Aquinas College, Perth

Aquinas College, Perth
Aquinas College
Aquinas Logo.png
Latin: Veritas Vincit
Truth Conquers[1]
Salter Point, WA, Australia Australia
Coordinates 32°1′27″S 115°51′53″E / 32.02417°S 115.86472°E / -32.02417; 115.86472Coordinates: 32°1′27″S 115°51′53″E / 32.02417°S 115.86472°E / -32.02417; 115.86472
Type Independent, Single-sex, Day and Boarding
Denomination Roman Catholic, Congregation of Christian Brothers
Established 1938[2]
Chairman Dennis Banks
Headmaster Mark Sawle
Staff ~100[3]
Enrolment ~1,100 (4–12)
Colour(s) Red and Black         

Aquinas College is a Catholic independent, day and boarding school for boys, located in Salter Point, Western Australia. Its sister school is Santa Maria Ladies College located in Attadale. The college was founded in 1938 as the child-school of Christian Brothers' College (CBC Perth) and is a member of the Public Schools Association and The Independent Primary School Heads of Australia.[4][5]

CBC Perth was founded in 1894, located in the centre of Perth, it was one of the first boarding schools in Western Australia. In 1937, it was decided that a more suitable location was needed to cater for boarding students, Aquinas opened in the following year.

The college is located on a 62.4-hectare (154-acre) campus, with three kilometres (1.9 mi) of water frontage on the Canning River. The campus consists of a high school for Years 7–12 and a junior school for Years 4–6, sporting grounds, and boarding facilities for 210 students.[6]



CBC Perth's west and central wings, built in 1895 and 1900 by the Christian Brothers.
CBC Perth student Geoff Robins' 1937 impression painting of Aquinas.

The Christian Brothers opened their first school in Western Australia on 31 January 1894 on the corner of St Georges Terrace and Victoria Avenue in Perth, naming it Christian Brothers' College.[7][8]The site had physical limitations and in 1917, headmaster Br. Paul Nunan saw the necessity to acquire much larger property away from the city centre to accommodate the whole school. In 1936, at the instigation of Br. Paul Keaney, the superior of nearby Clontarf Orphanage, 62.4 hectare (154 acre) were purchased from the Manning family at Mount Henry Peninsula on the Canning River at a cost of £9,925.[9][10]

In April 1937 the builders Snooks and Sons successfully tendered for the college building at a cost of ₤21,350. Earlier that year, the work of clearing the grounds and preparing the site was taken up vigorously with squads of boys from the old college playing a major role.[9][11]

In 1937, CBC Perth split; with boarders and some day boys going to the newly established Aquinas College in Salter Point. Day students from CBC stayed at the CBD site until Trinity College was established in 1962. A nearby day and boarding school named St Patrick's College, which was run by CBC Perth closed in 1937, with its boarders and day students moving to Aquinas. The Aquinas College foundation stone was laid on 11 July 1937, and the school opened on 27 February 1938 with 173 boarders and 55 day pupils.[12] The Catholic Archbishop of Perth, Most Rev. Redmond Prendiville, addressed the first Headmaster, Br. C P Foley and students, on the 19 November 1938: "With the proud traditions of St Georges’ Terrace to sustain it, and with the additional advantages of new quarters and ideal surroundings, I have no doubt that Aquinas College will achieve still greater results in the moral and intellectual training of good Catholics and good citizens".[13]

The Front facade of the college, as viewed from Memorial Oval.

The Edmund Rice Administration Wing was built in 1938, the main wing was brick, in its early years the college made extensive use of wood frame, galvanised iron buildings for both dormitories and classrooms in order to cope with steadily growing numbers of pupils.[11]

The most significant architects for the original school campus at Salters Point were 'Henderson and Thompson Architects'. 'Henderson and Thompson' consisted of Edgar Le Blond Henderson, Richard 'Herbert' Henderson and George Thompson. The architectural firms designed the added wing to the Main Administration Building (an architectural feat of the time, replicating the facade of a three story tower, while housing five internal levels). Richard Henderson designed the college Chapel, the Gymnasium, and the firm designed the Science Wing. The Henderson tradition commenced with Richard Henderson attending CBC Terrace before the move to Salter's Point, his son Nicholas Henderson attending the College in the 1970s, and his grandson Isaac Ramshaw-Attard attending the college from 1995-1999. Richard Henderson, through Henderson and Thompson, also designed the chapel at Trinity College in Perth, and a number of other prolific pieces of Perth architecture.

