Ashgrove School


The first Marist Brothers arrived in Australia in 1872 and established schools in Sydney. There are over 58 schools in the Marist Schools in Australia (M.S.A), today representing schools begun by the Marist Brothers, Marist Sisters and Marist Fathers.

In 1929 the Christian Brothers established their first school in Brisbane at Marist College Rosalie and then in 1940 at Marist College Ashgrove.  Marist Brothers’ Monastery and Marist College Rosalie were the first Queensland residence and school of the Marist Brothers’ order, which has made a significant and influential contribution to the education, particularly secondary education, of Catholic boys in Queensland.

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At Rosalie,  — at Fernberg Road, Rosalie, Brisbane QLD Australia, the Marist Brothers have continued to provide a religious education to generations of boys over an 80 year period. The church Sacred Heart is directly opposite this building in 2013.

The school developed into a regional college with the erection in 1949 of the Sacred Heart Memorial College, funded largely by the endeavours of the local community.

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Marist Brothers Ashgrove Brisbane is located at 142 Frasers Rd Ashgrove QLD 4060, (07) 3858 4555
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Notable Alumni : Kevin Rudd, Former Prime Minister of Australia and Sir Julius Chan, former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea

Marist College Ashgrove was founded in 1940 on the site formerly purchased by the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane for use as a seminary for the proposed (but since disbanded) religious order of Father Walter Cain (see below), to be known as the Missionary Order. A remnant of the Order is to be seen in the Tower Block, built in the 1930s, which remains an important architectural symbol of the present College.

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Father Walter Cain (B? died 28 Sept 1962 Northgate QLD) was instrumental in much of the buildings and the founding of the Marist College Ashgrove in 1940. Father Cain did a brilliant job of raising funds during the Great Depression, this resulted in the funding of the building of the now historic school building that I visited in 2014.  Father Cain was responsible for acquiring some large paintings which mysteriously went missing after his suppression by the Catholic church.  The story goes that some were jealous of his success within the religious community. Despite the depression Father Walter Cain used his influence to raise funds for the school. He was responsible for the printing and sale of magazines as well as the sale of candles/prayers which later became an issue for the Catholic church and his undoing.

The church separated him from the school and there were a number of significant changes made. Some you can still see if you visit the school grounds, where the originally rafted statue of St Jude, (Saint of the Hopeless) placed high up on the historic founding building is as it was first erected and another one lower and more accessible at the front entrance of the main building of St Jude was altered with the arm pointing upwards was remodelled into a status of Jesus.  The school motto was also changed, the ornate gates were taken off.

These gates had the original school motto on them. They were removed around the time that Walter Cain was accused of selling prayer candles. The school motto was changed by the church and the gates went missing.

The new school motto was ‘Viriliter Age’ drawn from Psalm 30, was adopted as the motto on the suggestion of Br Hilary (Provincial) and displayed for the first time on the badge affixed high above the entrance of the new classroom block opened early in 1958,

HISTORY OF MARIST BROTHERS COMMUNITY

The Marist Brothers is a Religious Institute founded in France in 1817 by a young French priest, Marcellin Champagnat. He considered his mission in life to make Jesus known and loved and to do so by creating schools which not only taught secular subjects but religious education and the catechism.  On January 2, 1817, St. Marcellin Champagnat, the 23-year-old Jean Marie Granjon and Jean Baptist Audras, fourteen and a half years of age, moved into the small house that Fr. Champagnat had rented for them in LaValla (near Lyon France) and which became the first Marist Brothers community. Their day consisted of prayer, work and study

As a Marist priest, Champagnat had a particular affinity for the Blessed Virgin Mary, so upon conception of the idea of Marist Brothers, Champagnat chose to call his brothers Petits Frères de Marie (‘Little Brothers of Mary’), emphasising the meekness and humbleness he wished them to pursue, and seeking their consecration to her as an exemplar of fidelity to Christ.   “Ad Jesum per Mariam” or “To Jesus through Mary” was his motto.

In 1863, 23 years after Champagnat’s death, the Marist Brothers institute received the approbation of the Holy See, whereupon the order received the title of Fratres Maristae a Scholis (Marist Brothers of the Schools), hence the post-nominal letters of FMS.

The Institute began with a network of small schools conducted by the Brothers who lived in the villages with the people. By the time of Marcellin’s death in 1840 there were 278 Brothers and his system of education had begun to expand throughout France. Over the next 50 years the Brothers expanded across all continents and established a system of education world-wide. Today the Brothers’ schools exist in 81 countries. There are about 4,500 Brothers and 40,000 lay teachers working in Marist schools, educating over 500,000 young people.

The first Marist Brothers arrived in Australia in 1872 and established schools in Sydney. There are over 58 schools in the Marist Schools in Australia (M.S.A), today representing schools begun by the Marist Brothers, Marist Sisters and Marist Fathers.

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Father Walter Cain and the nuns at Marist Brothers’ College St Mary’s Ashgrove.

The first Marist Brothers’ school in Australia was established at the Rocks in 1871. An opening in Queensland did not occur until 1929, when the Brothers began to operate a parish school at Rosalie in Brisbane.

As the College at Rosalie developed and began to take in a small number of country boarders, the search was on for a suitably sized property that would accommodate a College with boarding facilities.

A Church owned site at Ashgrove was offered to the Brothers for purchase in July 1939, and with rushed preparations, Marist Ashgrove, then named as Marist Brothers’ College St Mary’s Ashgrove was ready to open as a school.

