In celebrating over 90 years of history, we pay tribute to the women and others who paved the way for us to be a leading Brisbane Catholic Girls School.
Columba Phelan – acquired the 1890’s grand residence of Dr Foxton. A convent was established and a year later the adjacent Holy Family Parish School commenced. In January 1929, Brigidine College opened as a secondary school.
The growth of our Brisbane Catholic girls’ school was very slow and arduous. The Sisters were extremely poor and unable to build proper teaching facilities. Classes were held in one room in the Convent and a small number of boarders slept in another. This historic building, which also houses the Chapel, is still the focal point of the College today.
At that time few students continued their education beyond Scholarship. Boys in particular were actively encouraged to further their education but few girls would advance to “Junior” and fewer still to “Senior” education. In 1943 the first two candidates for the Senior Certificate were presented for examination. In 1944 the first official College buildings were erected.
Enrolments slowly grew and in 1961 a new building now known as Tullow was completed. This began the growth of Brigidine College that continues well beyond our present day. Since then the following buildings have been added to the College’s educational facilities:
- 1968 Delany Building – named after Daniel Delany, founder of the Brigidine order
- 1974 Library refurbishment
- 1975 Original College Swimming Pool
- 1976 Duvac Building
- 1983 Foley Building
- 1991 Kildare Hall (A Multi-Purpose Centre – MPC)
- 1997 Administration Building
- 2001 Tullow Resource Centre
- 2008 New College Pool
- 2012 The Brigid Centre
- 2014 Middle Years Learning Centre (in Foley)
- 2020 The Marian Centre – STEM facilities
Convent Sisters here until the year 2000
In 2000, the last three sisters living in the Convent moved to Sydney. Sister Regis O’Sullivan, Sister Luke Henry and Sister Mary Singer were well loved and very much a part of the College community. The Convent building became part of the College from this time. Even though their permanent full-time presence has ceased the spirit of the Brigidine Sisters lives on. The Library block was renovated and reborn in 2001 as the Tullow Resource Centre, named after the town in Ireland where the Brigidine Order was founded.
The area around and above the swimming pool was transformed into the beautiful, spacious area for the students known as Soubirous Place. The back of the Convent building was developed into a staff common room and a Learning Enhancement Centre. The College grounds continued to be landscaped to provide shaded and pleasant areas for outside activities.
A modern Brisbane Catholic Girls’ School
The early part of the new millennium saw the next stage of building refurbishments. Duvac became a dedicated Science building and Home Economics moved to occupy the entire ground floor of the Delany building. During this time and with substantial financial support from the P&F, the College developed significant computer and information technologies (ICTs) appropriate for students in the 21st century. The Foley Building received a makeover and the under croft of the MPC was enclosed to provide an area known as the Erin Rooms. This is a multi-purpose space, which can be used for large student meetings or as three classrooms. The old Band Room was refurbished to provide a studio, allowing Dance to be included into the College curriculum. The side of the Convent building was renovated to provide a range of student services, close to the House Coordinators’ offices. This area was named St Brigid’s. To complete this phase of upgrades, the College pool was redeveloped and the surrounds were enhanced with a stunning water feature, sun shades and fencing.
In June 2012, The Brigid Centre for the Arts was opened and blessed. This building delivers the latest interactive facilities to complement the extensive arts curriculum already available at the College. During 2014, refurbishments included the Tullow Centre and Staff Study and the creation of a vibrant Middle Years Learning Centre in the new look Foley building.
The current Strategic Plan ensures Brigidine College, as a leading Brisbane Catholic Girls’ School, continues to remain responsive to growth and educational change in the 21st century. Our focus is innovation, learning and creativity. The Brigidine College community is blessed by a rich past, fully engaged in the present, and ready to face the future with confidence and hope.
Our Founder Bishop Daniel Delany
Daniel Delany was born in Paddock, County Laois, in the Diocese of Ossory in 1747; and such was the desolate, national miasma in which he spent his early years. Fortunately, his parents and his two exemplary aunts were firm Catholics. They passed on to the young Daniel the truths of the faith, the richness of his land’s traditions, and a deep thirst for knowledge. They also taught him to be sensitively aware of the sufferings that surrounded him in his native locality near Mountrath, in the county of Laois.
In 1763, at the age of sixteen, Daniel Delany decided to become a priest. With the help of a good Protestant friend he was smuggled out of the country to a college in Paris to begin his studies for the priesthood. He earned a reputation for his intellectual brilliance and his marked sensitivity of disposition. In 1770, Daniel Delany was ordained a Priest – significantly the year that Captain Cook entered Botany Bay.
Daniel returned to Ireland, disguised as a layman since priests were outlawed. Early Brigidine writings tell us that Daniel was shocked at the conditions that still prevailed in Ireland. Destitution, violence, lawlessness and crime were rampant throughout the country. There was widespread agrarian unrest as millions of landless poor struggled for the rights and privileges of practical ownership. The country was still fettered and unfree despite the relaxing (but not total lifting) of the penal laws. He was so appalled at the state of Ireland that he was tempted to return to France. However, his mother prevailed on him to stay in Ireland.
His first appointment as priest curate was to Tullow at the end of 1777. The social and political conditions that prevailed in Tullow were harsh and intimidating. Crime, violence and vice flourished in Tullow and in the surrounding areas.
In response to these conditions, he organised Sunday school for adults as well as children. He tried sermons and house-to-house visitation. He enlisted the help of the wives and mothers in trying to remedy some of the deplorable behaviour in the parish. He didn’t meet with much success, so he turned his attention to the youth.