All Saints Catholic Boys College, Liverpool
1954 - 2015
(At the beginning of 2015 the school amalgamated with the
adjacent girls school and became known as All Saints College.)
[From College website]
The Patrician Brothers came to Liverpool in 1954. The foundation grew out of the need to alleviate enrolment pressures on the recently opened school at Fairfield. So great was the hunger for a Catholic education that students from beyond Liverpool were seeking enrolment at Fairfield. Opening a school at Liverpool would help the Fairfield situation. In their generosity, the Sisters of Charity were to provide a classroom and playground for the boys. Brother Joseph Tierney was chosen as the one to bring the Patrician Brothers to All Saints Parish in the old Macquarie town of Liverpool. Brother Ignatius Barrett was appointed first Prinicpal of the fledgling school during Term 1, 1954. [Crests: 1954 - 1997; 1998 >)
The first stages of the present Primary school were completed in September 1955. It was in this year that a second Brother, Brother Lactean McGee, was assigned to the school. There was no classroom available for some months. Until then, classes were held in a partition-type shelter which was subject to the elements. These hardships were borne with good spirit by the brothers and their first students.
Although teaching conditions improved there was no residence for the brothers until December, 1958. Until this more permanent residence was opened by Bishop James Freeman (later Cardinal Sir James Freeman) the Brothers traveled from various places such as Redfern, Granville and Fairfield. The warmth, friendship and generosity of the Liverpool people sustained them. The first community of brothers to live at Liverpool was comprised of Brother Ignatius Barrett, Brother Eugene Kelly and Brother Callistus Keating. Brother Ignatius was to remain Superior until 1962.
The first signs of expansion appeared in 1963. These included a larger Tuck Shop and an extra classroom. Generally class sizes were still quite large. The provision of this classroom helped alleviate concern over this issue. Encouraging these changes was the new Superior, Brother Gerald, who had begun his long association with the school in 1959. Brother Gerald's period as Superior saw the greatest period of expansion to date. Firstly there were extensions to the Monastery; two rooms were built.
The next stage of growth was the building of the Secondary School in response to the demands of the Wyndam Scheme. The first section was opened in 1966 and relieved the stress of overcrowded classrooms. While the building was in progress, some of the classes had to meet in the old All Saints Church, made vacant by the erection of the All Saints Memorial Church. These classes later moved to the rooms vacated when the secondary classes took up residence in the new school on Bigge Street.
When more growth took place in 1967, the students could now avail themselves of Woodwork facilities, alongside Art, Music and Science resources. It was also possible to allocate one of the larger rooms as a Library, a modest forerunner of the present All Saints Library. The next stage of expansion in the 1970s included the building of Technical Drawing Rooms, extending the Science Rooms and improving the Art amenities. Changes to the playground improved conditions, especially on wet days.
Although there have been few major extensions since the mid 1960s, there have been alterations within the existing buildings including a major redevelopment and upgrade of the administration and staff areas in the mid 1990s.
Although modest in its beginnings, the College has flourished. It has been blessed wiht a proud reputation by the devoted work of its past and present staff.
In 2015 the process of amalgamation with the adjacent girls secondary school began. On the 7th December, 2015, All Saints Catholic Boys College, Liverpool, was formally decommissioned. In January 2016 the two schools formally became one under the name of All Saints College, Liverpool. The principal Mr Stephen Gough.
[From Go Into the Vineyard, 2009]
… In the 1950s the school [Liverpool] had a pleasant aspect being surrounded by green fields, the scene of the annual sports....It had a semi-rural quality - but that was prior to the mushrooming growth of the district... (From a hand-written, two-page history of the school, from the Patrician Archives. School files: ‘Liverpool - Early Days’, as a supplement to Br Norbert Phelan’s history.)
As a town, Liverpool dates back to the beginnings of the English colonisation of Australia: on 7 November 1810, Governor Macquarie named the district, about thirty-nine kilometres (24 miles) from the Sydney CBD, after the Earl of Liverpool. In 1811 Liverpool had its first school. By 1856 there were trains passing through the area on their way to Goulburn but this did not immediately impact on the population of the area. In 1841 the population of the Liverpool area was 2,000. A little over a century later it had only grown to 12,000. By 1960 it was 30,000, and in 2000 there were around 150,000 Liverpudlians.
