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CATHOLIC SECONDARY EDUCATION IN BURNIE 1900-2014

Marist Regional College was founded in 1972.  It grew from the amalgamation of Stella Maris Regional Girls’ College, run by the Sisters of Mercy, and Marist College run by the Marist Fathers. The Marist Fathers and the Sisters of Mercy have combined their work in Catholic secondary education in Burnie through their commitment to Marist Regional College. The school is co-educational and accepts students from Year 7 to Year 12. It is a regional school and enrols students from the West Coast to Circular Head to Ulverstone.

1900

Mother Augustine Molloy, Sister Mary Josephine Gwydir, and Sister Evangelist Cody of the Sisters of Mercy, arrived in Burnie in January and commenced classes in the Star of the Sea Church with 90 pupils (including some secondary) and continued there until 1912. Desks needed to be packed away at the end of each week and replaced with the church seats ready for Sunday Mass. Sisters M. Josephine, Gabriel, Evangelist and Ignatius were the first Sisters of Mercy to teach at the school.

1912

Foundation stone for the new school, Stella Maris, situated next to the Star of the Sea Church was laid on 19 May 1912 and the official opening of the three school rooms was held on 27 October 1912.

1951

The foundation stone was laid for a new Stella Maris wing. By this time the school population had grown to almost 300 pupils, due largely to the establishment of the Associated Pulp and Paper Mills complex at South Burnie.

1952

The new school building at Stella Maris, costing £17,000, welcomed 350 pupils at the start of the new school year. Official opening was held in August.

1953

Official registration of Stella Maris Regional College as a secondary school. By this time there were more than 500 pupils from prep to matriculation.

1956

Archbishop Young placed the Burnie parish in the care of the Society of Mary. This was the start of a religious, educational and social association between the Sisters of Mercy and the Marist Fathers in Burnie. The first Marist Parish Priest was Fr John Smith and his assistant was Fr Vincent McCabe. They officially took over the parish on 17 March.

1958

The decision was made by the Provincial of the Marist Order, Fr James Harcombe, to build a boys college costing ‘at least £100,000' on land purchased in 1955 by the Archdiocese. The foundation stone was laid on 23 November.

1959

Marist College was officially opened on 15 November by His Grace, Reverend Guilford Young, Archbishop of Hobart with Fr HF Davis as Rector. The College had commenced with an enrolment of 90 boys. Archbishop Young was the Patron of the College.

1960

The Marist College magazine The Sword was first published, named after the instrument used to martyr St James, patron saint of the College. Student population was 150.

1962

Marist College band was formed under the leadership of Mr Leo O’Donnell and Fr Geoffrey Till.

1964

Marist College joined the Independent Schools’ Association of Tasmania. School population was 321.

1965

Construction of the new Stella Maris Regional Girls College began on land next to Marist College.

1966

In March Stella Maris Regional Girls College opened with Sr Florence (Sr Marie Kehoe) as Principal. Official Opening was held on 19 June. Co-educational classes commenced with a small number of girls attending Marist College for lessons.

1967

Marist College student numbers had grown to 383. The College successfully applied to become an internal accrediting school; that is, the first Independent School in Tasmania to gain authority to conduct the Schools Board internally. Archbishop Young unveiled the bronze statue of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, situated on the outside wall of the Chapel. Costing $1300, it was the work of Sydney artist Stephen Moore. It was donated by Mrs M. Whelan of Burnie in memory of her husband Joseph.

1969

The pavilion at the oval was completed and two squash courts were built as a commercial venture.

1971

The first steps were taken in the planning of the new Marist Regional College. At that time Sr Cecilia Bridgman was the Principal of Stella Maris Regional Girls College and Fr Bernard Hosie was the Principal of Marist College.

1972

Amalgamation of the two Colleges took place. There were four Sisters of Mercy and eight Marist priests on staff at this time. Marist Regional College opened with 555 students; 405 boys (an all-time high), and 150 girls. Boarder numbers (boys only) were 130. With the amalgamation came the new College crest. From Stella Maris Regional College came the star, symbol of Mary, the patroness. From Marist College came the monogram AM, monogram of Mary, from whose name was derived the name ‘Marist’. The College motto becomes 'Love the Truth'.  The annual College magazine changed its name from The Sword to Kalori, an Aboriginal term meaning ‘message stick’. The financial affairs of the College were taken over by a Board under the direct control of Archbishop Guilford Young.

1975

This was the last year boarders were accepted at Marist Regional College.

1985

Sr Joan Thomas, who had joined the staff at Marist Regional College in 1983 as Deputy Principal, was appointed Principal replacing Fr Garry Reynolds. She was the first female to be appointed to this position and the first female Principal of a co-educational secondary college in Tasmania.