In 1988, the Aquinas College board was established with responsibility for the day-to-day educational needs of the students, this includes all teaching staff, the headmaster and the head of residential facilities. The major responsibilities of the board include forming policy, planning future developments, and financial management.[14]

1989 saw the cadet unit at Aquinas moved outside of the college and renamed the 501 Regional Cadet Unit Aquinas. The college’s cadets became fully supported by the army as a local group open to boys and girls between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.[15]

In 2004, the College Foundation was established, it exists under the auspices of the Christian Brothers, and is responsible for acquiring and providing the funds necessary to operate and maintain the school. The Foundation operates independently from the Board to ensure a sound financial future for the College, however it does work collaboratively with the College to assist in achieving the College's vision.[16]


Br. Anthony O'Brien, the first headmaster of CBC Perth
Headmaster Years
Br. C.P. Foley 1938[17]
Br. W.V. Green 1939–1944[17]
Br. Garvey 1945–1951
Br. Vincent Murphy 1951–1956[18]
Br. Walter Godfrey Hall 1957–1962[18]
Br. Woodruff 1963–1968[19]
Br. L.B. Hassam 1969–1974[20]
Br. D.F. Drake 1974–1978[20]
Br. Terrence X. Hann 1979–1986[20]
Br. John Carrigg 1987–1993
Br. Kevin Paull 1993–1999[21]
Robert White 2000–2007
Mark Sawle 2007–


Mount Henry Peninsula, as viewed from the banks of the Canning River

Aquinas College is located on a 62.4-hectare (154-acre) property with three kilometres (1.9 mi) of water frontage along the north bank of the Canning River. The land, which falls within the Manning ward of the City of South Perth, is valued at A$1.2 billion.[22] All of the land belongs to the school which manages and funds the area - including the Mount Henry Peninsula.[23][24]

The campus comprises a number of buildings and sporting facilities necessary for the day-to-day educational needs of the students. Two of these buildings are of historical significance, the Edmund Rice Administration Wing and the Chapel, which are listed with the Heritage Council of Western Australia.[25]

Mount Henry Peninsula is a land feature and reserve located 11 km (6.8 mi) south of Perth, which is owned by the Christian Brothers as part of the Aquinas property. The region is recognised as a bush forever site and is listed on the Register of the National Estate.[26]

Aerial view of the campus in 1949

The land is managed as a reserve with the Department of Environment and Conservation, Swan River Trust, National Heritage Trust and the City of South Perth for heritage conservation, education and passive recreation values. The college works collaboratively with the Swan River Trust and the City of South Perth on projects relating to the Mount Henry Peninsula including the Mount Henry Peninsula management plan.[6][26]

Memorial Oval

The decision to commemorate the oval to the servicemen of Aquinas by building a war memorial oval at the front of the main building was undertaken in by the Old Aquinians association in 1940. An appeal to fund the war memorial oval raised ₤5000, Memorial Oval was subsequently opened on 11 November 1951 as a tribute to the servicemen among the Old Aquinians.[27] Outside of the schools usage the ground is used for first-class women's cricket matches between the Western Fury and other state teams.[28][29]


The Hughes dining hall.

