History

STRONG TOGETHER. IN OUR HISTORY.

Standing strong in the history of Catholic education in the city of Darwin is St John’s Catholic College.

For more than fifty years the College has served the Darwin community and beyond, providing exceptional education and pastoral care for both day and boarding students, spanning several generations.

A snapshot of our story…

  • Established as a boys’ school by the Bishop of Darwin in 1960, the College was founded on the edge of the Darwin Botanical Gardens and was led by Fr John Burford MSC.
  • The first boarding students arrived in 1966 under the leadership of Fr Cyril Connolly MSC.
  • Under the leadership of Fr John Phelan MSC from 1968 to 1973, the College expanded with new classrooms and manual arts and sporting facilities.
  • In 1972 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College was founded on the other side of St John’s College, separated by the Botanical Gardens. Led by Sr St Anne Daley FDNSC, the girls’ boarding residence was established under the leadership of the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Rosary.
  • Following the devastation caused by Cyclone Tracey in 1974, Fr Tyson Doneley decided that St John’s College should become co-educational and in the following years, he oversaw the construction of many new buildings including the library, auditorium, staff rooms and classrooms, along with subsequent Principals Fr Tony Bolt MSC and Fr John Franzmann MSC.
  • The Jubilee Hall was constructed to commemorate the College’s Silver Jubilee in 1985.
  • The College further developed to take in international boarding students and Indigenous boarding was expanded, under the leadership of Br Paul Brooks MSC.
  • Financial problems led the last MSC Principal, Fr Robert Irvine MSC to negotiate with the Catholic Education Office to take over the College from the MSC order.
  • Mr Gerard Keating, the first lay Principal of St John’s Catholic College was responsible for master planning the College for its future growth.
  • In 2003 Sr Phillipa Murphy FNDC was the last OLSH appointed Principal at St John’s and was responsible for introducing the Year 7 students into Middle School. She established a clear vision for the College that pursued its motto of being ‘Strong in Faith’, and expanded this vision to include education and tradition.

Today the College takes pride in the educational opportunities and standard of pastoral care provided. We are culturally diverse, pastorally-centred and futures-focused.

Our history is our tradition and our tradition is the foundation of our future.