The History of our School
Our school has a strong and proud 100 year history.
On January 31, 1911 the St Columba’s school was opened by the Sisters of Mercy who travelled each day from Ballarat East to teach students
With each generation our school has benefited from redevelopment and is continuing to progress each and every day.
The Lydiard Street site, on which St Columba’s stands, was purchased by the Bishop of Ballarat in 1910 for the sum of £500. Work on a school building on the corner of Armstrong and Gregory streets, started that same year.
For the next eighty years, a strong bond was established between the Sisters of Mercy and the parish of Ballarat North until the last Sister retired from her role as Principal in 1980.
The State Inspectors' Report Book of 1913 notes that enrolment was 128 students with an absentee list of 88 pupils home with whooping cough and measles on the day of his visit!
In 1919 a wooden church, built in 1892 as the original Redemptorist Monastery Chapel in Wendouree was moved adjacent to the school on the site of the current St Columba’s church.
By 1956 there were 442 pupils enrolled at the school. The average number of pupils in the junior grades was 60. To cope with these numbers, seven new classrooms were built.
In 2011, St Columba’s celebrated its centenary and the school community was delighted to complete a major building and redevelopment program. The heritage Federation style convent on Howard Street was renovated and extended to incorporate a new administration wing, staff area and multi-purpose learning space.
Currently, the school has an enrolment of approximately 320 students and a passionate and committed staff of 30.
Who was St Columba?
Columba was born in Donegal, Ireland in 521 AD as member of the royal house of Ireland. His family name was Argyle. His father was a chieftain and his grandmother the daughter of a king. In 545AD, Columba was ordained and he founded his first monastery, Clonard in the area of his birth. In 563AD, he migrated to Iona off the coast of Scotland and with twelve companions, developed a Christian community. He established a number of monasteries in Ireland and Scotland. He was a skilled writer and poet. He delighted in the beauties of nature he believed “the whole of life belonged to God”. He died on June 9, 597.