Xavier College

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Xavier College
Xavier College Crest.png
Xavier College
Coordinates 37°48′44″S145°1′54″E / 37.81222°S 145.03167°E / -37.81222; 145.03167 Coordinates: 37°48′44″S145°1′54″E / 37.81222°S 145.03167°E / -37.81222; 145.03167
Type Private Independent, Roman Catholic day and boarding Coeducational Basic education institution
Motto Sursum Corda (Latin)
Lift up your hearts
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Established1878;143 years ago (1878)
ChairmanAnthony Nunan
RectorFr. Chris Middleton SJ
PrincipalWilliam Doherty [1]
Years P12
Gender Co-educational (P-4),
Boys (5-12)
Number of students1,802
Colour(s) Cardinal  and  Black 
Affiliations IPSHA APS
Website www.xavier.vic.edu.au

Xavier College is a Roman Catholic, day and boarding school predominantly for boys, founded in 1872 by the Society of Jesus, with its main campus located in Kew, an eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Classes started in 1878.


The college is part of the international network of Jesuit schools begun in Messina, Sicily in 1548. Originally an all-boys school, the College now offers co-education until Year 4, and an all-boys environment from then on. In 2011, the school had 2,085 students on roll, [2] including 76 boarders. [3]

The school is in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, [3] and is affiliated with the Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA) formerly the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA), [4] the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA), [5] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA), [6] and the Associated Public Schools of Victoria (APS). [7]

In December 2010, The Age reported that, on the number of alumni who had received a top Order of Australia honour, Xavier College ranked equal tenth among Australian schools. [8]

Grant Thomas described the school as 'the best-connected school in Melbourne'. [9] Its notable alumni include, two State Governors, two Deputy Prime Ministers, one State Premier, two Deputy Premiers and numerous Supreme Court Justices.


What is now called "The Senior Campus" is located in Barkers Road, Kew, 8 kilometres (5 miles) from the centre of Melbourne. The foundation stone of the campus was laid in 1872 and the school began formally in 1878 on land known originally as Mornane's Paddock. Founded as a Jesuit school, it was originally named St Francis Xavier's College. Construction continued during the school's early years, with the main oval added in 1883, and the West Wing and Great Hall in 1890. [10] In 1900, Xavier replaced St Patrick's College in East Melbourne as the only Catholic institution among the six Associated Public Schools at that time. [3] A Memorial Chapel on the Senior Campus was constructed in memory of Old Xaverians killed in the First World War, opening in 1934.

In 1993, a multi-purpose sports centre, the Stephenson Centre (since renamed), was opened. A science facility and the Eldon Hogan Performing Arts Centre opened on the campus in 2008, with eleven science laboratories, a music rehearsal room, and a 500-seat auditorium. [11]

At his appointment as principal in October 1997, Chris McCabe was the first lay head of a Jesuit school in Australia. [12] On his retirement at the end of 2008, [13] the post was filled by Chris Hayes, the former principal at St Edmund's, Canberra. [14]

Some buildings on the Senior Campus, [15] and Studley House at the Burke Hall Campus, [16] are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Xavier has a long-standing rivalry with St Kevin's College, in legal circles, an Old Xaverian Supreme Court judge quipping that 'You boys who were taught by the Brothers can never aspire to the Supreme Court. Positions on that Bench are reserved for those of us who were taught by the Jesuits'. [17]

Memorial Chapel

An Italian Renaissance style chapel was built in 1927 to celebrate the golden jubilee of Xavier College.[ citation needed ] From conception to completion, construction took around sixteen years and was led by Rectors Edmund Frost and Frank O’Keefe.

The foundation stone reads:

Memorial Chapel foundation stone Xavier-Chapel-Foundation-Stone.jpg
Memorial Chapel foundation stone
In honour of our living God
In memory of our fallen comrades
This foundation stone was laid by
His Grace Daniel Mannix D.D.
Archbishop of Melbourne
on the Feast of Christ the King
In the year 1927
Burke Hall
Cigarette card featuring the Xavier College colours and crest, circa 1920s Xaviercigarettecard.jpg
Cigarette card featuring the Xavier College colours and crest, circa 1920s

