St Edmund's War Memorial College was opened in 1954 by the Christian Brothers to respond to the call of Catholic parents in the region. It was the first Catholic Secondary Boys' College established in the Australian Capital Territory and has been educating boys for over 60 years from Year 4 to Year 12 in the Edmund Rice Tradition. The College belongs to the Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) network of schools following the vision of Edmund Rice.
The College is an inclusive community, committed and supportive of its traditions and strives to educate and inspire the boys; achieving a synthesis of faith and culture to foster a caring family spirit where boys can realise their full potential.
In 1925 the Christian Brothers contacted Bishop Barry the Bishop of Goulburn to advise them of the plan to start an all boys school in Canberra. In the April of 1938 Fr P Haydon (Parish Priest of Canberra) requested the Department of the Interior to set aside an area of 12 to 15 acres for the school on the southern side of Canberra Avenue. The lease of land on No 5 Manuka was prepared in July of 1946 and signed four years later in October of 1950 from the advice of the Acting Administrator of the Parish Fr Twomey. The agreement was then made out to the Trustees of the Christian Brothers.
A further twelve months later on the 14 October 1951 before the Foundation Stone was laid by Archbishop T McGuire and the first Soil was turned on the 11 November 1951 by the Speaker of the House of Representatives the Hon. Archie Cameron. Building commenced in 1952 and in June of that year members of Parliament who had been educated by the Christian Brothers held a tree planting ceremony along the Canberra Avenue side of the College. This was to mark the Sesqui-Centenary of the foundation of the Christian Brothers.
St Edmund’s College was built in memory of all the Christian Brothers students around Australia who had given their lives in the two World Wars. The name of the College was chosen by the Superior-General of the Christian Brothers in 1954 Br E F Clancy. The College was the first Catholic Boys school to open in Canberra and is now the oldest Catholic school still operating here in the National Capital.
The first school day for students was 2 February 1954 and there were 330 boys enrolled. The official opening was the 14 March 1954 and was a great occasion for Canberra with the Prime Minister Mr R Menzies, the Leader of the Opposition Dr H Evatt, Cardinal N Gilroy, Archbishop E O’Brien, Bishop G Young and many other distinguished guests along with the Christian Brothers, the students and their families all seated at the front of the College to celebrate the opening and listen to the speeches.
The College has grown and now has a student population of over 1100. The buildings have had many extensions over the years and upgraded to enable the school facilities to cope with demands of the 21st century. The College has an Assembly Hall, Chapel, Gymnasium, beautiful grounds with ovals and tennis courts as well as The Pines at Tuross Head.
In 1802, Edmund Rice commenced his first school for boys in Waterford, Ireland. Joined by men who became known as the Christain Brothers, Edmund extended his mission of providing education to poor youth throughout Ireland and beyond. From 1868, beginning under the inspirational leadership of Brother Ambrose Treacy, schools and orphanages were established throughout Australia and New Zealand. The Gospel-centered charism of Blessed Edmund Rice has continued to inspire Christian Brothers and members of the Edmund Rice Network in their ministry. These foundations are in schools today in over 26 countries.
Founded in 1954 St Edmund's College Canberra has proudly educated thousands of boys over the last 60 years from Years 4 to Years 12.
Br E C Fields 1957 – 1959
Br N T Landener 1960 – 1965
Br J B Darmody 1966 – 1969
Br G D Kerr 1970 – 1978
Br R J Wallace 1979 – 1988
Br J P O’Shea 1989 – 1994
Mr C J Dwyer 1995 – 2004
Mr C X Hayes 2005 – 2008
Mr Peter Fullagar 2009 - 2014
Mr Daniel Lawler 2015 current