Marking 150 years

This year, we celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Marist contribution to Catholic education in Australia. For 150 years, this contribution has been steadfast in its commitment to Saint Marcellin’s vision – to make Jesus known and loved - through the work of literally thousands of faith-filled Marist Brothers and Marist lay teachers and staff, and hundreds and thousands of parents and students.

Attached are some initial photos relating to the Marist Brothers’ congregation in Australia over this time. 

Br Ludovic was the first leader of the Brothers whose main achievement was the recruitment of many local Australians into the Brothers. 

From 1883-1910, Marist Brothers ran a network of boys’ primary schools in the inner suburbs of Sydney. There was no government financial assistance to pay for lay teachers – it was left to the religious orders – if the Catholic system was to survive.

Look at how young the brother was. The boys’ faces reflect their harsh working. Despite a few shy grins, one has the impression there was not much joy in their lives. They were wearing their best clothes for ‘photo day’, but these don’t amount to much. 

Cadets was a popular activity, financed mostly by the parents. They don’t look too comfortable carrying guns.

Community life for the Brothers was highly structured in the early days. Many worked in boarding schools, taught a full teaching load, supervised study at night and coached weekend sport along with a disciplined spiritual life. 

Many large Catholic families believed at least one child would be given to the Church. For many families, joining the juniorate was the only way a child could receive a quality education. Some boys entered as young as 12.

In 1972, large numbers of Brothers gathered at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill to celebrate the Centenary of the Brothers’ involvement in Australia. 

Marist Brothers’ High School Darlinghurst, pictured in 1911, has now been demolished, replaced with apartments. When it closed in 1968, Marist College Canberra opened, inheriting their colours and school crest, along with the stain glass window at the school entrance which now resides in the Chapel and in one of our stairwells.

At the start of 1968, the College's Junior School building were not quite complete.