The Catholic Church’s history in Liverpool is nearly as “ancient” as the government’s: a Catholic school opened its doors as early as 1834, but closed in 1836. On 1 October 1837 Fr John Joseph Therry, began a school at Liverpool. Forty-one years later (1878), on 6 December, the Sisters of Charity arrived in Liverpool, and they opened a school in 1879. For sixty-six years the Sisters provided a primary education for the boys and girls of the area, but for those boys who wished to receive a secondary education such schools were few and far away.
The establishment of the Patrician schools at Granville in 1942 and then Fairfield in 1953 were meant as a means to alleviate the situation. However, the Fairfield solution was so popular that when Fairfield was accepting enrolments for 1954 it was evident that there were many who could not be enrolled and would have to attend the local government school. Father P. John Collins , Parish Priest of Liverpool (1941-61), turned to Father Slowey, Director of Catholic Education, for help.
School was to start on Tuesday 2 February and in the Provincial Archives (1890-1968) it is recorded on Tuesday 26 January that “At the request of Fr. Slowey (School Inspector) Bro. Joseph [Tierney] took [sic] charge of the 4th class of boys in Liverpool.” This was announced at the relevant churches two days before the commencement of the school year . Patrician Brothers’ Liverpool commenced on Tuesday 2 February 1954. There were thirty-five students – which quickly grew to forty-five - and one teacher, an iron shed for a classroom, but a playing field of their own. It seems that the “classroom” would have been in the area directly across the road from the front doors of the current Catholic Church in George Street.
In the 1953 appointments for 1954, Joseph Tierney had been marked as living at Wahroonga as the Novice Master. His appointment to Liverpool was something of an emergency measure, a pro tem, probably as a member of the Council he took it on as there was no other Brother available. This would only be until May when he would have to return to Wahroonga to accept two new novices . When Joseph moved to Wahroonga his place was taken by Brother Provincial, Norbert Phelan, as a stop-gap. Who could be found to take over the new foundation? In May, Brother Ignatius Barrett, who had just been moved from Forest Lodge to Fairfield to teach 4th Class, was chosen to take over the establishment of the new Patrician Foundation at Liverpool.
Ignatius, from Dapto in New South Wales, was fifty-one at the time of his appointment to Liverpool, and had been a Patrician for nearly thirty years. He came with many years of teaching and administrative experience, especially at Mt Carmel, Waterloo. A tall, balding but still silver-haired, Roman-nosed, straight-back man, he must have been a formidable sight for his 4th Class charges, as he was for all those who came to the school over his nine-year Principalship (1954-62). It was Ignatius who decided on the school colours, uniform, crest and motto: Pro Fide et Virtute (“For Faith and Integrity”).
In December of 1954 work commenced on the new Brothers’ school and two classrooms were available for use by March. The two Brothers moved in - the junior Brother’s (Br Lactean McGree) classroom without any furniture until much later in the year. In 1955 the parish was able to purchase from the Sisters of Charity the three-and-a-half acres (1.4 hectares ≈ 2 soccer ovals) on which the school was being built. This is the same land the school stands on today between George and Bigge Streets. On 5 September 1955, the new, completed building was opened, its entrance was from George Street. It had four spacious classrooms, a cloak room, a staff room, and a toilet block. In 1956, with 4th Class to 6th Class, the Brothers obtained the services of their first lay teacher, Mr Denis Culloty, who taught in the Primary School until its closure in 1990. In 1957, additions were made to the 1955 building, just in time to commence secondary classes. In 1959 the staff of the school consisted of four Brothers, three lay teachers, including Mr Claude Davis , and 452 students across eight classes (4th Class to 3rd Form). Brother Norbert Phelan records that the first Intermediate students (1959) achieved nineteen passes and some bursaries (scholarships) , and that the Primary Final group also “had excellent passes”. There was sporting success as well with the school taking out the Open Grade Rugby League Competition and the Under 14 Cricket Premiership.