When Aquinas opened in 1938, it started with 173 boarders, there are currently 216 boarders residing at the college. In 2007, international students were required to pay an extra $4,903 in lieu of Government Subsidies and extra administration costs, which brought fees for international students at Aquinas to $29,435.[30]

All boarders live in one of the three boarding residences - Nunan, Gibney and Pinder Boor with their house masters, house mothers and boarding assistants. Meals are served in the Hughes Dining Hall which is located in close proximity to all of the residences, and boarders have 24-hour access to medical services in the College's hospital.[31]

House system

Aquinas College has an eight-house system in both junior and senior school. Each house is named in honour of individuals who have had an association with the school including: Blessed Edmund Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers, William Bryan the first student enrolled at CBC Perth and later to become a Captain in the First Australian Imperial Force, and Patrick Ambrose Treacy who established the first Christian Brothers community in Australia.[32]

Each house has one tutor group for each year, from 7 to 12. Each tutor group is overseen by a house tutor and head of house. The members of each house are led by the house captain. The eight houses compete against each other in events such as athletics, cross country, swimming, debating and chess and points are awarded which go towards the Tuatha shield. The Tuatha shield comprises a diversity of sporting, cultural, and academic activities that set in opposition house against house for points towards the Tuatha shield.[33]


CBC Perth was a founding member of the Public Schools Association of Western Australia in 1905. In the early years of the PSA, rivalry between the four schools was keen, the honour of the schools was closely linked with performance on the sporting field. CBC perceived themselves to be underdogs who had to work hard to build tradition at the school:[34]

[W]e had no traditions to speak of. They had yet to be made – but the builders were even then stripping to the waist. We were late comers into the arena, and were despised, an object of scorn and derision, for we had hardly a scholastic attainment, or a single athletic performance to our credit. The stream of prosperity on which you not float so magnificently [in 1938] was not won without labour and effort. – Jack Savage[35]

Aquinas' Second VIII rowing team, 1950.

When Aquinas was established in 1938 it took with it all of the sporting records and achievements of CBC Perth.[36] Aquinas' unique position was highlighted in 1962 when Trinity moved from CBC Perth to a new site in East Perth and gained membership to the PSA. The sporting rivalry between the two schools is intense, heightened by their common claim to the heritage of CBC Perth. In these years, there was no doubt in the minds of Aquinas students that when the rest of the crowd at the inter-school athletics meeting shouted Kill the Micks they meant Aquinas, given their record of seven wins from 1965–71 in that period.[37]

Aquinas became a member of the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA) in 1958. Students in the junior school participate in JSHAA Sport, as well as sailing, softball and squash programs, which are run separate to the JSHAA

Community service

The service-learning program at Aquinas was implemented in 1997, it calls students to "make everyday at Aquinas a better day for others." Social justice has been part of the religious education program since the mid-1980s.[38]

The college's students were the first to participate in the Red Cross soup patrol, the Adult Migrant conversational English program, and the Kindred Family support program. The college won Volunteering WA's difference award in 1998 and 2001 for innovative and outstanding service to the community. In 2002, the college became the first school in Australia to implement a graduate requirement of community service for senior students.[citation needed]

Notable alumni

The Old Aquinians Association is an incorporated organisation representing the former students of the college. The association exists to provide fellowship to former students, and to support the college in the provision of scholarships and financial assistance to families in need.[39][40] Aquinas has had many athletes among its alumni, including inaugural Fremantle Football Club captain Ben Allan, Brownlow medallist Simon Black, eight-time olympian Tom Hoad[40] and former test cricketers Justin Langer and Terry Alderman. It has also educated businessman Trevor Flugge, and the leader of the WA Coffin Cheaters motorcycle club, Eddie Withnell.

Politics & Law
Rhodes Scholars
  • Alexander Juett (1906)
  • J A Horan (1908)
  • J J Savage (1911)
  • Aleric Pinder Boor (1913)
  • Peter Durack (1949)[43]
  • Maurice Cullity (1958)[44]
  • Trevor Jack (1987)[45]
  • John McAnearney (2008)[46]