In 1920, Studley Hall, a gift from T.M. Burke, a Catholic businessman, was opened in 1921 as Xavier's first preparatory school. James O'Dwyer SJ, Rector of Xavier between 1908–1917, became Burke Hall's first headmaster, before the campus was renamed Burke Hall several years later in honour of its benefactor. Burke donated a classroom block in 1923 and, in 1926, Burke's wife provided funding for a construction of a chapel in memory of her deceased brother. [10] The campus was extended in 1966 with the donation of an adjacent mansion from the estate of John Wren following his death. After renovations to the original ballroom, which in 1975 became the library, and the original hall had been converted to classrooms, a new classroom block was built in 1987. A multi-purpose hall was constructed in 1997 overlooking the main oval that was re-graded in 1998. In 2002, a co-educational Early Years Centre was opened on the Burke Hall campus for students up to grade 4. [3] In 2011, a new classroom block, the St Mary MacKillop Building, was added and named after the first Australian-born saint, the St Mary MacKillop is a space for classes year 5 & 6.

Kostka Hall

Following the request by Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, that the school should have a campus in the southern suburbs of the city, William Hackett SJ, Rector of Xavier opened the Kostka Hall Junior campus in 1937, with the addition of a second building, Marchwood (also known as St Johns). [10] This was demolished in 1959 to make way for a major building project, including classrooms, tuckshop, and administrative buildings, and a chapel was built in 1967. Science rooms were added in 1969, and in the 1970s the Jesuits bought various adjoining properties to expand the campus. In 1996 a multi-purpose hall was completed with a new arts centre opened in 1998. In 2005 an Early Years Centre based on the one at Burke Hall was opened. This campus is scheduled to be shut down in 2021.

Buxton Campus

In addition to the three main campuses, the school has an outdoor education facility in Buxton, near Marysville, and a rowing shed on the banks of the Yarra River. It previously leased the historical mansion Billilla in Halifax Street, Brighton, from the Bayside City Council. [18] [19] In 2009, the Buxton outdoor education centre was temporarily closed due to extensive damage from the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, and was later sold in 2015. [20]


Senior Campus

After existing in some form for several decades, in 1977 the system of inter-house sport and activities was restructured. Each house was assigned a housemaster and seven tutors. Boys are split up into these seven tutor groups within each house and the tutor group meets each day with the tutor acting as mentor during their four-year attendance. House meetings take place around once a week, lockers are organised according to house and several inter-house sporting events are held each year. [21] In 1991, the houses, previously known by their colour, were given names. [22] and in 2010, the new houses of MacKillop and Regis were added.

HouseNamed afterMottoPremierships Number of Premierships
  Bellarmine Robert Bellarmine Integrity In All1998, 20182
  Cheshire Leonard Cheshire No Call Ignored1992, 1997, 20213
  Claver Peter Claver To Serve Not Be Served1995, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2016, 20176
  Gonzaga Aloysius Gonzaga No Greater Love1991, 1993, 1996, 2006, 2010, 20116
  Ignatius Ignatius of Loyola To God Alone The Glory
  MacKillop Mary MacKillop Virtue Conquers All2012, 2015, 20203
  Mannix Daniel Mannix Love One Another2000, 20142
  Regis John Francis Regis Courage Burns Within
  Ricci Matteo Ricci To Understand The Unknown1994, 1999, 2001, 20154
  Spinola Charles Spinola Always and Ever Faithful2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2013, 20196

Unawarded 2001–2002.

Gonzaga and Claver shared the 2010 Old Xaverians Trophy for the Champion House, having accumulated the same number of points throughout the year.

Burke Hall

The six houses of Burke Hall had existed for many years as Hodgson, Ignatius, Studley, Surbiton, Trawalla, and Waverley. [22] In 1987, two new houses were added and with the exception of Ignatius, the houses were renamed.

HouseNamed afterMottoPremierships
  Aloysius Aloysius Gonzaga No Greater Love1999, 2005, 2008, 2009
  Campion Edmund Campion The Expense Is Reckoned1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2013, 2018, 2019
  Claver Peter Claver To Serve Not Be Served1988, 2010,
  Ignatius Ignatius of Loyola To God Alone The Glory1992, 2012, 2014
  Loyola Ignatius of Loyola And Not To Count The Cost2002, 2007, 2011
  Owen Nicholas Owen Unless The Lord Builds2003, 2004, 2006 2014
  Regis John Francis Regis Your Word My Light1994, 1997, 2016
  Southwell Robert Southwell Who Least Hath Some1987, 1996, 2000, 2017

Tied premierships: 1987, 2006.