The first assembly for newly enrolled boys took place on the 30th January, 1940, {St Patricks Day) where Harry attended and so begins the story of a Community of Brothers and a College.

The school first community comprised also of four Brothers’ ably led and inspired by Br Ignatius O’Connor, who spoke of this new establishment as “a city college in a rural setting” which he named in honour of Mary the Mother of God, and tagged with the motto: ‘Posuerunt Me Custodem’ – ‘They have appointed me Guardian’. this was later changed in 1956.

A Church owned the site at Ashgrove and it was offered to the Brothers for purchase in July 1939, and with rushed preparations, Marist Ashgrove, then named as Marist Brothers’ College St Mary’s Ashgrove was ready to open as a school.   The first assembly for newly enrolled boys took place on the 30th January, 1940, and so begins the story of a Community of Brothers and a College. Brother Ignatius was its first Headmaster.

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Founding students, my father Harry Judge from Longreach was amongst the students in this photo.
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The first secondary class of 1930 was accommodated upstairs in the monastery with six scholarship boys, some of the older boys, plus seven boarders. There were also 220 primary students.
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In 1935, a cottage was moved adjacent to the monastery from a site on Beck Street, and was remodelled and refitted for use as two classrooms and a boarders’ dormitory until 1948. Harry F Judge was a border at the school from the age of 8. In 2013 the building is the residence of the Marist brothers.

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In 1970 Rosalie became an Archdiocesan College although it continued to be administered locally by the Marist Brothers.

A Junior College was built on the north side of Fernberg Road behind the church for grades four to seven and was opened in 1971, but was phased out by 1980 due to the declining student numbers.

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This is where the students at Rosalie Marist Brothers stayed. Upstairs were the sleeping quarters consisting of seven bedrooms, bathrooms and community rooms.
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This is the original chapel of candles, now replaced with a well appointed chapel in the school. But this chapel is where Harry would have attended Mass in 1940 at Ashgrove.
In April 1929 the school was approved as a secondary school and by the end of that year five boys had won scholarships to the school (including Henry (Harry) Judge and a few boarders had been taken in. The first secondary class of 1930 was accommodated upstairs in the monastery with six scholarship boys, some of the older boys, plus seven boarders. There were also 220 primary students. In 1935, a cottage was moved adjacent to the monastery from a site on Beck Street, and was remodelled and refitted for use as two classrooms and a boarders’ dormitory until 1948. Harry was a border at the school from the age of 8. In 2013 the building is the residence of the Marist brothers.

In 1970 Rosalie became an Archdiocesan College although it continued to be administered locally by the Marist Brothers. A Junior College was built on the north side of Fernberg Road behind the church for grades four to seven and was opened in 1971, but was phased out by 1980 due to the declining numbers

Marist Brothers’ Monastery and Marist College Rosalie are important as evidence of the period of expansion of the Catholic Church in Queensland under the leadership of Archbishop James Duhig.  The Marist Brothers’ Monastery and school for boys at Fernberg Road, Rosalie were opened in 1929 as part of Duhig’s vision for the development of the Church in Queensland through the provision of affordable, high quality Catholic education.

James Duhig was born in Ireland and arrived with his family in Brisbane in 1885. He was ordained a priest in 1896 and in 1905 became Bishop of Rockhampton, at the age of 32. In 1912, he became Archbishop Dunne’s Co-Adjutor, taking on much of his administrative duties. Duhig energetically promoted the growth of the Church in Queensland. To this end, he was intimately involved throughout his career with the planning and building of over one hundred churches and schools. Sourced information from visit and meeting with the school archivist in 2013.

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Inside the corridor of the historic Rosalie Marist Brothers, 2013 Lavalla Centre. This is where the students at Rosalie Marist Brothers stayed. Upstairs were the sleeping quarters consisting of seven bedrooms, bathrooms and community rooms.
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Harry Judge is in the 2nd top row and 2nd from the left, aged 14 as the photo is dated 1936.

With enrolments at the schools increasing to 450 in the late 1930s, the construction of a new college building was planned.  During 1937-1938 a design was prepared and tenders were called for a hip-roofed, two-storeyed masonry building with basement to accommodate 400 students.

The new building at Marist Rosalie, was to contain eight classrooms, two science laboratories, a gymnasium and sheltered playing area was designed by architects Cullen and Egan.

The widespread economic depression of the early 1930s, followed by the impact of World War II from 1939 to 1945, and perhaps the imminent opening of a new Marist college at Ashgrove where all the Rosalie boarders and 120 day boys were transferred in 1940, caused the project to be delayed for many years.

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In April 1929 the school was approved as a secondary school and by the end of that year five boys had won scholarships to the school (including Henry (Harry) Judge B.1922), and a few boarders had been taken in.  Harry’s mother died when he was two and he shared that he was living at the time with his grandparents, Henry Frances Rogers and Mary (Nee Healy) at Toobrak, Longreach Station. He recalled being put on the train with a suitcase, aged around 8, travelling alone to his new boarding school.

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Harry Judge 1st row in the middle

Henry Francis Judge (Harry) aged 18 in 1940, straight after matriculation from Marist School, signed up in the Survey Corp. He spend 6 years in PNG and Morotai during WWII and then went onto work on the Snowy Hydro Electric Scheme for another 6 years.

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