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Villanova College is a private, Roman Catholic school for boys located in Coorparoo, a southern suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The school has a non-selective enrolment policy for all years and caters for approximately 1,150 boys in three schools, Junior, Middle and Senior from year five to twelve. Established in 1948 by six Irish priests, led by Fr Ben O'Donnell, OSA, who were from the Order of Saint Augustine in the suburb of Hamilton.[citation needed] In 1954, due to lack of prospects for growth in Hamilton, the College moved to its present site at Coorparoo. The college is a member of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[2] The Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA), Combined Independent Colleges (CIC), and the Associated Independent Colleges (AIC).

Villanova College
Coordinates27°29′45″S 153°3′5″E / 27.49583°S 153.05139°E / -27.49583; 153.05139Coordinates: 27°29′45″S 153°3′5″E / 27.49583°S 153.05139°E / -27.49583; 153.05139
TypePrivate, day school
MottoVincit Veritas
(Truth Conquers)
DenominationRoman Catholic, Augustinians[1]
Patron saint(s)St Thomas of Villanova
FounderFr. O'Donnell, OSA
PrincipalMark Stower
Staff~81 (Full & Part-time)
Colour(s)Green and Gold         



Whinstanes (1948–1953)Edit

In 1948, Archbishop James Duhig welcomed Fr O'Donnell with five other Irish Augustinians to Australia, and invited them to start a school in Brisbane. They subsequently established Villanova in the suburb of Whinstanes (now part of Hamilton). On 25 January 1948, the college was officially opened by the Chancellor of the University of Queensland, William Forgan-Smith, who raised the college flag in front of the main entrance and was blessed by Archbishop Duhig.[3] In 1953 a decision was made to move the college due to lack of prospects for expansion in Whinstanes.

Coorparoo (1954–present)Edit

Early in the 1880s, merchant Reuben Nicklin built a large house Langlands in Coorparoo. In 1886, Nicklin built another house Hatherton (now Queen Alexandra Home) at another site in Coorparoo and sold the Langlands house and its grounds.[4] (Nicklin, his wife and daughter subsequently died in the wreck of the RMS Quetta in 1890.) Thomas Connah and William Brookes bought a large block of land that included Nicklin's house. Connah resided in Nicklin's former residence. Connah became Queensland Auditor-general and he sold Langlands to Archbishop James Duhig in 1916. Langlands became the Good Samaritan Convent of Saint Scholastica until 1953, when Villanova College moved from Whinstanes to the Coorparoo property.[5]

Villanova College with Goold Hall left of picture

The school was officially opened on 22 November 1953 by Archbishop Duhig. The building had been built at a cost of £50,000 and could accommodate 500 students.[6] In the 1960s/70s, a library, science laboratories, senior classrooms and a new primary block joined the existing buildings on the campus. During this period, the college saw additional co-curricular facilities including a swimming pool on campus and sporting fields at Tingalpa. Villanova had been a founding member of The Associated Schools (TAS) and was always competitive. During the 1970s/80s the College saw the foundation of the Student Council as well as the leadership role of all the boys in the senior class which led to the abolition of the prefect system. The election of captain and vice-captains of the school and houses by the senior class was started. The Goold Gymnasium and Assembly Hall was built as well as more classrooms, new science laboratories, a technical drawing room and some Art rooms.[citation needed]

The late eighties and nineties saw the governance of the College now entrusted to a College Council composed of staff, parents, Augustinians, past students and friends of the College. It also saw new courses start in computing, and catering start at the college and the introduction of a campus-wide computer network as well as computers in classrooms. The 1990s saw the college split from the TAS competition and the foundation of the AIC Competition.[7]

In 2006 the college inaugurated its three present schools:[7]

  • Junior, consisting of Years 5 and 6
  • Middle with the grades of 7, 8 & 9
  • Senior with Year 10, 11 & 12.

The most recent building in the college is the Veritas building and the Fr. Michael Morahan Staff Centre. The buildings were completed as part of the BER program by the Australian Government.

House systemEdit

Goold House, named after James Goold

Villanova College has four houses which compete in inter-house athletics, cross-country and swimming, as well as many other school based activities.