Until the monastery was built in 1958, the Brothers teaching at Liverpool had to travel from other monasteries. From 1954 to 1958 Ignatius travelled from Fairfield and Brother Lactean McGree travelled from Redfern (!) in 1955 and until September of 1956 and then from Granville for the rest of 1956. The Sisters of Charity, whose generosity had provided the parish with buildings and land for the Brothers’ original school, also fed the Brothers for these years, providing them with a full lunch each day - lunch was the main meal at this time. To build the monastery Fr Collins used the same plans as had been used for the Blacktown monastery built in 1955. In August 1958, three Brothers moved into the new monastery. They were Brothers Ignatius Barrett as Superior and Principal, Eugene Kelly, and Callistus Keating. The Provincial, Rodan Bergin, and the Brothers, were “most grateful for the beautiful monastery…” and appreciated “the kindness of Fr Collins to the Brothers.”
In 1961 the new Parish Priest of Liverpool was Fr Richard Davey (1961-73). In 1963 Br Gerald Egan, who had been a member of the Liverpool Community since 1959, became Superior and Principal (1963-68). With the introduction of the Wyndham Scheme and reintroduction of government funding, a new and even more dramatic stage in the school’s development was about to begin. In 1963, Fr Davey and Br Gerald built a new classroom and new tuckshop to try to alleviate the wall-to-wall student situation in the classrooms. In the primary section some classes had more than seventy students. Father also approved and paid for the two-bedroom extension to the monastery that was desperately needed with the size of the community jumping from five in 1963 to eight in 1964.
Some of the classroom strain was lifted in 1965 when, in accordance with the Wyndham Scheme, 3rd and 4th Classes were returned to the Regional Primary Schools, but then the secondary section had to take on an extra year: 4th Form. It all became too much for the eight-classroom school. As the Patrician schools at Blacktown and Fairfield had been forced to use classrooms outside of the school precinct in 1955, 1963 and 1964 , so did Liverpool in 1965 when its students overflowed into the old parish church across the road. However they did so knowing that the future looked bright with the planned secondary building to be opened in 1966.
At the beginning of the 1966 school year a separate secondary section stood ready for use. It was a three-storey building running alongside Bigge Street with eight classrooms that had interesting and roomy storerooms between every pair, two state-of-the-art science laboratories and preparation rooms and staff facilities. It is still the main building today. The original school became the primary section and the students in the old parish church were reclaimed. Brother Basil Downey’s 5th and 6th Class primary section was now to fully occupy what once accommodated students from 3rd Class to 4th Form.
In 1966 the school, primary, and secondary had 479 students, with six Brothers in the secondary section, two in the primary and three lay teachers. While government grants were certainly making school extensions possible, finances were still a Principal’s biggest concern. Despite teachers in the Catholic system being prepared to accept wages significantly lower than those paid to teachers in the government schools, with so many teachers required to teach the new Wyndham scheme subjects, finding enough money to pay them their reduced salaries was always a great challenge and worry.
Before the foundations of the new secondary section had settled, extensions were being built to it, between the Brothers’ and Sisters’ properties. By the end of 1967 the school had more general and specialist classrooms, including a modest library occupying one of the larger rooms. In 1968 then, the secondary section was accommodating 337 students from 1st to 4th Form, with six Brothers and six lay teachers. The primary department, with Br Basil Downey now provincially appointed as Principal (1968-88), had 229 students in 5th and 6th Class, with just the Brother Principal and four lay teachers. By the end of the year the school may have been $3,129.22 in debt , but otherwise things had been most successful with five wins in the Rugby League Competition, seven Commonwealth scholarships, and six State bursaries being won. It was also recognised as the second best Science school in the Western Districts as well as coming second in the local Debating Competition. Ex-students Michael Wenden (Olympic swimming gold medallist) and Greg Lawson (World Life-Saving Champion) were doing well in their respective sports. Br Gerald could leave the school well pleased with what had transpired during his Principalship.
During the Principalships of Brothers Patrick O’Connell (1969&70) and Cronan O’Meara (1970) , the students and staff were able to catch their breath a little. Amazing transformations had taken place in just four years: in the physical nature of the whole school, the subjects taught, and the teachers on staff with lay teachers now outnumbering the Brothers. It was not the school of a mere sixteen years earlier.