1991

Fr Ray Chapman was appointed Principal of the College and Sr Anne Arundel appointed as Deputy Principal, continuing the involvement of the Sisters of Mercy at the College.

1993

Fr Bill Ryder was appointed Principal of the College and served the College until 2000.

1998

Due to the shortage of nuns available to lead the College, the Sisters of Mercy withdrew from co-congregational responsibility of the College. The Sisters of Mercy continued to be represented on the staff of the College with the presence of Sr Kathlyn O’Brien in the role of family liaison. Sr Kathlyn began her ministry at the College in 1998 having taught at Stella Maris 1967-71, and left in March 2011.

2000

Governance of the College moved from the Society of Mary to the Marist Regional College Governing Council, led by Archbishop Adrian Doyle, with membership made up of a representative of the Marist Fathers, a representative of the Sisters of Mercy, Director of Catholic Education and two local representatives.

2001

Fr Patrick Kervin was appointed Principal.

2003

Mrs Susan Chen (Acting Principal from June 2002) was appointed as the first lay Principal. At the end of the year the College farewelled the last Marist Father to teach full time, Fr. Paul Pearce when he resigned from his position held at the College. The Colin Theatre, named after Jean-Claude Colin, co-founder of the Society of Mary, was opened in October 2003 as a result of the refurbishment of the Science Demonstration Room. The theatre has seating for 138 and a range of information technologies to enable large group presentations.

2004

Refurbishment and extensions enabled the development of a second Home Economics kitchen and improved MDT facilities. These were required as a result of increasing student enrolments.

2005

Fr Garry Reynolds, a former Principal at the College, was welcomed as the College Chaplain.

2007

On 15 March, the College gymnasium, the Harcombe Centre, was blessed and opened by Archbishop Adrian Doyle.  The $3.6 million complex, consisting of two classrooms, kitchen, bathroom facilities, double stadium, weights room, staff room and storage, was named after Fr James Harcombe SM to commemorate his work as Australian Provincial from 1954 to 1959 and his involvement in the decision to build and govern a Marist college in Burnie. On 6 December, the Performing Arts Centre, Conway Hall, was blessed by Archbishop Adrian Doyle and opened by Dr Dan White, Director of Catholic Education.  The hall was named after Sr Mary Sabina Conway RSM, Sister of Mercy and music teacher in Burnie for 56 years between 1920 and 1981.

2008

Marist Regional College received a new Constitution. At the instigation of Archbishop Adrian Doyle, the Roman Catholic Church Trust Corporation of the Archdiocese of Hobart becomes the employer but responsibility to employ staff at Marist remains with the Principal.

2009

The College celebrated 50 years of Marist education in Burnie with class reunions, an anniversary dinner, College mass, blessing and opening of the Geoffrey Coombs Memorial Garden during the weekend of 14 February and College Assembly on 17 February at 10am, exactly 50 years after the first College Assembly. The Memorial Garden was funded by donations from the College Old Scholars. The garden was named after First Day pupil, Geoffrey Coombs, who lost his life serving in the Vietnam War. In June, the College was re-registered by the Tasmanian Schools’ Registration Board for 2010-2015. The College received $1.97 million from the federal government to build a Year 7 learning centre.

2010

In September, 160 Year 7 students moved into the Chanel Centre, built at a cost of $3.1 million. The new facility was named after Marist father Saint Peter Chanel who was martyred on the Pacific island of Futuna on 28 April, 1841. Marist won SATIS girls’ soccer (firsts) and boys’ basketball (seconds) finals in Hobart.  SATIS girls firsts were runners up in hockey. The College was successful in obtaining $1.474 million in federal funding to build a trade training centre.

2011

868 students enrol at Marist, the schools largest intake. Renovation of facilities continue with the building of a new canteen, Dadirri Student Centre, fashion design centre, media laboratory and Cradle Coast Trade Training Centre, incorporating commercial bakery and kitchen, training restaurant and café. Unveiling of Rahamim, a sculpture by Melbourne artist Pauline Clayton, inspired by the parable of The Good Samaritan.

2012

Opening of the Cradle Coast Trade Training Centre to cater for vocational education and training for the north-west coast. Stage 1 of Middle Years, Chanel Centre, is officially opened to accommodate Year 7 students. Long seving staff member and deputy principal Richard Lakeland retires. Marist senior netball teams wins Challenger Shield when the College hostst the first Marist Schools Association sports carnival in Tasmania, for 18 Marist colleges.

2013

Stage 2 of the Middle Years area, McAuley Centre, is completed to accommodate Year 8 students. Principal of 11 years Mrs Susan Chen retires.

2014

Mr Adrian Drane appointed as Principal.