  •      Heavey House named after Bishop John Heavey; House colour: Green
  •      Goold House named after James Goold; House colour: Yellow
  •      Crane House named after Martin Crane; House colour: Red
  •      Murray House named after James Murray; House colour: Blue

Patron SaintEdit

The college is named in honour of St. Thomas of Villanova, a sixteenth-century Spanish Augustinian who was born in 1488 and died in 1555. Thomas was Archbishop of Valencia. After his death he was canonised by Pope Alexander VII in 1658. His feast day is celebrated on 22 September. Other Augustinian Colleges named for this saint are St. Thomas of Villanova College, located in Ontario, Canada, and Villanova Preparatory School in California, United States. He is also the patron saint to the popular Catholic university, Villanova University located in Villanova, Pennsylvania, United States.

Rectors of College and Principals of CollegeEdit

There have been 8 Augustinian rectors at Villanova College in its history. The traditional job of the rector was to lead the college but this has changed after the retirement of Fr. Michael Morahan in 2009. Now Villanova College has a lay principal with the priests living in the priory at Villanova College looking after school Masses. The current priest of the college is Fr Peter Wieneke.[citation needed]

Rector Years Notes
Fr. Ben O'Donnell 1948–1958 Founding Member and First Rector of the College
Fr. Louis Hanrahan 1959–1964
Fr. Kevin Burman 1965–1970
Fr. Donal Paul Dempsey 1971–1975
Fr. Laurence Mooney 1976–1986
Fr. Peter Weineke 1987–1994
Fr. Michael Morahan 1995–2009 Last Augustinian Rector of the College
Dennis Harvey 2010–2014
Mark Stower 2015–present [8]


Junior schoolEdit

Students in Years 5 to 6 study the Key Learning Areas: Religious Education (RE), English, Mathematics, Study of Society and Environment (SOSE), Science, Technology and Computer Literacy, Visual Art, Music, Media, Drama and Health and Physical Education (HPE).[citation needed]

Middle schoolEdit

In Year 7 the Major Core Curriculum is divided into two parts; Humanities, which consists of English, SOSE and RE, and Maths, Science and Technology, as well as studies in Music, Drama, Art and Computing as well as HPE and Library lessons each week. In Year 8 the Major Core Curriculum consists of two parts; Humanities, which consists of English, SOSE and RE, as well as Maths and Science. Six enrichment subjects are offered, Music, Art, Drama, Computing, Business Studies and Graphics and Chinese and Italian.[citation needed]

In Year 9 the Major Core Curriculum is divided into separate subjects of RE, SOSE, Science, Mathematics, English and HPE. Year 9 Students also take four elective units, two for semester 1 and two for semester 2.

Senior schoolEdit

In Year 10 the Core Program includes English, Mathematics, RE and Health. The Core Program also includes Science Core Option Units and Social Science Core Option Units where students choose two from each, one for each term. They also choose four elective units from a range of core extension and elective subject areas. In Year 11 and 12 it is mandatory for students to take the subject of RE, a Mathematics subject and an English subject and in addition they must choose three or four from the Authority and Authority-Registered subjects. Instead of this, they can choose to do a VET or SAT Course. In 2010, 141 students in the Year 12 cohort received an Overall Position (OP) result. 38 were in the 1–5 range and 67 were in the 6–15 range.[citation needed]



The college is a foundation member of the AIC sporting association. The college has sporting fields at Tingalpa, in Brisbane's east suburbs. The AIC sporting association is for all years from fives to Open. It comprises 8 schools, Marist College Ashgrove, St Edmunds College, Ipswich, St Patrick's College, Iona College, Padua College, St Laurence's College and St. Peters Lutheran College. The sports played by the association are rugby union, soccer, cricket, basketball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, chess, Water Polo, athletics and cross country.

The CIC sporting association is for grades 4 to 7 and Villanova competes against Anglican Church Grammar School, Brisbane Boys' College, Brisbane Grammar School, Iona College, Marist College Ashgrove, Moreton Bay Boy's College, Padua College, St Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace, Nudgee Junior College, St Joseph's Nudgee College, St Laurence's College, St Patrick's College, and The Southport School.


