Mt St Patrick College was founded by the Sacred Heart Parish, Murwillumbah and the Lismore Presentation Sisters in 1926. Monsignor Michael Quinn, the second Parish Priest of Murwillumbah, built the ‘Convent’ High School, a single classroom, at his own expense and with the support of parishioners. The school began by offering three years of co-educational secondary education leading to the Intermediate Certificate. Sr Gabriel Weir was the first Principal of Mt St Patrick High School.
Increased enrolments forced classes to be held in the Parish Hall, the former church, after the opening of the new Sacred Heart Church on October 2nd, 1938. Second Year classes were held in the centre of the Hall while Third Year classes were held on the stage or in a small side room. Monsignor FitzPatrick, the third Parish Priest, added two ‘spacious classrooms’ to the original school building in 1951, one upstairs and one down. The first Science Laboratory was built in 1958 and was designed specifically for the teaching of Chemistry and Physics. It was the first Laboratory built for this purpose in any school administered by the Lismore Presentation Sisters.
In 1966 the school attracted increased enrolments following the introduction of the Wyndham Scheme and the subsequent closure of three smaller local Catholic secondary schools. In that year the school became known as Mt St Patrick Regional High School and had an enrolment of 192 students. Forty seven students sat for the last Intermediate Examinations in that year while in the same year, twenty three students sat for the School Certificate Examinations. Eight Fourth Form students were the first group of Mt St Patrick students to sit for the School Certificate Exams in 1965. Mt St Patrick Regional High School reached a record enrolment of 498 in 1986 whilst offering four years of junior secondary education.
The first lay Principal was appointed in 1990 ending 64 years of continuous leadership by the Presentation Sisters. In 1992, the first Year 11 students were enrolled. Sixty four of those students sat for the first Higher School Certificate Examinations offered by the school in 1993.
The school became known as Mt St Patrick College in 1998 in response to changing demographics and a major eighteen month building program. Mt St Patrick Presentation Convent, a building of heritage interest, was opened in 1904 and became the administration centre of the College in 1997. It was officially named Presentation House in 1998.
In 2011, the St Mary of the Cross Science and Language Centre was opened as a result of the Australian Government’s Economic Stimulus Package. A record enrolment of 695 students was achieved in 2012 year with 51 full time lay teaching staff and 4 part-time teachers (2.1 Full Time Equivalent). The College will open a $5.4 million Multipurpose Centre in 2013.
The Mt St Patrick College Crest includes five features: the College initials, Mt Warning, a Cross, the College motto and the College colours.
MSPC refers to the name of the educational community, Mt St Patrick College.
Mt Warning is the geographical centre of the Tweed Valley and signifies the area from which students are enrolled. Mt Warning is a challenge to climb. It symbolises the challenges we face as we ‘strive for excellence’ on our daily journeys through life. As we journey up the mountain, we will fall, occasionally take the wrong path and may lose sight of the mountain peak. Faith encourages us to keep climbing and to seek the beauty we know exists at the top of the mountain. That beauty is the love of God evident in the many little journeys of daily life.
The Cross is a symbol of our faith and our beliefs as a Catholic community. It is the reason the Colleges’ existence and is the most important aspect of the crest. The Cross proclaims that our relationships at Mt St Patrick College are based on the teachings of Christ.
The Motto is written in Latin, the language of the Church prior to Vatican II. “in hoc signo spes mea” (in this sign is my hope) is the essence of Mt St Patrick College and proclaims that our hope as a Catholic community lies in the Cross. The Latin motto is evidence of the long history of the College.
College Colours are blue and gold.
Much of the material found in the College Archives exists because of the interest and enthusiasm of Sr Joachim Brooke. In the 1960’s, she ensured that our 1926 Register of Admissions, early photos and uniforms were preserved for future generations. Sr Joachim understood the importance of our history and the sense of belonging it gives our students.
Up until 2010, the archives occupied a section of a compactus located in the corner of the Library. In 2011, the College was fortunate to secure a designated area for our archives, now called the Heritage Room, which is situated in the newly built St Mary of the Cross Science and Language Centre. The room has a small display area and storage area. The first display in the new Heritage Room was opened to the public on St Patrick’s Day 2011, the day the St Mary of the Cross Science and Language Centre was officially opened. The display included photos of staff from 1972 to 2010, photos of students from 1939 and photos of Presentation Sisters who worked in the College.
As the College approaches its centenary year and before memories or memorabilia are lost, we are seeking the support of ex-students or those who have had some connection with the College. There are many gaps in our collection which we would like to fill. Hopefully you might be able to assist in developing a more complete collection of school memorabilia.
Ex-students can help in two ways:
Our Archives hold the following records: