St. Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace was founded by the Christian Brothers on the humble premise of educating “anyone who would come”... More than 136 years later, the sacrifice and commitment of those early Christian Brothers who taught at and developed the College and the contribution over many generations following, by the Terrace Family, has manifested a very special College with a famous story, strong traditions and a rich history…
Foundation of St Joseph’s College
On July 5, 1875 three Christian Brothers opened their first school in Queensland, in the Pugin Chapel, the old St Stephen's Cathedral, with 26 boys enrolled. Within two months, on September 19, the foundation stone for a permanent residence and school had been laid on land on the crest of a hill and opposite a large park in Spring Hill. The land had been presented to the Brothers by an old boy of the Christian Brothers in Ireland, Dan McSweeney, a painter. While Br Joseph Barrett, Terrace's founder, and Br Paul Nunan continued teaching their classes, Br Brendan Nugent went to North Queensland "four days by steamer" away on a fund-raising tour.
The Brothers took up residence in the new building on Gregory Terrace in early 1876. School facilities were provided in a large room and for several years, two schools functioned - at Gregory Terrace and St Stephen's. In 1879, a single-storey stone building was completed facing Rogers Street, and the school at St Stephen's was closed. The west wing of the residence was completed in 1887 to provide accommodation for boarders, and the school building was extended the following year by the addition of a second floor, thus completing what is known today as College Hall. The photos of all students since 1924 are displayed on its walls, to this day.
By 1891 there was insufficient room for the numbers to board and the boarding school was transferred to a country property along Sandgate Road to begin St Joseph's College, Nudgee (Nudgee College).
Terrace undertook further expansion in 1918-19 when the Science Hall was built and opened (a third storey was added 20 years later). A three-storey teaching block which linked this building with the Residence was built in 1954. Thus the land that Dan McSweeney had given the Christian Brothers almost 80 years earlier had been effectively built out.
Development at Gregory Terrace
By the early 1960's, with increasing numbers of students and with changing trends in education, it became imperative that Terrace expand further. Under Br JS Campbell's guiding influence, Terrace began to absorb residential land in Billet Street opposite the existing school. The first block was bought in 1961 and the foundation stone for a new Senior school was blessed by the College's most distinguished Old Boy, the Archbishop of Brisbane, Sir James Duhig, in 1963. The new school including a chapel and library was opened in 1964.
Gradually, the school development spread down Billet and Victoria Streets, with the Reidy Block completed in l971, the Centenary Building in 1975, the Manual Arts building constructed in two stages, in 1981 and 1984, the completion of Centenary Hall and the construction of the swimming pool (now known as the Campbell Centre) in 1987 and the Religious Centre and Chapel, Mt Sion, in 1989. Billet Street itself was merged into the school grounds, linking the new and old portions of the College.
Terrace also spread beyond its Spring Hill campus. In 1958, the rowing shed was built on riverfront land at New Farm which had been donated by Archbishop Duhig, and in 1961, the Brothers purchased farmland at Tennyson and began to develop the magnificent playing fields that we now enjoy. In the 1970's, Terrace established an Outdoor Education Centre on the banks of Lake Maroon, near Boonah. A tunnel was constructed under Gregory Terrace to provide students with safe access to Victoria Park and the training fields and tennis courts.
Major building changes occurred in 1995, marking 120 years of Catholic Education in Brisbane, the GT120 Project. These included the Science/Music building; elevated walkways linking the Junior School to the 1964 wing; extensions to the Library; Drama Centre (old Junior School Library); Film and Television Room; conversion of Mt Sion to main administration offices (whilst retaining the Chapel/Prayer Centre); new offices for House Deans, Heads of Faculty; refurbishment of the staff workroom to include an interview room and Senior Teacher's office; also the shade area on Duhig Place, a project of the Parents and Friends.
The GT120 building project also involved the construction of a new boatshed at the Tennyson Playing Fields, backing on to Oxley Creek – replacing the school’s existing shed at New Farm. The Br CL Dillon Boatshed was among the largest in the southern hemisphere and also contained upstairs function facilities.
In the year 2000, Terrace’s 125th anniversary, further works took place and a state of the art new building, and lecture theatre was constructed as well as a spectacular new College Chapel – the Chapel of the Holy Family, on the Gregory Terrace side of the school. The GT125 Project works were opened in early 2001.
