St Mary’s Cathedral College is a Years 3–12 Catholic boys college in the heart of the City of Sydney. The college, in some ways, is a microcosm of the development of Catholic Education in Australia. It was established in 1824 by one of the early pioneers of education in Australia, Fr John Therry, who set out to provide an education for mostly poor children in an emerging colony. Since 1828, secondary education has been conducted on the same site by four different religious orders. The Christian Brothers’ education of young men and stewardship of the college began in 1911 and concluded in 2015 after 105 years of outstanding service and educational leadership, the majority of it with no government funding until the 1960s.
The current staff and myself are the custodians of this legacy. There is a strong commitment in the community to maintain and enliven the charism of the Christian Brothers in the spirit of Blessed Edmund Rice.
The music program at the college is unique with hundreds of boys receiving weekly tuition. The younger boys in Years 3–6 are musically gifted with the majority involved in the cathedral choir. The college showcases its musical achievements throughout the year. The concert in June is a calendar highlight, with all the young men of the college involved in the evening. The college has an excellent reputation academically and is among the top performing boys’ colleges in New South Wales. In the 2019 HSC, students from the college appeared 99 times on the Distinguished Achievers merit list, which recognises students who score in the top band in a subject (a mark of 90% or better). These appearances were shared among 39 students in 25 courses. Expressed as a percentage of papers sat, this figure placed St Mary’s Cathedral College in 82nd place in NSW. This is a jump of more than ten places from last year and positions the college as the best performing boys’ Catholic systemic school in the state.
The college has a strong commitment in responding to the needy with staff and students volunteering regularly to assist at The Matthew Talbot Hostel at Darlinghurst. The college is involved in the Christian Brothers Sports Association (CBSA), competing weekly in a range of sports each term. The college participates in the Catholic Schools’ Debating Association (CSDA) competitions and excels in both of these co-curricular fields of endeavour.
The college provides a holistic education based on the principles of boys’ education. The young men are encouraged to have positive and healthy relationships with all in the community. The staff are committed to providing excellent learning and teaching in the formal curriculum and a diverse range of opportunities in the sporting and cultural fields.
The heritage of this college would probably be the most rich and diverse of any school in Australia.
Our college is one of the few that can boast a tradition based on almost 180 years of excellence in education. Thousands of successful past students, both boys and girls, girls till 1967, can attest to this proud tradition of education on the St. Mary’s site.
Our heritage fosters an environment that accepts each person’s uniqueness and brings with them special gifts and talents, where each member of the college community is nurtured in a caring environment where positive relationships between staff and students are forged. The friendly yet respectful demeanour of the students is truly indicative of this unique St Mary’s college climate.
The college enters the 21st century with a second to none educational tradition, optimistic that the total college community will come to see that the college as “home”, where uniqueness is recognised, unique talents are nurtured and developed to their full in a caring environment where relationships form an integral part of our care of these fine young men. The college will continue to provide ample opportunity for experiences that will assist the student in his growth towards spiritual, emotional and intellectual maturity, so that they become responsible members of society.
Matthew 5:15 – “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
At St Mary’s Cathedral College, we share the responsibility of the family and the Church in educating our students in the evangelising mission of the Church. We enable them to cultivate their abilities and achieve their potential. We are committed to creating a Christian environment, with the teachings of Jesus Christ at its core. The parents and staff are partners in promoting growth of the Catholic faith in our students, nurturing a college community where each student feels valued and loved, in the charism of Edmund Rice.
Therefore, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God and our Mother:
In light of Gospel Spirituality, and as a faith community, we foster spiritual development and provide Religious Education in the traditions of the Catholic faith.
In Liberating Education, we promote excellence and the value of lifelong learning through innovative and authentic teaching practice.
As an Inclusive Community, we empower all of our students to achieve to the best of their abilities, providing them with a comprehensive education, enriched by a wealth of opportunities and experiences.
In Justice and Solidarity, we build strong relationships with each other and forge networks with the wider community.
“The will of God be done in this and everything we undertake” – Edmund Rice
St Mary’s Cathedral College espouses the evangelising mission of the Church promoting Gospel Spirituality, Justice and Solidarity, an Inclusive Community and Liberating Education. Through collaboration between the church, parents, staff and students, the college fosters the spiritual, intellectual, physical and emotional development of the whole person, preparing students for the challenges of today, tomorrow and forever.
“Have courage; the good seed will grow up in the children’s hearts later on” – Edmund Rice
St Mary’s Cathedral Choir is acknowledged as the oldest musical ensemble in Australia still in operation. With a history dating from 1818, the choir specialises in singing plainchant, Renaissance polyphony by composers such as Palestrina and Victoria, and sacred music by contemporary composers.
The choir provides music at Vespers and Mass in the Cathedral every day except Fridays during term-time, making it one of only two Cathedral choirs in the world to continue such a rhythm of worship. When its busy liturgical schedule permits, St Mary’s Cathedral Choir continues to reach new audiences through recordings, broadcasts, concerts, and tours.