Early Years Centre

Upon its foundation in 2002, separate houses were created for the Early Years Centre students at Burke Hall.

HouseNamed after
  Chisholm Caroline Chisholm
  Favre Peter Favre
  Berchmans John Berchmans
  MacKillop Mary MacKillop

Kostka Hall

Awards commenced in 1971.

HouseNamed afterMottoPremierships
  Campion (formerly Tully House) Edmund Campion The Expense Is Reckoned1976, 1977, 1991, 1992, 1994, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
  Claver (formerly Hackett House) Peter Claver To Serve Not Be Served1973, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2009
  Owen (formerly Maritima House) Nicholas Owen Unless The Lord Builds1972, 1975, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1995, 1996, 1997
  Regis (formerly Craig House) John Francis Regis Your Word My Light1971, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1988, 1993, 2001, 2008


Xavier offers its senior students the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). Thirty-three VCE subjects and five external VET studies are offered. Xavier is one of only fifteen schools in Victoria to offer Latin and one of only two which offers Ancient Greek, which it has done continuously since 1878. Xavier and sister school Genazzano FCJ College have collaborated to develop a cross curriculum appreciation of the Classics as seen in both school's Latin as a LOTE option. Xavier does not offer the International Baccalaureate.[ citation needed ]

Xavier has a strong academic history. For each of the past sixteen years (excluding 2009 and 2015) the Dux of the school received an ATAR score of 99.95, the highest possible.[ citation needed ] In 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2016, three students achieved this mark at Xavier out of 32 in the state. [23] In 2012, five students achieved the maximum ATAR of 99.95.

Xavier College VCE Results 2012-2020 [24]
YearRankMedian Study ScoreScores of 40+ (%)Cohort Size


The main activities include Sport, Music, Drama, Debating, and Community Service. Students may also join specific interest groups such as the Chess Club. Outdoor Education is compulsory in Years 5 to 10, and students spend up to one week at a range of venues, where they are given instruction in a variety of activities.[ citation needed ]

Community service

Students are encouraged to participate in community service, and a minimum amount of completed service hours is mandated. Each Friday evening Xavier students volunteer their time at a tutoring school in housing commission apartments in Richmond, where many residents are recent migrants or refugees. This activity is completed with students from the sister school Genazzano FCJ College. [25] Year 11 students are required to participate in an additional 35 hours while on a week-long community service placement.

In collaboration with Genazzano FCJ College, Xavier College participates in a community outreach program in conjunction with the combined parishes of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Deepdene, Sacred Heart, Kew and Immaculate Conception, Hawthorn. For the duration of one week, 12 students from the partnered schools participate in a community building program in Bourke, an Outback town of New South Wales.[ citation needed ]


From Year 8 and above, students have the opportunity to participate in the Toorak division of the Debaters Association of Victoria competition. The college also takes part in the annual Jesuit Schools' Debating Carnival competing with Aloysius, Ignatius Riverview, Ignatius Adelaide and Loyola Mt Druitt.[ citation needed ]


(L-R) The Memorial Chapel on top of the hill overlooking a game of Australian rules football being played on the Roche Oval, Xavier College. Xavier-College-Chapel.jpg
(L-R) The Memorial Chapel on top of the hill overlooking a game of Australian rules football being played on the Roche Oval, Xavier College.

Sport is compulsory for all students at Xavier, [26] and in addition to cricket and Australian rules football, a range of sporting activities are offered including athletics, badminton, basketball, cross country, hockey, lawn bowls, martial arts, rowing, rugby union, sailing soccer, swimming, table tennis, tennis, triathlon, water polo and volleyball. [27]

Cricket is the main summer sport and the school has won premierships in 2009/10 and 2010/11. [28] Two alumni who pursued careers in the sport were Percy McDonnell (1860-1896) who captained the Australian Test team in six matches, including the tour of England in 1888, and Karl Schneider (1905-1928), who is described in Cricinfo as one of "the most naturally gifted batsmen to have graced the game". [29] While at the school, he played in the 1st XI for four years, three of which as captain. He broke the APS runs (1642) and wickets (139) records which remain unbroken, [29] and captained Xavier to back-to-back premierships in 1923–24. [28] Due to the performances of David Seal in 1974 the school won the premiership once again after fifty years. [30] Cricket alongside rowing (colloquially known as XCBC) are the two biggest summer sports at the college.

