Today, the Brothers have five of what we have come to call “Patrician-linked schools”. These are schools which were established by the Brothers, mostly in the mid 20th century, but which today may only have one Brother on staff or no Brother at all. There are no Brothers who are Principal of any of the Patrician established schools. There remains a very close association between the Brothers and these schools, and the schools actively nurture and develop the Patrician character or charism that developed over the years of administration by the Brothers.
While there are only five schools today in New South Wales that claim and proclaim their Patrician heritage, from 1883 to the present the Brothers either established or took over twenty-four primary schools, high schools, and boarding colleges.
The Country Schools
The Brothers arrived in New South Wales in 1883 and started teaching in Maitland. Over the next few years, with more and more Brothers arriving from Ireland, the Brothers took over and established schools all over county New South Wales and the city of Sydney. In fact of the five dioceses that existed in the colony of New South Wales in the late 19th century, the Patricians were the first male teaching Congregation to minister in four of them.
The Brothers first came to New South Wales at the invitation of Bishop Murray of Maitland, Bishop Lanigan of Goulburn, and Bishop Quinn of Bathurst, and so these were the dioceses that the Brothers first established schools. In 1885 Cardinal Moran invited the Brothers to establish a new school at Redfern, Sydney. In 1888, Bishop Torreggiani of the Armidale diocese called on the Brothers to take over a boys primary school there and to establish a boarding college.
1883 Maitland - Two schools: a primary school in the town and Sacred Heart College on the hill. Brothers departed at the end of 1888.
1884 Goulburn - Two schools: a primary school next to the Catholiic church and a college next to the Anglican church. Departed 1897.
1884 Bathurst - One high school. Departed 1924.
1885 Albury - One high school. Departed 1897.
1886 Redfern - One high school. Closed in 1962.
1889 Wagga Wagga - One high school. Departed 1897.
1889 Dubbo - One high school. Departed 1891.
1889 Armidale - Two school: a primary school and a boarding college. Departed 1897.
1890 Orange - Two schools: a primary school and from 1915 a boarding college. Departed 1927.
The City Schools
In 1885 Cardinal Moran invited the Brothers to establish a boys school in the parish of Waterloo. At that time Redfern was a part of the Waterloo parish, and it was in Redfern that the school was built. The first school was a part of the Redfern church built in 1885. The school began in 1886.
It was decided that the Brothers needed a school of their own and so in 1891 Holy Cross College, Ryde, opened its classroom and dormitory to its first eight students. In 1897 the school moved across the road to its current site. It remained a boarding school until 1972. In 2003 the College was placed under the principalship of a layperson.
A year later the Brothers were again approached to start a school at Forest Lodge. This opened in 1892. In 1940 the boys were moved to a new school building just up the road on Woolley Street.
The last of the city schools was established at Waterloo in 1908. Redfern had become a parish, the boys school of 1886 became a part of that parish, and so Waterloo required a school of its own.
The inner-city schools of Redfern, Forest Lodge, and Waterloo, eventually became casualties of social and educational progress. As people began to move to the west, school populations in the small city schools decreased; with the development of a new school syllabus our schools, with no room to expand, were considered unsuitable. And so in 1962 Redfern closed, a year later Waterloo, and in 1967 Forest Lodge. Holy Cross College, built on twenty-seven hectares, had ample room to expand.
1891 Ryde: Boarding college until 1972 when became a day school only. Still operating. Last Patrician Principal 2002.
1892 Forest Lodge - One high school. Closed in 1967.
1908 Waterloo - One high school. Closed in 1963.
1929 Wahroonga - High school for aspirants. Closed in 1975.
1942 Granville - High school. Last Patrician Principal 1997.
1952 Blacktown - High school. Last Patrican Principal 2005.
1953 Fairfield - Senior high school. Last Patrician Principal of high school 2001. Of primary section 2004.
1954 Liverpool - High school. Last Patrician Principal 2000.
1961 Sefton - High school. Closed in 1964.
1981 Marayong - Senior High School. Last Patrician Principal 1990.
The Schools Out West
From the very early years the Brothers were looking for a suitable location for a training house for boys and young men thinking of becoming Patricians. Such a place was finally found in 1914 with Croagh Patrick in Orange. But when the Brothers left Orange in 1927 a new training house was required. A property in Wahroonga became available and the Brothers purchased it in 1929. The house remained Patrician until it was sold in 1989.
In 1941 the Patricians were very much “city boys” with all their schools in the city or very close to it. But in 1941 they were asked to consider opening a school in Granville, way out there in the west. Their response was most enthusiastic: Patrician Brothers’ High School was opened in 1942 with the students in the old parish church and the Brothers at first living with the priests. The school remained under Patrician leadership until 1997.
As the population of Sydney continued to expand to the west and south-west, the Brothers were asked to follow, and follow they did. In 1952 they opened a school at Blacktown; in 1953 at Fairfield; and in 1954 at Liverpool. By the beginning of the 21st century the Brothers no longer had the personnel to have Brothers as principals. In mid 2005 the Brothers relinquished their last school to a lay principal.
Over the years the Brothers were offered schools as far south as Tasmania and as far west as Perth, but the Brothers were just not able to reach out to these places. In 1961 the Brothers did open a school at Sefton, but by 1964 it went the same way as the inner-city schools, it really had no room to expand.
A hope for many years was for the school at Blacktown to become a senior secondary school. It was in 1981 that this hope became a reality with the opening a senior school at Marayong, a suburb of Blacktown. A Patrician was principal of this school from 1981 to 1989. The Brothers’ school at Blacktown did itself became a senior high school in 1998.
So, as mentioned at the beginning, today in Sydney we refer to the existing schools which were established by the Brothers as “Patrician-linked schools”. At the present we have only one Brother teaching full-time in a Patrician-linked school, with two other Brothers closely associated with two of the schools. We have one Brother who is the principal of the Fairfield parish primary school.