Primary contact21 Dickson Street, Echuca
Echuca, Victoria 3564
St Joseph’s College, Echuca is a Kildare Education Ministries Catholic Co-Educational Secondary College in the Brigidine tradition, with its beginnings in 1886. Until the 1960s, the school included primary and high school students. At that time, the primary section of the College was closed down and all primary students went to St Mary’s Parish Primary School.
In 1885, Bishop Crane, the first Bishop of Sandhurst, had invited the Brigidine sisters to come out to Australia and open a convent and school in Echuca. On 4 January 1886, Mother Borgia Hayden, Mother Benedict Moore, Sister Vincent Brennan and Sister Thomas Healy set sail for Australia. They took up residence in Apsley House, the former home of Henry Hopwood, the founder of Echuca.
The Brigidine Convent High School was opened in the Convent parlour on 22nd March 1886 with eight pupils and six weeks later the girl’s boarding school was opened. By the end of the first year there were 30 students in the High School and 30 in the primary section of the school. The curriculum, as advertised in the Riverine Herald in 1886, consisted of English, Use of Globes, Astronomy, History (Ancient and Modern), Arithmetic, Foreign Languages, Vocal and Instrumental Music, Painting, Drawing, Plain and Fancy Needlework.
In 1896, ten years after the first Australian postulant entered, Echuca was selected as the site for the first Victorian Brigidine Novitiate and was the centre for training all women wanting to become Brigidine Sisters. It was around this time that the first Victorian Provincial was appointed and she resided here in the community of Echuca. In 1907, the novitiate, the training place for nuns, was moved from Echuca to Mentone.
In late 2018 St Joseph’s College announced the decision to expand, and land was purchased at 66 Stratton Road to establish a second campus. Plans include an upgrade of the Dickson Street facilities as well as the commissioning of a new campus; it is hoped the two complex projects will come to fruition over the next 6 to 8 years.
For further information about the history of the college, see https://www.sje.vic.edu.au/history/