Saint Mary's Catholic College History

Our College's Story

Saint Mary's Catholic College is a regional co-educational Catholic College offering quality inclusive education to students in the South Burnett region. The College belongs to the community of over 130 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Brisbane and provides a seamless education for students from Prep to Year 12. The College has been proudly serving the families of the South Burnett district since 1990, following the amalgamation of the St Mary's Parish Primary and Secondary Schools, and has an enrolment of approximately 500 students.  

Catholic Education was offered originally by the Sisters of Charity in 1929. In 1934 the Sisters of the Good Samaritan commenced their work in the Kingaroy Parish, particularly in the area of Catholic Education at the local parish primary and secondary schools.

The Good Samaritan Sisters were founded in 1857 by Archbishop John Bede Polding to work with the female convicts, initially, and then they moved into the field of Catholic education generally. The concept of the Gospel parable of the Good Samaritan focuses on Christian Ministry with special emphasis on compassion - a characteristic which expresses itself in relating to persons in the reality of their situation. As a Benedictine monk, Archbishop Polding adapted the rule of St Benedict for the Good Samaritan Congregation - a rule of life that was based on a balance of work, prayer and rest. Underpinning all activity however, was the achievement of  a constant state of listening to the word of God, active and alive.

Faith is central to all aspects of College life with all staff committed to providing students with a sound spiritual formation. Following in the tradition of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, the College has adopted the philosophy of the Benedictine traditions.

Saint Mary's Catholic College strives to be a peaceful, caring and friendly community, where people are welcomed and encouraged to grow. As a Catholic College we are committed to proclaiming Gospel values through all aspects of College life.

Special features of Saint Mary's Catholic College 

  • A seamless education from Prep to Year 12
  • A focus on the spiritual growth and holistic education of all students
  • A safe family environment where students feel valued
  • Programs designed to support a diversity of learning needs of all students
  • An excellent academic tradition and program
  • Sporting, cultural and enrichment programs
  • Whip Cracking team
  • State of the art facilities
  • High levels of University/Apprenticeship placement
  • Strong parent participation of College life
  • An excellent Vocational Education (TAFE, Apprenticeship and Traineeship) program
  • Family discounts and concessions available
  • Equestrian team
  • Positive Behaviour 4 Learning Program

Sr Dolores Carroll

Written by Mr Michael Nayler, Principal (2012-2015)
Sr. Dolores (Dolly) Carroll, our first secondary Principal passed away peacefully on 4th August 2015 at the Marycrest Centre in Brisbane.
I feel very blessed to have known Sr. Dolly as a friend and mentor across my past three and half years at Saint Mary's. Sr. Dolly loved Saint Mary's and would read my From the Principal articles each week on the special large A3 versions Mrs Hauritz would send her. She was always excited about our latest building project or the increase in our student numbers. Every time I would visit Sr. Dolly, she would let me know that our Saint Mary's community was always in her prayers.

I first met Sr. Dolly shortly after I began my Principalship at Saint Mary's back in 2012. I was introduced to her by Cathy Jackson, an ex-student of Saint Mary's and BCE North Director. My first impressions were of a tiny, kind-hearted, cheeky, 99 year old nun whose mind was stull as sharp as a tack. I quickly discovered that she must have been a formidable Principal in her day, when I showed her a photo around at the parish Mass and saw 60+ year old men quaking in their boots.

I suspect that Sr. Dolly would have had to have been formidable to start Saint Mary's secondary College back in 1965 with very few facilities and nothing but hard work ahead of her. The early days at the College would have been tough, Sr. Dolly often told me that she would have to wear her gum boots up to Saint Mary's as she walked up the dirt road between the convent and the College.

Sr. Dolly had big dreams for Saint Mary's and always wished that the students would get their own Manual Arts room, so that they didn't have to walk or ride to the High School to use their facilities. She said that she always worries that they would stop at the lolly shop near the hospital. Sr. Dolly never realised her dream of a Manual Arts room in her time at Saint Mary's, but in 2013, we were able to honour her for her 100th birthday by naming the Sr. Dolores Carroll Trade Training Centre after her.

Earlier this year, Sr. Dolly recorded a special video message to welcome all of the past staff and students who had gathered for our Combined Anniversaries celebrations. It took me about 5 visits to get St. Dolly to the point where she was ready to deliver this message in this new medium. Even though she could barely see due to macular degeneration, she worked for days to pen her message to our Saint Mary's community. Her beautiful original message was printed in her handwriting in our Combined Anniversaries magazine.

Sr. Dolly was always said that she had had a great life with many happy memories from her times in Kingaroy, Japan and Mitchelton and around Australia. She was a woman of incredible faith and often said that she was ready to meet her beloved Creator. In the end, she passed away peacefully into God's loving arms content in the knowledge that she had helped to leave this work a better place for her presence.
May the blessings of St Benedict and Saint Mary
be with Sr. Dolly and her Good Samaritan community.
 We pray with thanks for the life of Sr. Dolly
 and for her great faith, work and dedication
 for our Saint Mary's Community.
 Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord,
 and may Your perpetual light shine upon her. Amen.