The major project works for GT130, in 2005, included the acquisition of what was formerly the RACQ building, on the opposite side of Water Street from the existing Gregory Terrace campus. Extensive redevelopment of this building marked a milestone in the school structure of Terrace’s delivery of curriculum, with the relocation of the Middle School to the new Waterford Place site. Waterford Place is a fully self-contained, technologically sophisticated “campus within a campus” delivering exceptional opportunities to students in the important Middle School year - Year 10.
Most recently, as part of the school’s 135 anniversary in 2010, the school has constructed a new building named after former headmaster, Br Tony White. The Br Tony White Building (opened in May 2011) on the Victoria Street side of the campus houses new advanced classrooms, a large gymnasium and significant improvements to the music centre.
In one of the most historically significant projects to date, as part of the GT135 project, the school also comprehensively rejuvenated and renovated the Brothers’ Residence, Founders Room and Archives, the oldest building on the Gregory Terrace site. Re-opened in 2011 as the Treacy Centre, the building is now a multi-purpose series of spaces containing offices, music rooms, meeting rooms and housing the GTOBA (Old Boys’ Room) , Gregory Terrace Foundation and College Museum and Archives.
The more contemporary developments since the GT120 Project in 1995, have largely been made possible by the generosity of the Terrace Family in supporting the Gregory Terrace Foundation.
A Tradition of Growth and Contribution
A strong scholastic tradition has been fostered at Terrace with the school’s academic performance consistently very high. While each Terracian is encouraged to pursue subjects and a pathway in their life and career reflective of their unique individual talents and interests, a great majority of students elect to pursue some form of higher education.
Gregory Terrace has produced 17 Rhodes Scholars - testament to the sense of cultivating balance that Terrace strives to achieve in its education. Terraces' Rhodes Scholars extend from Professor James Mahoney (1929) to Ben Juratowich (2003) and Simon Quinn (2005).
Since 1875, more than 195 past students have entered the priesthood or religious life, including the late Archbishop Sir James Duhig, retired Archbishop of Brisbane - Archbishop Francis Rush, Bishop John Torpie - retired Bishop of Cairns and Bishop Bill Morris, former Bishop of Toowoomba. The cultural curriculum has grown greatly both in stature and participation. Many have progressed through debating, dramatic and musical programs at Gregory Terrace to firmly establish themselves in the Arts – in writing, acting, visual art, filmmaking, design, classical and popular music – to name a few examples.
The sporting curriculum caters for as many students as possible in the GPS and CIC competitions (supplemented by inter-house events). Sixty-one past students have represented Australia in international sporting competitions with thirty-five of these in Rugby Union . In recent years, there have been up to five past students in the one Australian Rugby squad - indeed Terrace old boys have represented in a great variety of sports at the highest level and our sporting heritage, forged by Terrace athletes and teams often with brave efforts in the face of unlikely odds, forms one of the great traditions of the College.
The Gregory Terrace Old Boys' Association is an active body which meets regularly at the College and does much to maintain contact with alumni through reunions, support services, periodic communications and a variety of functions.
The school community is supported by the active involvement of many parents, particularly through the Parents and Friends' Association, the Terrace Ladies Group and Supporters’ Committees associated with sporting and cultural activities – including the Terrace Cardinals. Other groups have given invaluable assistance in planning and supervising its various building projects.
Terrace has a long and distinguished list of past Headmasters and Principals, taking its first lay Principal Dr Brendan McManus in 1993 followed by current College Principal, Mr. Peter Chapman.
Over its history, St Joseph’s College has continued to build and develop outstanding campus facilities that support its educational mission. The main campus continues to reside at its historic premises on Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill, with “satellite” Middle School campus at Waterford Place, nearby. The College’s playing fields are situated at Tennyson while the unique Outdoor Education Centre is based at Maroon Dam.
See the following pages for more information on the history of Terrace:
Preserving Our History
While Terrace is immensely proud of the achievements of our outstanding Old Boys and the growth of our College, we celebrate the gifts of all in our community. While the names of distinguished achievers are “above the lights” in College Hall, everyone is “under lights”. At Terrace we believe that everyone is valuable and everyone who comes to our school belongs - and that is an unyielding bedrock of the Terrace tradition, spirit and friendship, initiated by the Christian Brothers in 1875, that continues to this day.
The outcome of this approach resonates in the influence Terrace has had in the lives of its students and others in Terrace Family and the significant impact Terracians have had and continue to have on the wider community.
In the year 2010, as part of the refurbishment of the Treacy Centre, the College opened its own Museum and Archives to celebrate our past and our history. The extended Terrace Family is encouraged to attend and contribute to the Museum, which is managed by College Archivist Mrs Bianca Anderson.