St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace was founded by the Christian Brothers on the humble premise of educating “anyone who would come”. Over 145 years later, the sacrifice and commitment of those early Christian Brothers and the contributions made over many generations by the Terrace Family has gifted the College with a unique atmosphere of care, a rich history and strong traditions.
On 5 July, 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 19 September, the foundation stone for a permanent residence and school had been laid at Spring Hill.
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, College Hall, then a single-storey stone building, was completed and the school at St Stephen's was closed. The west wing of the residence was completed in 1887 to provide accommodation for boarders. By 1891 there was insufficient room for the numbers to board and the boarding school was transferred to St Joseph's Nudgee College.
These were years of change and expansion for the College. In 1911 the Cadets program started at Terrace and shortly after, in 1915, over 300 Terracians joined the fight with their fellow Australians in Gallipoli, the Western Front and other parts of the world.
The Science Hall was built and opened in 1918-19 (a third storey was added 20 years later and a three-storey teaching block which linked this building with the residence was built in 1954).
In 1925 the school colours were changed to cardinal red and black. Previously the colours had been blue and white, the same colours as the Christian Brothers and of Nudgee College. The colour was changed to avoid confusion between the two Christian Brothers’ schools.
In 1927 Henry Windsor loaned the school funds to build a swimming pool between the Brothers’ House (now the Treacy Centre) and Billet St. This was well-loved and well used by both students and Brothers alike.
In 1928 J C Mahoney became the first of 18 Terrace Rhodes Scholars. Years later his son James also became a Rhodes scholar. This father and son Rhodes Scholarship was unique to Queensland.
At Speech Night in 1929, Terrace to the Fore was performed for the first time. It was composed for occasions as a rallying song, as it is still today, by Headmaster and lyricist Br James Kearney.
The school uniform, including the red and black tie, was introduced in 1935. In 1938 a second floor and extra rooms were added to the Science building and in 1939 the first two of the Terrace tennis courts were built at Victoria Park.
The Cadet Corps was re-introduced in 1939 as a new generation of Terracians were called to war.
A new College Crest and College Motto were introduced in 1950. The design of the crest was the work of Headmaster Br Levander and the motto was selected by Br Campbell.
The New Farm Boatshed was built in 1959 on land donated by Old Boy and Archbishop James Duhig. In 1962 the land at Tennyson was purchased and painstakingly developed by parents and the Brothers. The first games at Tennyson were played on 6 June 1964.
Terrace celebrated its centenary in 1975 with many celebrations, including a Dinner Dance, Cadet Parade, Family Day at Tennyson, the opening of the new Centenary Building and Foundation Day Mass on 5 July.
This era signified unprecedented growth at Terrace. The Br Buckley Outdoor Education Centre at Lake Maroon was used for the first time, the Manual Arts block was built and the tunnel under Gregory Terrace was completed, as was the Br F E Rodgers pavilion at Tennyson.
In 1986 Billet St was purchased. The College now owned the entire block bordered by Gregory Terrace and Victoria, Rogers and Water streets. The Gregory Terrace Foundation was established in 1986 to help fund Capital development.
Further significant development continued around the College including the Campbell Centre, Duhig Place, Celtic Cross, Mt Sion, the restoration of College Hall, new facilities for Science, Music, Performing Arts, Library and Learning Support, the Br Buckley Outdoor Education Centre and the Chapel of the Holy Family.
The College’s Mission Statement was presented and accepted in 1988. In 1993 Dr Brendan McManus became the College’s first lay Principal.
This era was marked by development, renovation and rebuilding. In 2007 the Christian Brothers formed Edmund Rice Education Australia under which auspices the College now sits.
In 2007, students commenced at Waterford Place, which is a unique, forward-thinking, self-contained learning environment and development ground for Year 10 students.
The devastating Queensland floods of 2011 forced a complete rehabilitation and rebuild at Tennyson. The rebuild allowed for the extension of the boathouse and the building of the Old Boys’ Grandstand.
The year also saw the state-of-the-art Br Tony White building constructed and the renovation of the old Brothers’ residence, the Treacy Centre, completed. The weather once again intervened in late 2014 and further rehabilitation took place, including in College Hall.
The College celebrated its 140th year in 2015 with a new Principal for the College, Dr Michael Carroll. Implementation of a new 2017 Master Plan saw the beginning of new growth for Terrace. The purchase of the property on St Paul's Terrace mid-2020 will allow for significant development of the College's facilities.
The College navigated the global COVID-19 pandemic through well developed Information Technology systems and the birth of the GT@Home platform.
The conclusion of 2020 brought a new College Strategic Plan (download here) and realigned Master Plan to ensure that the demands of a growing Terrace Family are met well into the future.