The like of the transformations that took place between 1965 and 1967 were not to be repeated. For one thing the land was certainly not available. In 1972 the school’s three-and-a-half acres was accommodating 740 primary and secondary students and their required teachers and facilities. But Brother Benedict Olsen (1971-1980) was a resourceful man and Principal, and with the full support of Father Roth Delaney (1973-87) , he found the ways and means and space to squeeze in just a few more rooms for Technical Drawing, Science, and Art. However, space could not be found for a new monastery for the Brothers, a proposal put to Fr Davey just before Fr Delaney became Parish Priest. Benedict and Fr Roth were also responsible for asphalting the entire school playground in 1975. For twenty-one years the playground, eighty percent dirt and twenty percent tufts of grass, had been a dust bowl on dry days and a quagmire on wet days. The asphalting was a significant blessing to students and Mums alike.
It was also during Benedict’s time as Principal that two proposals were made which significantly affected the development of the school. On 14 August 1978, the Provincial Council discussed the proposal put to them by the primary schools of the Liverpool region that they retain their boys until the end of Year 6. This would, in effect, result in the closure of the Brothers’ Primary School. The Council was not in favour of the proposal but were prepared to discuss it further. The primary section survived another thirteen years (1990). A month later the Council was discussing a C.E.O. report on the development of a senior school (Years 11 and 12) in Liverpool. There was never really the option for the Brothers’ school to become a senior school; there was simply not the space. It would be another nine years before there was a senior school - at Casula, a few kilometres south of Liverpool.
The next Principal, Br Anthony Dubois (1981-83), was the second old boy of the school to become a Patrician (1968) - the first was Br Matthew Mahoney just a year before - but he was the first old boy of the school to become its Principal. The school’s statistics in 1982 had increased dramatically since 1974, especially in relation to staff. In 1974 there were 780 primary and secondary students, six Brothers, and twenty-three lay staff. In 1982 there were 842 students, seven Brothers, and a staff of sixty-two. The only significant addition to the school building-wise, was the school library, built between the boys’ and girls’ schools and shared by them - again built through the generosity of the Sisters of Charity being prepared to give up some of their land. And more land was going to be asked for within the near future.
The Principalship of the school from 1984 to 2000, when the Principalship was handed over to a lay Principal, was in the hands of Br Matthew Mahoney (1984-87 & 1990-2000) and Br Jude Byrne (1988-1990T3). The Parish Priest during most of this time was Father Phil Linder (1987-2003). It was in 1987 that All Saints Catholic Senior College became a reality. Liverpool then had its own senior co-educational school. It was at Casula just a few kilometres south of the girls’ and boys’ high schools at Liverpool. Everyone was delighted, even Patrician Brothers’ College, Fairfield, which is where Liverpool’s boys went to finish their schooling since 1961 when Fairfield became a Leaving Certificate school. Over these years (1961 to 1987) Fairfield had certainly gained from Liverpool many of the three s’s for which all schools strive: saints, scholars, and sportsmen, young men Fairfield often claimed as their own.
There were two endings in Jude’s time as Secondary Principal as well. In 1988, Br Basil Downey, retired from his position as Primary Principal after twenty-three years (1966-88); and 1990 was the last year of the Primary School.
Just a very few words specifically on the primary section itself. Like all the Patricians schools of the west, Liverpool started as a primary school and grew into a secondary school. By 1961 the school went from 3rd Class to 3rd Form and was under the one Principal. It was not until Br Basil Downey came to Liverpool in 1966 that the primary school was placed under its own Principal : Basil. He was to be the only Brother to be Primary Principal. In December of 1988 he handed over the position to Mr Denis Culloty who had been a Patrician school student from 1948 to 1955 (Waterloo, Forest Lodge, Ryde) and then had been teaching in the school from 1956 (thirty-three years). By 1966, when the secondary section moved to its new facilities at the “bottom” of the playground along Bigge Street, the primary department consisted only of 5th and 6th Classes. Its roll recorded well over two hundred students, but that was two hundred or so students spread out amongst eight classrooms. Luxury. But not for long as a new population surge into Liverpool quickly swelled the numbers yet again.
There were no real physical changes made to the primary department until 1981 when Fr Delaney and the parish gave the school two extra classrooms and a library atop the school’s staff facilities and students’ toilet block.
