St John's College

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St John's College was established in 1954 and for 33 years was administered by the De La Salle Brothers. In 1995 the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Board announced that, as part of restructuring of schools in the Bankstown - Lakemba districts, St John's College and MacKillop Girls High schools would close as single-sex schools, and in their place would emerge a co-educational college catering for students in Years 7 - 12. During 1996, the new College was named 'Holy Spirit College' and amalgamated in 1999.

The foundation stone of St John's College Lakemba was blessed and set by the late Sir Norman Thomas Cardinal Gilroy on 24 May 1953. It was opened by Bishop Patrick Lyons, then Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney and later Bishop of Sale, on Sunday 15 November 1953. School itself started on Wednesday 3 February 1954, with an enrolment of 345 pupils on the first day. These were divided into double classes: 4th, 5th and 6th. There was no chapel except for a spare room containing one of the classroom desks.

Within 4 months of the opening of the primary school, Monsignor O'Donnell began a further building of six classrooms. These were completed for the new year to cope with 120 new pupils. In three years the college reached an enrolment of 640, the school being staffed by 6 brothers and 4 lay teachers.

St Johns College Lakemba - History Regime 1954 - 1975

1953, 24 May Laying of the foundation stone - Cardinal Gilroy
1953, 15 November Completion and blessing of building - Bishop Lyons
1954, 3 February School opens with an enrolment of 345 pupils
1954 The Grotto and Statue of St De La Salle erected
1956 Construction of new toilets
1957 Beginnings of the oval
1958 Our first tram, No. 1839, arrived and laid to rest
1958 Brother Anselm decided not to go to Heaven after all
1960, 10 April Second block of classrooms opened
1960, 27 October Completion of handball courts
1962 Peak enrolment of 1008 pupils
1963 Uncertainty as to the school's future as the Wyndham Scheme is introduced
1964 Cardinal Gilroy assures a deputation that St John's would ramain open as a 4th Form School for boys
1966, 24 April Third-storey brick building completed
1966, 24 April Completion of the Monastery
1969 Completion of new Science block
1973 Retrenchment - with regret, the number of Brothers at St John's was reduced to two
1973 "Moylan's Meadow" opened. Completion of Brother Austin's new grassed playing area
1973, 18 August Opening of the new "staffroom/classroom" complex (formerly St John's Bowling Club building)
1974 Number of Brothers increases to three
1975 Completion of the new school library

Source: "St. John's College, Lakemba, a 40 year reflection, 1954-1994". ca 1994, Sydney, p. 17.


"The founding years of St. John's College, Lakemba, 1954-78, the first twenty-five years". ca 1978, Sydney.

"St. John's College, Lakemba, a 40 year reflection, 1954-1994". ca 1994, Sydney.