History of St Paul's

St Paul's Catholic College, Manly was formerly known as Christian Brothers College Manly and was originally situated in Raglan Street, Manly. Following a request in 1924 by Father John McDonald for the establishment of a Christian Brothers community, the school opened on 29th January 1929 accommodating 123 pupils. The first community comprised Br T Bourke (Superior) and Brothers Costello, O'Connor and Gygar, their work being to bring Catholic education to boys of the parish, ensuring no child "would be excluded from the school because of the inability or unwillingness of his parents or guardians to pay school fees". By 1933 numbers had risen to 250 pupils, with football, cricket, swimming, athletics, boxing and wrestling tournaments a feature of school life along with annual concerts and pupils were passing the Intermediate and Leaving Certificates.

In 1945, as a result of World War II, the Army Cadet Corps was formed and played a prominent part in school life until it was disbanded in 1962. The drum and bugle band marched the school at special assemblies and played regularly at local ANZAC services, whilst the senior and junior school choirs sang weekly at Mass and Benediction in Manly.

In March 1964, His Eminence Cardinal Gilroy told the Brothers he wanted them to put their secondary school in the grounds of the St Patrick's Estate, where the present College sits, whilst he continued to reside in the adjoining residence. The foundation Principal of the Secondary College was Br W Simmons, himself a former pupil of Christian Brothers, Raglan Street (1933-1937) and later to become Director of Education for the Archdiocese of Sydney. The new school was built and fully resourced at a cost of Pounds125,000 and was opened and blessed by His Eminence Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney, and indeed, during 1970, Year 12 classes were held in the dining room of the Cardinal's Residence.

During the latter part of the 1970's major College extensions were undertaken, including the construction of six classrooms, art and craft rooms, two science laboratories, a library, theatrette, audio-visual room and large geography room.

In 1982 the Christian Brothers withdrew and the first lay Principal, Mr Brian Mayne was appointed. For the first time, the College was fully staffed by lay people employed by the Archdiocese of Sydney. In 1986 the Diocese of Broken Bay was formed and presently St Paul's, as well as the Parish of Manly, forms part of this Diocese.

In June 2005, following lengthy negotiations between the College Principal, Mr A Martin and the Catholic Schools Office, the College administration and a large portion of the staff moved into the magnificently restored Cardinal's Residence, thus freeing up much needed space for additional classrooms within the school premises.

In 2014 the College celebrated 85 years of educating boys from the Manly Peninsula and the College enrolments exceeded 680, for the first time in the high school's proud history. In response to the growing needs of the College and confirming its long term viability, a multi-purpose hall was completed early in 2016.


'The School in the Cardinal's Backyard'

Click here to read the article delivered by Brother Frank Cruice in July 2008.

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