The school's Australian rules football team has produced numerous VFL/AFL players, and has won twenty-nine football premierships, third of the APS schools behind Scotch (36) and Melbourne Grammar (35). [28] The Old Xaverians Football Club has also been successful in the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA), winning eight premierships in the last decade. [31]

Along with football, the school's Old Xaverian community also links with the Old Xaverians Soccer Club and Old Xaverians Athletics Club.

APS Premierships

Xavier has won the following APS premierships: [32]

  • Athletics (16) - 1957, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1991, 2009
  • Basketball (3) - 2000, 2014, 2019
  • Cricket (11) - 1910, 1923, 1924, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2020
  • Cross Country (3) - 2004, 2008, 2014
  • Football (29) - 1910, 1917, 1924, 1932, 1933, 1955, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
  • Futsal (3) - 2015, 2020, 2021
  • Hockey (4) - 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
  • Rowing (5) - 1928, 1929, 1937, 1948, 1999
  • Soccer (9) - 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2017, 2018
  • Tennis (4) - 1995, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Volleyball (2) - 2014, 2018
  • Water Polo (8) - 2006, 2007, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019

Performing Arts

Performing Arts have been part of the school's activities since 1929, with Musical Theatre/Operetta and Dramatic Plays having a shared focus in the college's co-curricular program. The school conducts an annual Senior Musical Production with Genazzano FCJ College [33] as well as the annual Winter Play and Spring Play, which has been performed in collaboration with Loreto Mandeville Hall since 2000. The two Junior Campuses also have Performing Arts and Dramatic programs, each staging a major production every year. With the development of both the Crypt Drama Studio, below the Memorial Chapel, in 1999 and the Eldon Hogan Performing Arts Centre, performing arts at the college has become an integral part in the school's co-curricular program.

The Yearly Senior Calendar includes:

  • Annual Musical Production in late February/early March, produced in association with Genazzano FCJ College. (Year 10,11,12)
  • The Comedy Revue, run entirely by and for students in late March. (Year 9,10,11,12)
  • VCE Theatre Studies Play, produced by the VCE Theatre Studies Class in May. (Year 11,12)
  • Annual Winter Play, produced in late July in association with Loreto Mandevalle Hall Toorak. (Year 9,10,11,12)
  • VCE Theatre Studies and Drama Solo and Monologue Performance Night in late September (Year 11,12)
  • Spring Play, coordinated and held at Loreto Mandevalle Hall, Toorak, in association with Xavier College Drama. (Year 9,10,11)

Maytime Fair

The Maytime Fair has been held annually in May since 1952 and is hosted by Xavier College. It raises funds for the work of the Jesuit Mission, with support from friends and benefactors connected with schools, parishes, and other communities in Victoria and beyond. [34] The annual fairs have been assisted by traditional sister school Genazzano FCJ College, and together, the two schools have provided a number of student-run stalls such as "Go Nuts for Donuts", a Fairy Tent and face-painting, amongst others.

Each stall and attraction at the Maytime Fair donates its profit to the work of Jesuit Mission. The Maytime Fair consistently contributes over $100,000 each year for work in the developing world, including India, Cambodia, East Timor and Myanmar. [34] In 2008 over $130,000 was raised, which was given to assist in the relief effort by Jesuit Missionaries in response to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In 2010, over $150,000 was raised, and in 2016 $260,000 was raised [35]

Notable alumni

Alumni of Xavier College are known as Old Xaverians, and all former students become members the Old Xaverians' Association (OXA). [36]

In politics, academia and the law, Xavier's alumni include:[ citation needed ]

In other areas, notable Old Xaverians include:[ citation needed ]

Historical sexual abuse allegations

In March 2013, a submission was made to Victoria's parliamentary inquiry into child sexual abuse about the alleged abuse of children in its care in the 1960s and 1970s. [37]

See also

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    The hard copy article also published a table of the schools which were ranked in the top ten places:
    1st (19 awards) Scotch College, Melbourne
    2nd (17 awards) Geelong Grammar School
    3rd (13 awards) Sydney Boys High School
    Equal 4th (10 awards each) Fort Street High School, Perth Modern School and St Peter's College, Adelaide
    Equal 7th (9 awards each) Melbourne Grammar School, North Sydney Boys High School and The King's School, Parramatta
    Equal 10th (6 awards each) Launceston Grammar School, Melbourne High School, Wesley College, Melbourne and Xavier College.
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Further reading