See also


  1. ^ Massam, p. 18
  2. ^ Massam, p. 115
  3. ^ City of South Perth (2003). "South Perth Municipal Heritage Inventory. Page 3" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  4. ^ Massam, p. 1
  5. ^ City of Perth (2002). "10 September 2002 Perth Council Minutes. Page 39-40" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  6. ^ a b City of South Perth (2004). "Origins of street names" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  7. ^ Massam, p. 22
  8. ^ "O'Brien at opening". The West Australian. 1894. p. 7. 
  9. ^ a b Massam, p. 123
  10. ^ City of South Perth (1998). "Draft Municipal Heritage Inventory - Origins of Street Names" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-02-14. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b City of South Perth (1998). "Municipal Heritage Inventory" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  12. ^ Massam, p. 32
  13. ^ Massam, p. 117
  14. ^ Massam, p. 223
  15. ^ Massam, p. 220-221
  16. ^ Aquinas College (2007). "Aquinas College Foundation Page". Archived from the original on 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  17. ^ a b Heritage Council of Western Australia (2010). "Register of Heritage Places - Assessment Documentation Administration building and chapel Aquinas College. Page 9" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  18. ^ a b Heritage Council of Western Australia (2010). "Register of Heritage Places - Assessment Documentation Administration building and chapel Aquinas College. Page 10" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  19. ^ Heritage Council of Western Australia (2010). "Register of Heritage Places - Assessment Documentation Administration building and chapel Aquinas College. Page 11" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  20. ^ a b c Heritage Council of Western Australia (2010). "Register of Heritage Places - Assessment Documentation Administration building and chapel Aquinas College. Page 14" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  21. ^ Heritage Council of Western Australia (2010). "Register of Heritage Places - Assessment Documentation Administration building and chapel Aquinas College. Page 15" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  22. ^ Rooney, Jay; Robins, Emma; Gibson, Dawn (2007-11-17). "Top schools sit on $3b land fortune". The West Australian. 
  23. ^ City of South Perth (2006). "City of South Perth Council Meeting Agenda - 2006-09-26" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-02-14. [dead link]
  24. ^ City of South Perth (1998). "Municipal Heritage Inventory" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  25. ^ Heritage Council of Western Australia (1998). "Aquinas College Register of Heritage Places". Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  26. ^ a b City of South Perth (2002). "Mount Henry Peninsula Management Plan Review" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2006-08-30. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  27. ^ Massam, p. 155
  28. ^ The Western Cricketer 2003-04. Western Australia: Western Australian Cricket Association. 2004. 
  29. ^ CricInfo (2002). "Memorial Oval, Salter Point". Retrieved 2006-02-14. 
  30. ^ Massam, p. 116
  31. ^ Massam, p. 215-217
  32. ^ Massam, p. 80-82
  33. ^ Massam, p. 218
  34. ^ Massam, p. 193
  35. ^ Massam, p. 63
  36. ^ Public School Sports Association Minutes. Western Australia: Public Schools Association. 1938-06-02.  Accessed at J S Battye Library
  37. ^ Massam, p. 195
  38. ^ Massam, p. 204-205
  39. ^ Aquinas College (2007). "Old Aquinians Association". Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  40. ^ a b Massam, p. 7
  41. ^ "Heritage Matters". 12 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  42. ^ Crikey - Famous alumni on Latham's hit list
  43. ^ Massam, p. 141-142
  44. ^ Massam, p. 174
  45. ^ Massam, p. 212-213
  46. ^ "UWA student named 2008 Rhodes Scholar". UWA. 2008-11-03. 
  47. ^ G C Bolton. "Durack, Kimberley Michael (Kim) (1917-1968)". Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  48. ^ Hamilton, Walter (20 August 2011). "'Corrigin Kid' a rare reporter who genuinely cared". The Australian. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 


  • Carigg, Roger (1961). Christian Brothers’ College, Perth : transference of an historic college of the institute in Western Australia.
  • Massam, Katharine (1998). On High Ground: Images of One Hundred Years at Aquinas College, Western Australia. Perth, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press.
  • Paull, Kevin (2001). Beyond dreams in stone: a history of the Christian Brothers' colleges in Western Australia, 1894-2000. Perth, Western Australia: Trustees of the Christian Brothers in WA Inc.
  • Pollard, Robert James (196-). A history of C.B.C. Perth from its beginning to the present Trinity College.
  • Taylor, Greg (1959). The history of the Christian Brothers' College, St. George's Terrace, Perth (1894–1958).
  • Unknown Author (2000). Canning Bridge School - History of Aquinas and Canning Bridge schools opened in 1936.

External links

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