St Margaret Mary’s College celebrates a rich history and a long track record of successes. Here are some of the key milestones that have helped shape our campus landscape and College identity since 1962.
On 22 February, St Margaret Mary’s College was opened by Bishop Ryan to cater for the growing Catholic population of Hermit Park and Mundingburra. St Margaret Mary’s College opened with four classrooms, an office, staffroom, tuckshop, cloakroom and a modern science laboratory. Although the school could accommodate 200 students, there were only 50 enrolled in the first year. The establishment of the college was, in large part, due to the efforts of Monsignor Vince Vandeleur, parish priest of St Margaret Mary’s Parish. Sr Mary Ronayne (formerly known as Sr Mary de Lourdes) was appointed the first principal of St Margaret Mary's College.
A Home Economics room was built. The first class of students to attend St Margaret Mary’s College in 1962 completed their senior year and graduated.
On Friday, 28 May, the college’s new library was opened and blessed by Bishop Pio Taofinu’u of Apia in Samoa. Beneath the library was an open covered way, but by the following year that open area had been turned into two classrooms, an office for the principal, and a discussion room. The former library became the staff room. Cyclone Althea struck Townsville on Christmas Eve, and caused significant damage to the college. Many parents and volunteers helped over the holidays clean up the damage so the college could open for the beginning of the 1972 school year.
St Margaret Mary’s College marked its 15th anniversary. Friday activities began at the College, which in the first year included skating, cooking, old-time dancing, chess, magazine committee, motor mechanics, leather works and gardening. As the years progressed the number of activities increased and gradually the variety widened. Today, some of the Friday activities today include aerobics, flower arranging, deportment and grooming, clowning, windsurfing and hairdressing.
In September, the school purchased two cottages on Crowle St, which provided space for a dedicated senior school building and other amenities. One of the buildings became known as “the Cottage” and was used for French classes, a Year 11 alternative class and for Learning Support. On the other side of the convent, a magnificent new building was being completed for senior students.
St Margaret Mary’s Primary School celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Anne English was appointed principal of St Margaret Mary’s College. This same year, the Cottage was demolished to allow new learning facilities to be built in its place. The new building was completed in 1988 and contained a new computer room, a speech and drama room and room for extension studies. St Margaret Mary’s Primary School ceased at the end of year, and all primary students moved to the newly established Marian Catholic School in 1988.
In September, St Margaret Mary’s College celebrated its silver jubilee with 390 students enrolled and 44 members of staff, including teachers, office staff, library and Home Economics aides and a groundsman. Celebrations included an open day, a sports competition involving past and present students and staff, a past pupils evening, a dinner dance, and a Mass held by Bishop Benjamin, Mons Vandeleur and Fr Moroney. The Mass also included the official blessing and opening of the new theatre, computer department, Special Education unit and music room on Crowle Street. These additions were made possibly by a special fund into which parents, friends, students past and present made donations.
The school’s new multi-purpose facility was completed and later named Benedictine Place.
Year 7 students were welcomed to the College. St Margaret Mary’s College also celebrated a significant milestone in the school’s history, with the official opening of a $4.957 million building project which transformed the well-known landscape of the school. Two new buildings provided large flexible learning spaces and visual art rooms, as well as a science laboratory, computer room, textile room and new administration centre located on the Benedictine Campus. The Samaritan Campus was also redeveloped, with a new building that housed four classrooms, a covered courtyard and lift facilities.