The college currently has over 30 main music ensembles including:

  • Symphony orchestras
  • String orchestras
  • Concert bands
  • Vocal ensembles
  • Guitar ensembles
  • Percussion ensembles
  • Jazz ensembles
  • Commercial (contemporary) ensembles
  • Irish ensembles
  • Chamber string, woodwind and brass ensembles

The music program is also compulsory for the junior school. The college hosts Queensland's largest music festival for Catholic Schools and Colleges, Queensland Catholic Schools & College's Music Festival (QCMF).[9] This festival is a four-day event in which over one-hundred schools from around Queensland and Australia showcase their talents and receive plaques for particular levels of achievement. Villanova is home to a music centre, known as the Augustine Centre. Within this centre is the Hanrahan Theatre, named after the second rector of the college, Fr John Hanrahan.[citation needed]


Villanova is involved with the Queensland Debating Union (QDU) and CIC debating competitions. In 2001, Villanova placed first in the Senior A QDU debating competition. The QDU competition at Villanova involves students from years 8 to 12, who debate against other schools in the district. The CIC competition involves students from years 5–7 compete against the other schools in the CIC competition.[citation needed]


Villanova takes part yearly in the Young ICT Explorers Competition Australia held annually at the University of Queensland St. Lucia campus. The college has also established their own Technical Production crew (more commonly known as "Tech Crew"), that facilitate and manage the technical (lighting and sound) side of Hanrahan Theater, under the direction of the facilities manager. Every year the 'Tech Crew' elect a leader to manage the group.[citation needed]

Cultural and spiritualEdit

Villanova runs musical productions in conjunction with Loreto College every two years. Recent productions have been Crazy for You (2014), Guys and Dolls (2016), and most recently Footloose (2018). Students of Chinese language studies have the opportunity to visit China every second year. The music department holds a Music Tour for all students in the colleges Senior Ensembles every two years, the most recent tours being to the United States in 2013, Tasmania in 2015, and New Zealand in 2017 as part of the Rhapsody Rotorua Music Festival.[citation needed]

AFAS members can visit impoverished students in the Philippines and assist in developing their communities, also every two years. Villanova competes in the Tournament of Minds competition and in 2010 took out first place in the Primary Division of Applied Technology. Other activities include Environment Group, Student Council, Eucharistic Ministry, LIONS Youth of the Year and the RACI Titration Competition. Villanova conducts a sports tour with St Augustine's College, Brookvale, Sydney, alternating as hosts.[10]

Augustinian Youth MinistryEdit

The Augustinian Ministry programme (AYM) at Villanova College, offers students the opportunity to contribute to both local and international communities through service. Students have the opportunity to join these groups and nominate for leadership positions within the ministries. Ministries Villanova offers students to be involved in includes:

  • Young Christian Students (YCS) – Helps Students within the college community, settling in of new students and helps improve the overall image of the college.
  • St Vincent de Paul Society – Helps people in the local Brisbane community. One major event being Easter Hampers for the needy.
  • The Benenson Society – Fights to help worldwide issues. These issues include Human Rights and Immigration.
  • Young Augustinian Youth Ministry – Works for people both locally and worldwide. This ministry is run by students from the middle school.
  • Australian Filipino Augustinian Solidarity (AFAS) – Helps fund student in the Philippines and provides fundamental resources.


The college maintains two locations for student activity. The main campus is located at Coorparoo that includes a library, chapel, science laboratories, a hall named after James Alipius Goold, technical drawing and art rooms and a junior block. The main campus also houses a swimming pool and oval called 'Whinstanes', named after the original block in Hamilton. The college owns a block of land located at Tingalpa, called Villanova Park. It also has seven playing fields and the "Cor Unum Center".[citation needed]


Tolentine, also known as 'T' block, is the oldest and original building at Villanova and incorporates administration, pastoral and teaching facilities. At the time of building, the 'Tower', which is approximately 50m tall, was the second tallest building in Brisbane. Tolentine was split into two wings in 2006, with the incorporation of three separate sub-schools and a minor refurbishment. The block is named after the Augustinian Saint, Nicholas of Tolentine.[citation needed]

Good Counsel & Cascia

Also known as 'GC' & 'C' block, was built in 1967 to accommodate classrooms, a one-room library and a general purpose room. Today, the Good Counsel facility is dedicated solely to the middle school. Good Council and Cascia block are named after the Mother of Good Counsel and the Augustinian saint, Rita of Cascia.[citation needed]

Mendel Hall

Opened originally in 1971 as a two-storey complex dedicated solely to the sciences, with a bottom floor reserved for the arts – an art room and a media room for debates. In 1979, a third storey was added with two new laboratories. Today, the two top storeys are dedicated to science laboratories, with the bottom levels incorporating a technical drawings room, classrooms and a catering centre. The swimming pool is located near the Mendel complex. The complex is named for Gregor Mendel.

