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Villanova College

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Villanova College

Villanova college
Vincit Veritas
(Latin for "Truth Conquers")
Coorparoo, Queensland
Type Private, Day school, single-sex
Denomination Roman Catholic, Augustinians[1]
Patron saint(s) St Thomas of Villanova
Established 1948
Founder Fr. O'Donnell, OSA
Principal Mark Stower
Vice principal John Holroyd (Ministry, Mission and Evangelisation)[2]
Vice principal Paul Mead (Teaching and Learning)[2]
Staff ~81 (Full & Part-time)
Grades 5-12
Enrolment ~1,150 (5-12)
Colour(s) Green and Gold         

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 Hamilton.

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),[3] The Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA), Combined Independent Colleges (CIC),and the Associated Independent Colleges (AIC).


At Whinstanes (1948-1953)

In 1948, Archbishop 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 [4] In 1953 a decision was made to move the college due to lack of prospects for expansion in Hamilton and a site was found in Coorparoo.

At Coorparoo (1954-Present Day)

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.[5] 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.

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[6]

In 2006 the college inaugurated its three present schools:[6]

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

Currently the college is building a new Staff and Senior block, part of the BER program by the Australian Government.

House system

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 Saint

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 canonized 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 & Principals of College

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.

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
Mr. Dennis Harvey 2010–2014
Mr. Mark Stower 2015–present [7]


Junior School

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).

Middle School

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, a 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.

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 School

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 chose 2 from each, 1 for each term. They also chose 4 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 chose three or four from the Authority and Authority-Registered subjects. Instead of this, they can chose 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.



The college is a foundation member of the AIC and CIC sporting associations. The college has sporting fields at Tingalpa, in Brisbane's east suburbs. The AIC sporting association is for years eight 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, 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.


Queensland Catholic Music Festival, which Villanova hosts

The college currently has twenty-eight main music ensembles,[8] 4 bands,[9] 5 String ensembles,[10] 3 jazz bands,[11] 4 choirs[12] as well as 14 extra Chamber Ensembles.[13] 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).[14] This festival is a three-day event in which over seventy-five schools from around Queensland and New Zealand to 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.


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.


Villanova takes part yearly in the Young ITC 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 an equipment manager and a stage manager to manage the group.


Villanova runs musical productions in conjunction with Loreto College every two years. Recent productions have been Back to the Eighties (2006) and Pimpernel (2004), "The Wiz" (2008), and recently "Godspell." 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 Melbourne in 2005 and Sydney in 2007, where the colleges students performed in the Sydney Opera House. The most recent tour was held in June 2009 to the city of Rotorua, New Zealand.

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 Augustines College, Brookvale, Sydney, alternating as hosts.[15]

Augustinian Youth Ministry

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".


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.

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.

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.

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-cordination 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 audiotorium 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 annex 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.

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 Association

Villanova Old Boys Association Incorporated (VOBAI) is the association for all old boys of the college. VOBAI's objectives are to

  • Foster the spiritual and temporal interests of the Old Boys;
  • Promote the interests of Villanova College and its Old Boys;
  • Establish and award prizes, memorials and bursaries; and
  • Support the work of the Augustinian Fathers at Villanova College and elsewhere

Notable alumni

Some notable 'Old Boys' include:

  • Eugene Gilfedder - Actor and Playwright, Matilda Award winner 1988, 1999 and 2010.
  • Liam Ferney - Poet, author of Popular Mechanics and Boom.
  • James Moloney - Author, best known for The Book of Lies, The Gracey Trilogy, and A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove.
Michael Zullo, Current member of FC Utrecht and Former Australian Socceroos Player
Media and entertainment

Associated schools

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

Villanova's brother school is St. Augustine's College, Brookvale in Sydney.[15] Loreto College is the sister school of Villanova College.

See also



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

External links

  • Villanova College website
  • Order of St Augustine, International Homepage
  • Order of St Augustine, Australian Homepage
  • Augnet International Cooperative Web Site for Schools in the Tradition of St. Augustine
  • Text of the Rule of St. Augustine
  • Queensland Catholic Schools and Colleges Music Festival
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