boys sitting for their leaving exam

The opening in 1957 of 55-yard swimming pool, a memorial to the Old Boys who died in World War I and II, marked the first new construction at the College since 1894, when the main stone building was completed.

The 1960s was an era of major development at St Joseph’s as the number of students attending secondary school surged across Australia, including at , and a sixth year of high school (the Higher School Certificate) was introduced.

In 1959, buildings that since the 1880s had served as laboratories, wool-classing and music rooms, a shelter shed, assembly hall, picture theatre and gym, were demolished in preparation for a new classroom and laboratory block, the Pius X wing, its 1961 opening attended by then Prime Minister Robert Menzies. The school’s original two-storey wooden building, in which the first students lived and studied, had been demolished in 1895.

By 1967, the first HSC students were housed in a new Year 12 accommodation block of individual bed–study rooms for 172 boys, making a national leader in facilities for boarders. New dormitory accommodation for Year 11s had also been built, as well as common rooms for both senior years, a 182-seat lecture theatre, further new classrooms and laboratories, and specialised rooms for Art and Music.

The Br Liguori Resources Centre, designed and built according to the best and latest ideas internationally in modern school libraries, opened in 1976. Marking the College’s centenary year in 1981, the Br Emilian assembly hall, incorporating a basketball court and gymnasium, followed five years later. 

boys running in celebration

The sporting facilities are all located within walking distance of the main school campus in Hunters Hill. Via the Mark Street gates, visitors will access the College pool, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, College A, B and C rugby fields, music and drama performance and rehearsal space, along with the Br Emilian Hall, Farrell Audtorium, and Br Michael Naughtin theatre. 

The main playing fields (1,2,3, and 4), Lower Park football field and the College Tennis centre are located within a five minute walk from the Mark Street gates, on Augustine Street Hunters Hill. 

Throughout the summer sport season, cricket is played on College A and B, which is located on the main campus, through the Gladesville Road gates.
The Boat Shed is home to our rowing teams, and is located at Joly Parade Hunters Hill.



Boarding facilities

Year 7 to 9 dormitories are located on the upper floors of the College’s historic sandstone building, where boarders have been sleeping since the 1890s.

The facilities, however, are greatly enhanced compared to years gone by, including in the larger space assigned to each boy.

In modern, comfortable, attractive dormitories fully refurbished in 2013, each year group has its own shower block and each boy has a bed, small desk and a locker in his press area, which is where he keeps all his possessions.

During down time in the dormitories, the boys can play ping-pong or pool, or watch a movie in dedicated TV areas with plenty of space to lounge.

The open, inclusive nature of the dormitory design in these junior years contributes to the formation of strong, family-like bonds between boys in the same year group, and boys who are themselves engaged and happy, supported by friends and compassionate boarding staff who live on-site or close to the College.

The typical school week for a boy is a busy one, scheduled with classes and before- and after-school activities including music, debating and sports practice. Boarders eat three meals a day together in dining rooms allocated to each year group; day boys join them for lunch and, if they are staying until 8pm, for dinner too.

Saturdays are also busy with the boys’ commitments across the summer and winter sports competitions.

That’s why Sundays are dedicated to rest and recreation for boarders who have stayed on campus.

Sunday lunch is a barbecue around the College pool. Afterwards, boarders in Years 7 to 9 have the opportunity to head out with senior boarding staff for a range of activities through the year including movies, rock climbing, fishing and bikeriding, as well as visits to the beach, Homebush Aquatic Centre and Paddy’s Market.

Boys in Years 10 to 12 are given more independence, in line with the life skills they need to be developing at that age. With permission from parents and supervisors, they can take themselves to the beach, movies or shopping, and be back at for dinner.

Boarders also take full advantage of the College’s extensive sporting facilities. The Back Ovals, the gym and the pool are all popular, supervised spots on weekends.

But there is recreation built in through the week. For Years 7 to 10, downtime in the dormitories before lights out is a time for relaxing, reading, sleeping and other quiet forms of recreation. There is no loud music or rowdy behaviour and games, especially ball games; there are plenty of other times for the latter on ’ playing fields and courts, including after school before study sessions begin as well as on the weekends. On Friday evenings, Years 7 to 9 head to the Park in Augustine Street for a barbecue dinner and game of touch footy, while the older boys can head up the street for pizza.   

Back inside the dormitories, each boarding area has a TV, DVD player and Foxtel for use by the boys, with permission of supervisors, during evening recreation or on weekends at allotted times. Boys can also pit their skills against each other at table tennis and billiards.

Learning facilities

boys drawing in art room

The College’s Visual Arts building, completed in 2013, was conceptualised as a space of transformation. Boys entering the state-of-the-art facility know immediately that they are in a different thinking and learning space to other areas of the school. Flooded with light from enormous windows looking across the school’s Back Ovals and beyond, the building is a series of dynamic studio spaces connected to each other in a design that fosters creativity and collaboration.

Within the one senior and three junior multi-purpose studios are the resources for teaching and learning, from Year 7 to the HSC, the practice and theory of Visual Arts including printmaking, painting, sculpture and drawing. There is also a digital studio, a lighting studio and a dark room, with photography a popular component of the Visual Arts program.

The versatility of the studio spaces also allows for the hosting of an artist-in-residence each year, and the work of boys from Years 7 to 12 is celebrated annually through the Student Art Exhibition held in the College’s Farrell Auditorium.

Outdoor leaning in bushland

On 30 hectares of land on the Colo River adjoining the World Heritage-listed Wollemi National Park, boys step beyond their comfort zones into what Head of Outdoor Education Paul Bryant describes as “a rich and frankly magnificent classroom”.

Amid a landscape of eucalypt and rainforests and Hawkesbury sandstone cliffs, boys take part in activities including rock climbing, bushwalking, orienteering, canoeing and mountain biking. There is an adventure ropes course to tackle and bushcraft to learn, all the while fostering team-building skills, personal and interpersonal growth, and a greater connection to the country.

About 45 kilometres north-west of Windsor, the Colo Outdoor Education Centre has been owned and operated by the College since 1986. It is staffed by highly trained and experienced outdoor education teachers who play their own defining part in helping boys on their journey to becoming resilient, competent, caring and confident young men. The staff also maintain an outstanding safety record.

Boys in Years 7, 8 and 9 head in small groups to Colo through the school year for three- or four-night camps designed to incorporate a sense of adventure and challenge. They sleep in cabins that have their own showers, toilets and relaxation areas, and prepare their own meals in the well-equipped kitchen and dining hall. It also serves as a great stewardship and leadership experience for select Year 11 boys, who are chosen to accompany each group as part of a leadership training course, assisting with the running of the camp.

General bushwalking equipment on site, such as rucksacks, sleeping bags, raincoats and tents, allow for overnight camping expeditions on the property. Canadian canoes and mountain bikes are also on Colo’s extensive outdoor equipment inventory.

mothers lunch in hall

St Joseph’s College offers a variety of venues and facilities available for hire for corporate events, conferences, sports camps and a range of other functions. 

The College is located an easy 15-minute drive from Sydney CBD and is easily accessible by public transport. Its extensive grounds, first-class sports fields, character-filled sandstone buildings, flexible meeting spaces and technology-rich facilities make it an excellent venue for a wide range of events.

The College also offers on-site accommodation, dining rooms and a full catering service (provided by Alliance Catering), making organisation of your event simple and cost effective. 

Facilities are available for hire during school holidays, subject to availability.