Although Mt Maria College, Mitchelton and Mt Maria College, Enoggera have shared the same title since 1992, each had its own identity and culture which have contributed to the development of the Mt Maria College of 2010 and beyond……
1930 – 1978:
As far back as 1930 the site at Mt Maria Mitchelton was established as a home for girls by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. It became home to a diverse mixture of young women, ranging from orphans and the intellectually impaired to others who had been declared as “uncontrollable”. To a large extent the Sisters were supported in this undertaking by volunteers until the State Government agreed to contribute some much needed funding.
By the 1950’s and 60’s there were up to 60 girls in residence, some as young as 12. Around that time a legend grew surrounding the supposed presence of ‘Theresa’ the convent ghost. To this day the story of the ‘ghost’ is passed on to new students as part of their induction into Mt Maria College.
By the early 1970s changing government and societal attitudes, along with financial difficulties, brought about the closure of the Good Shepherd home. However, the laundry managed by the Sisters remained operational on the site for another eight years.
In 1970, Marcellin College was established at the Enoggera site as a Marist School for Boys, commencing with students in Years 5,6 and 7. Over the following six years, class levels were added and enrolment numbers grew. The first Year 12 class from Marcellin College, Enoggera graduated in 1976. Over the years, Marcellin College phased out its primary schooling and became a school for Year 8-10 boys.
In 1978, responding to the rapid growth of Marcellin and its “sister” school, St. Benedict’s at Wilston (run by the Good Samaritan sisters), Brisbane Catholic Education purchased the Mt Maria site at Mitchelton. Their intention was to provide a “flow-on” from the single sex colleges of St Benedict’s and Marcellin to a separate senior campus in a co-educational setting for Years 11 and 12 - a concept that was then considered quite revolutionary in Queensland, although examples existed in New South Wales, Tasmania and Canberra. The only similar entity in Queensland at that time was Frawley College at Scarborough.
1978 – 2005:
Under the leadership of Foundation Principal, Brother Terence Heinrich, Mt Maria Senior College commenced operations in 1978, and the College was administered by the Marist Brothers until Brother Mark Farrelly completed his tenure in 1993. Mrs. Gabrielle Power West followed Brother Mark as the first lay principal of Mt Maria Senior in 1994.
In December 1991, after an 18 month process of consultation, St Benedict’s College, Wilston, and Marcellin College, Enoggera officially closed their doors and consigned their names to the pages of Mt Maria’s history. With the traditions of the Good Samaritan Sisters and the Marist brothers as its cornerstone, the new college - Mt Maria Junior Secondary College - emerged in January 1992 at the Enoggera site as a co-educational college for students from Year 8 to Year 10. Within a few years the titles of the two schools changed to Mt Maria College, Enoggera, and Mt Maria College, Mitchelton. The senior students of 1996 were the first graduates to complete their schooling from Year 8 to Year 12 under the “Mt Maria” title. The adoption of the “Mt Maria” title to identify each campus was a significant step on the road to eventual amalgamation into one College.
Until the end of 2005 the two colleges continued to operate as separate school communities. Although there was a clear link between the campuses, a natural progression from Year 10 to the senior college, and many activities were combined, each community had its own uniform, a separate administration and principal. However, more change was in the air, and during 2005 extensive planning was carried out in preparation for the amalgamation of the two Colleges to become one College across the two campuses.
2006 and beyond:
Commencing in January 2006, the teal and white of the Senior College and the jade and white of the Junior College were replaced by the new uniform of maroon, navy and white of the newly amalgamated Mt Maria College. The College continued its colourful history as a combined Catholic coeducational school, using both campuses and allowing for greater strength in both educational and pastoral aspects for students. This new Mt Maria College was united under one Principal and administered by Brisbane Catholic Education.
In 2009, after consultations with all the stakeholders, the decision was made by Brisbane Catholic Education to re-locate the Enoggera community to the Mitchelton site. Plans were drawn up and architects engaged to enable the next steps to be taken to redefine Mt Maria College from 2010 as one entity: a coeducational Catholic secondary college located on one campus - the beautiful site of the original Mt Maria Senior College.
Speaking on behalf of the Marist Brothers at the end of their era of administration in 1993, Brother Mark expressed his hopes for the future of the college: “For fifteen years a dozen Marist Brothers have contributed to the foundation and early formation of our beloved Mt Maria Senior College. I sincerely trust that we have helped you to embed in the college community, and in your lives, at least something of Marcellin’s dream.”
Inspired by these hopes and Marcellin’s dream, and recognising also the earlier contribution of the Good Samaritan Sisters to the development of its identity, Mt Maria College continues to hold steadfastly to the traditions, values and spirit of St Benedict and St. Marcellin Champagnat which were an intrinsic part of its establishment and history.