When the CEO closed the Patrician Primary School in 1990 it was a great disappointment to the Brothers. It was yet another great success borne out of much hardship and sacrifice of the Brothers, lay teachers, the Priests and parishioners, and the Sisters of Charity, who had all been so generous to the Brothers especially in the foundation years, to be eventually reduced to a few pages in a few history books. But it is a history the Brothers, and all who were involved, are very proud of and thank God for. The school closed on 14 December. There were 150 Year 6 students and ten full-time staff members.
Matthew’s second term as Principal, 1990T3 to 2000 was to see several other historical moments in the life of Patrician Brothers Liverpool. Benedict and Fr Delaney had given the boys asphalt to play on in 1975 instead of dirt and mud; in 1993, Matthew and Fr Linder and the Liverpool Catholic Club gave the boys a nice fence and, much more importantly, some grass to sit on between the boys’ and girls’ schools. In 1997 the school was renamed All Saints Catholic Boys College, Liverpool; the school uniform started to change with blue being inserted into the school colours of green and gold; and the crest, while retaining quite a few elements of the original crest including the motto, changed to incorporate the school’s new name and colours: all to “integrate the school more closely with the Parish of All Saints, Liverpool and the other schools of the parish.”
In 1999 the Provincial and his Council decided to withdraw the Brothers from the Liverpool monastery. Since 1989 the number of Brothers in the house had been averaging four, the number working in the school just one: the Principal. It was time to go. Not a unanimous decision to be sure. The final Community - Gerald Egan, Basil Downey, Matthew Mahoney, John Verhoeven, and Ron Peters - had a combined stay in the monastery of seventy-eight years, with Basil and Gerald contributing sixty-three of those years. At the end of 1999 the monastery was handed back to the parish. 2008 was the monastery’s Golden Jubilee year.
In 2000, Matthew’s last year as Principal at the school, the last year of Patrician leadership, he was able to work with Fr Linder and the parish to leave the school with a Performing Arts centre, again shared with the girls’ school, and again taking away more land from the girls’ school.
In December 2000, Matthew handed over the Principalship to Mr Chris Smyth. There had been continuous Patrician leadership from 1954 to 2000: forty-seven years. Br Joseph Tierney said hello to his thirty-five 4th Class students in a hot tin shed on Tuesday 2 February 1954. Br Matthew Mahoney said good-bye to his 645 Year 7 to 10 students and fifty-six staff members, in a state-of-the-art, air-conditioned auditorium on Tuesday 19 December 2000. In those forty-seven years forty Brothers had taught in the primary and secondary, nine of those were also Principals. In all, a total of just on two hundred years of ministry in the school.
When Mr Smyth was appointed by the CEO as the school’s first lay Principal in February 2001, “he indicated to the assembly of staff and students that he would do everything he could to ensure the traditions of the Patrician Brothers remained a strong aspect of our school as we work together to ensure it is a place of 'Faith and Integrity'.” This pledge has been carried on by the successive Principals Mr Dennis Habermann (2004 Acting) and the current Principal Mr Tim Logue (2004 > ) who is himself a Patrician ex-student of Fairfield (1965-73).
In his 2006 report Mr Logue stated:
All Saints Catholic Boys College continues to live in the traditions of the Patrician Brothers. The College’s Sacred Icons, reflecting our Patrician origins have a prominent focus at the College front office and at College Assemblies. Prayer is an integral part of College life. Members of the SRC lead the College Community in morning praying of the Breastplate. Each class begins with a short prayer and at 12 noon the Angelus is recited. The introduction of a sacred space in each classroom further demonstrates a prayerful nature and support of the College Charism. At the College opening assembly Father Van blessed Celtic Crosses, which Brother Paul O’Keeffe presented to the Year 7 pastoral team for distribution to the College Year 7 students and staff. This tradition will now continue to be a focus each year. At the Year 10 Graduation Ceremony each student was presented with a Celtic Cross and a Holy Card of St Patrick and the Breastplate as a farewell gift.
We leave this account of Patrician Brothers’ Liverpool here with so much more which needs to be said, but space does not allow. Glancing through the few year books we have, one can only be overwhelmed by the number of people who gave so much to the school over the years, overwhelmed by the amazing achievements of staff and students in so many aspects of school life: academic, sporting and religious. A book needs to be written.