928 0 years
13 Br Denis 1928 1932 3–4 years
14 Br Placid (Gilchrist) 1932 1934 1–2 years
15 Br Louis (Hughes) 1935 1940 4–5 years
16 Br Gerard (O'Donoghue) 1941 1941 0 years
17 Br Angelus (McKinley) 1942 1947 4–5 years
18 Br Louis (Hughes) 1948 1950 1–2 years
19 Br Quentin (Duffy) 1951 1954 2–3 years
20 Br Othmar Weldon 1955 1961 5–6 years
21 Br Elias 1962 1967 4–5 years
22 Br Gildas (born Robert Goodwin) 1968 1970 1–2 years
23 Br Alman Dwyer 1971 1976 4–5 years
24 Br Geoffrey Joy 1977 1982 4–5 years
25 Br Joseph McMahon 1983 1991 7–8 years
26 Br Ernest Houston 1992 2000 7–8 years
27 Br Paul Hough 2001 2006 4–5 years
28 Ross Tarlinton 2006 2017 10–11 years
29 Christopher Hayes 2018 2020[16] 1–2 years [17]
30 Michael Blake 2021 - -


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.[18] 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. Charles Gilbert Heydon was the brother of Louis Francis Heydon MLC,[19] for a time the Australasian President of the St Vincent de Paul Society. Louis died on 17 May 1918 at his residence "Kentigern" at Mary Street Hunters Hill with a requiem mass at Villa Maria followed by a burial at the Field of Mars Cemetery. The Society report[20] for the completed 1907 year refers to 10 new conferences in NSW, one being at St Joseph's College Hunters Hill – being the "first collegiate conference in the circumscription".

Today the College is situated on a 16-hectare (40-acre) campus overlooking the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers, in suburban Hunter's Hill, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the Sydney central business district.[5] 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 Health Centre, Common Room, the College 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

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

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 football. The main playing fields are housed 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. The Park complex also contains 8 tennis courts. It is considered the best school in the GPS currently as it has the most wins.

On the main school campus there are five basketball courts, three playing fields (referred to as the 'back ovals'), a number of cricket nets, a swimming pool, two gymnasiums (for basketball 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

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. The director is Paul Bryant.

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


Marist Brothers

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, followed by Dr Chris Hayes in 2017.

In 2019, the College farewelled the last teaching Marist Brother, Br Anthony Boyd (1969), who after 40 years of service at the College (23 as Deputy Headmaster), retired from his duties at the College.

Sexual abuse allegations

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,[21] began an investigation into the response of Marist Brothers to allegations of child sexual abuse in schools in the ACT, NSW and Queensland.[22] 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[23] that the alleged cases of abuse happened during the 1970s and 1980s at Daramalan College, Canberra, at Lismore, Campbelltown and in Far North Queensland.[24][25][26][27]

In March 2015 a former Marist brother, Francis William Cable, known as Brother Romuald 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.[28]

In 2021, a Marist Brother John Patrick O'Brien who worked at the school in the 1970's was convicted of a number of child sexual abuses which occurred at the school.[29] On 5 November 2021, O’Brien was given a head sentence of 7 years 9 months, 5 years non parole and is available for parole on 14 April 2026.[30]


With a boarding population of approximately 500, SJC is the largest boarding school for boys 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 also has the reputation of being a very strong sporting school.

Joeys 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 The Associated Schools (CAS) during the lead-up to each season, and as a member of the GPS (in GPS v CAS matches) at the end of each season.

The Joeys boatshed is in Tarban Creek, a short walk from the College

GPS sports include athletics, Australian rules football, basketball, cricket, cross country, football (soccer), tennis, rowing, rugby union, swimming, and water polo.

Rugby union

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.[31] 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 2019, where the college won their 56th 1st XV premiership while the 2nd XV and 3rd XV were also undefeated to win their premierships.[32]


St Joseph's has a storied history in AAGPS Football, winning premierships in both the 1st & 2nd XI in the inaugural competition in 1988. The College has won four 1st XI premierships (1988, 1997, 2012, 2022, 2023) and three 2nd XI premierships (1988, 1998, 2012).[33] The 'Lower Park' complex was refurbished in 2019 with a new grandstand and dugouts, and hosts one of the premier natural turf Football pitches in Sydney.

'Lower Park' at the Park complex.


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.[34] The College's 1st VIII victory in the 2015 race ended a drought dating back to 1973 at the AAGPS Head of the River. Joeys again won in 2024 with a great victory in the AAGPS Head of the river. [35]

Notable alumni: 'Old Boys'

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).[36]

See also


  1. ^ "Schools acting to protect their trade marks". Catholic Resources. CathNews. 15 March 2004. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  2. ^ a b "St Joseph's College". New South Wales Schools. Australian Boarding Schools Association. 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  3. ^ "Headmaster's Welcome". St Joseph's College. St Joseph's College. Retrieved 10 January 2023.
  4. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Home. St Joseph's College. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  5. ^ a b "St Joseph's College Hunters Hill". New South Wales. School Choice. 2007. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  6. ^ Boarding – St Joseph's College Accessed 3 July 2009
  7. ^ "AHISA Schools". New South Wales. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. April 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  8. ^ "Member School Links". About AMSA. Association of Marist Schools of Australia. 2007. Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ Hogan, James Francis, The Irish in Australia, 1887. Reproduced by Project Gutenberg (retrieved 15 June 2006).
  11. ^ Meliora Life ed II
  12. ^ Battle of Waterloo
  13. ^ Lachlan Macquarie
  14. ^ Waldersee, James (1983). A Grain of Mustard Seed. Chevalier Press. ISBN 0-86940-437-7.
  15. ^ "Evangelii Nuntiandi (December 8, 1975) | Paul VI".
  16. ^ Chrysanthos, Natassia (2020), Sydney Morning Herald (published 2 October 2020)
  17. ^ A Century of Striving: St Joseph's College Hunters Hill 1881-1981, Br Michael Naughtin, (1981) p. 356
  18. ^ "History". The College. St Joseph's College. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  19. ^ "Obituary – Louis Francis Heydon – Obituaries Australia". Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  20. ^ ""New Scope for Benevolence"". Freeman's Journal: 35. 15 October 1908 – via
  21. ^ "Letters Patent". Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  22. ^ "Case Study 13, June 2014, Canberra". Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Marszalek, Jessica (11 June 2014). "Northern links in royal commission into child sexual abuse at Marist Brothers school". Cairns Post. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "A Marist Brother is convicted regarding offences at a prominent Sydney school". Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  30. ^ Rawsthorne, Sally (5 November 2021). "Former St Joseph's College teacher John Patrick O'Brien jailed for abusing boys 50 years ago". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  31. ^ Australian Schools Rugby
  32. ^ Kimber, Ben (22 June 2006). "Five-eighth prodigy is total package". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  33. ^ "Premiership & Plate History | AAGPS". Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  34. ^ Guerin, Andrew (2018). "Sydney Rows". History of Australian Rowing. Archived from the original on 25 August 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  35. ^ "Rowing NSW Regattas". Retrieved 5 April 2024.
  36. ^ "Welcome to the SJC Old Boys' Union". Home. St Joseph's College Old Boys' Union. 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.


  • 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).
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St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill
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