Goold Hall

In 1985 and 1986, demolition of previous buildings and purchasing of new land allowed the construction of Goold Hall, incorporating an indoor sporting centre, a stage and numerous classrooms. The hall up until 2005 was used for school assemblies and musical productions, this has since changed with the construction of the Augustine Centre. After this, the Brisbane Augustinian community moved to the new priory located in the college grounds. The Hall is named for James Alipius Goold, the first Augustinian to come to Australia and the first Archbishop of Melbourne.

O'Donnell Building

Years 1993 and 1994 saw further major building works with the construction of the O'Donnell block, comprising seven classrooms and art facilities. It was named after Villanova's first rector, Fr. O'Donnell OSA, who was invited from Ireland to attend the opening. Today it is used as the Primary School of the College.[citation needed]

Augustine Centre

Opened in May 2005, the Augustine Centre was the most anticipated development within the college, planned for over a decade. It was opened with the assistance of the wider community in co-ordination with the One Mind, One Heart campaign, which began in 2003. The program encompassed a donation by families to help construct two centres – Augustine Centre and Cor Unum Centre. The Augustine centre incorporates music and drama facilities with the addition of staff offices. The Hanrahan theatre, the main auditorium of the complex, can be split into two lecture theatres and seats over 500, with high class technical features. The drama centre is attached via an annexe and incorporates teaching and office facilities. The lower level of the centre incorporates a complete music tuition complex, with ten music classrooms, practice rooms and storage facilities. Furthermore, the centre also has meeting areas and food areas.[citation needed]

Cor Unum Centre

The Cor Unum Centre is situated at the College's sports facilities – Villanova Park, opened in 2006. The centre incorporates sporting meeting facilities, food preparation areas and a grand stand located close to the Andrew Slack Oval.

Veritas Building & the Fr Michael Morahan Staff Centre

The most recently opened complex within the college is the Veritas Building and the Fr Michael Morahan Staff Centre. The Veritas Building is dedicated to the senior school. Both building were officially blessed and opened on 22 May 2012. The Fr Michael Morahan Staff Centre is in memory of the last Augustinian Priest and Rector of the College who died in 2011.

Old Boys AssociationEdit

Villanova Old Boys Association Incorporated (VOBAI) is the association for all old boys of the college.

Notable alumniEdit



Michael Zullo, Current member of FC Utrecht and Former Australian Socceroos Player


Media and entertainment


Associated schoolsEdit

St. Augustine's College 1st VX winning a game against Villanova College

Villanova's brother school is St. Augustine's College, Brookvale in Sydney.[10] Loreto College is the sister school of Villanova College.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "AN AUGUSTINIAN EDUCATION". Villanova College. Archived from the original on 16 September 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  2. ^ "AHISA Schools: New South Wales". Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  3. ^ "Newspaper Article, 22 January 1948". Villanova College. 1948. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  4. ^ "Classified Advertising". The Brisbane Courier. XLI, (8, 753). Queensland, Australia. 3 February 1886. p. 7. Retrieved 18 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "'Langlands' & chapel (former), Villa Nova College". Brisbane Heritage Register. Brisbane City Council. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Newspaper Article 21st of November 1953". Villanova College. 1953. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  7. ^ a b Associated Independent Colleges#History
  8. ^ "College Council". Villanova College. Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  9. ^ "QCMF Music Festival". Villanova College. 2011. Archived from the original on 8 April 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  10. ^ a b Davidson, John. "5 out of 6 record for Brookvale boys". Sport. Archived from the original on 13 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Speech by Kerry Shine" (PDF). Queensland Parliament. 5 April 2001. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Villavoice November 2010 First XV Premiership 2010" (PDF). Villanova College. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Villavoice July 2009 Who's in the News" (PDF). Villanova College. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Josh Robinson". Official Site of the 2016 Australian Olympic Team. Australian Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Villavoice November 2008 Chris Simpson" (PDF). Villanova College. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2011.
  16. ^ "Villavoice July 2009 Michael Zullo" (PDF). Villanova College. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 March 2012.
  17. ^ "Daniel Feuerriegel". IMDb. Archived from the original on 10 February 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  18. ^ "Platinum Speakers 7 Entertainers – Chris Reason". Platinum Speakers and Entertainers. Archived from the original on 5 March 2011.
  19. ^ "Andrew Sack – Talking up the Slack Player Profiles". Sportsasylum. Archived from the original on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  20. ^ "Judge Robert Ramsay Douglas". The Douglas Archives. 21 March 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2019.


  • Arneil, Stan; Out Where the Dead Men Lie (The Augustinians in Australia 1838–1992), Augustinian Press Brookvale (1992); ISBN 0-949826-03-0

External linksEdit