A Letter from Sr Dolores Carroll to our community for our Combined Anniversary celebreations on May 30 and 31st 2015.

Congratulations and blessings from Sr Dolores Carroll sgs, the first and Foundational Principal of Saint Mary's Secondary College.

How delightful to be able to send my greetings for this historical event.

Fr VJ Carroll always said that Saint Mary's College, like the Kangaroo and Emu, would never go backward. How true! From the founding years ever onward, the good news and events have continued to come my way. I am pleased to hear the news of your new buildings and more importantly an increase in numbers.

Catholic primary education in Kingaroy was well established by the Sisters of Charity (beginning in 1929) and the Good Samaritan Sisters (beginning in 1934) and I pay tribute to them.

My experiences in various schools around Australia as well as 10 years teaching English in Japan (Tokyo and Sasebo, Nagasaki) gave me gifts that I offered to my new life with the school as you now know it. I enjoyed 14 wonderful years teaching in city and country schools in QLD, NSW and the ACT, before flying out from the Australian summer and straight into the Japanese winter.

I remember originally traveling to Kingaroy by bus. As we came up to the Blackbutt Range, the busload of people said "The bellbirds are back after a long absence." I proudly mused that this was a lovely welcome for me.

In 1964, Year 8 had begun as a primary top at Saint Mary's primary school.

At that time, there was enough of a population in the South Burnett to warrant an alternative system of education and for a Catholic Co-educational secondary College to begin. So, with my arrival, Saint Mary's Secondary College began.

The boys at that time, went one morning a week to Kingaroy State High School. I worried about their bicycle rides and behaviour because they lolly shop near the Kingaroy Hospital was a temptation.

Mrs Ann Ciesiolka came in one day a week with her baby for Homecraft for the girls. The rest of the Year 8s and 9s were mine.

There were problems a plenty as we waited for a building and for bitumen on Kent Street. I remember treading the muddy track that was Kent Street wearing my galoshes.

In spite of problems, the students came along with their studies and entered competitions covering all areas of interest.

One lovely event was a visit to the Coolabunia Bora Ring to recite poetry and meditate. We went on day trips to the coast, factories etc.

We had many brilliant students and I am very pleased that we now have our Saint Mary's students filling high profile positions across many sectors of the community.

As the years flow ever on, may the blessings of the music of our wonder and delight be with all Saint Mary's students, staff, parents and families, and the generous parishioners and people of Kingaroy and the South Burnett.

May God's blessings continue to be your guide.

God Bless
Your Little Blind Girl

Sr Dolores Carroll sgs.

85 Years in the South Burnett

A year of planning went in to developing our Combined Anniversaries celebrations held on
30 and 31 in 2015. There were some of the biggest celebrations the College had seen across its 86 year history.

Across the weekend, more than 600 people gathered at Saint Mary's to celebrate a number of milestones including the College's 85th anniversary of primary education, the 50th anniversary of the secondary and 25th year of P-12 education.

The weekend got off to a great start with around 120 past students and staff gathering at the Nanango Races with most backing the winning Marion Mary, a Saint Mary's namesake in Race 1. Race 2 celebrated the College's anniversaries with the
Saint Mary's Combined Anniversaries (Class B) Handicap.

The night, over 600 people gathered in the College's Maryknoll Centre for the Combined Anniversaries Mass and dinner. Special guests at the combined anniversaries included Mr Kevin Schultz a first day 1929 student; Ms Pam Betts, the Executive Director of Brisbane Catholic Education; Mrs Cathy Jackson, pas Saint Mary's student and the Director of the North Services Centre; and representatives from the Good Samaritan Sisters and Sisters of Charity (now Mary Aikenhead Ministries) who began Saint Mary's College.

The Combined Anniversaries Mass was not only supported by Saint Mary's past and present students, staff and families, but also by St Mary's, Kingaroy and St Joseph's Murgon parishioners. The Mass featured beautiful music suppled by Saint Mary's talented staff and student musicians and choirs.

  • Following Mass, the College unveiled plaques to recognise the:
    Fr Vince Carroll Resource Centre (named in honour of Fr VJ Carroll) the Parish Priest who helped to being Saint Mary's Secondary College in 1965.
  • Sisters of Charity (now Mary Aikenhead Ministries) 175th anniversary in Australia
    including being Saint Mary's Convent School from 1929-1934.
  • Combined Anniversaries recognising the various incarnations of Saint Mary's and all of the lay and religious who have worked to create this outstanding College community.
    The night continued with live entertainment, food and coffee vendors, photographers and lots of past students and staff catching up over many hours.

On the Sunday, The College's Open Day welcomed hundreds of prospective parents and past staff and students to its state-of-the-art facilities, displays and performances. Bishop Brian Finnegan joined past staff and students for a roll call by Mr Nayler and our College Captains, Richelle and Rory.

As well as the huge efforts of Mr Nayler and Mrs Hauritz who put a year of planning into the Combined Anniversaries, we need to recognise everyone who worked hard to make this such a fantastic event. In particular, we need to thank Mr Perrett, Mr Dalton, Miss Schultz, Mrs Lutz, Mr Langley, Mr Linnane and our Combined Anniversaries Committee who work tirelessly behind the scenes.