Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview is a Roman Catholic, day and boarding school for boys, located in Riverview, a small suburb situated on the Lane Cove River on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Established in 1880 by Fr. Joseph Dalton, SJ, of the Society of Jesus, Saint Ignatius' is a Jesuit school in the tradition of St Ignatius of Loyola. It is part of the international network of Jesuit schools that began in Messina, Sicily in 1548. Saint Ignatius' College has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently caters for approximately 1,560 students from Years 5 to 12, including 335 boarders in Years 6 to 12.
The college is a member of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA), the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA), the Australian Boarding Schools' Association, and is a founding member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS).
Following Archbishop Roger William Bede Vaughan OSB's invitation to the Jesuits to Sydney on condition that they found a boys' boarding school and the bequest of Fr John Joseph Therry, who, on his death in 1864 left the greater part of his property to the Society of Jesus, Fr Joseph Dalton SJ concluded arrangements for the purchase of the Riverview property on 28 June 1878. Dalton became founding Rector of the college.
Its first students were brought to the school as advertised in the Catholic newspaper The Express, whereby boys aged between 8 and 12 would be received at Riverview "as soon as possible after the Christmas holidays." Classes commenced with two students on February 11 1880, in a small stone cottage on the Riverview estate.
The original cottage became very cramped with greater numbers and in order to provide better accommodation St Michael's House was built. The building was designed by W W Wardell and opened on the feast of Saint Michael, 29 September 1880. In 1882 a wooden boatshed was built for rowing and in 1883 the Infirmary took shape.
In its early years the College offered Classical and Modern Languages, History, Mathematics, the Natural Sciences and all other branches required for the Civil Service, the Junior, Senior and Matriculation Examinations', along with a modern touch - mercantile subjects.
Lessons were taught six days a week. Prayers began the day at 6.15 am, followed by Mass and study before breakfast at 8.30 am and concluded with night prayers at 8.30pm. On Sundays and holidays the boys were allowed to sleep in until 6.30am.
Within seven years of its founding, keen observers were taking notice. In 1887, James Francis Hogan wrote in The Irish in Australia that:
"St. John's College, affiliated to the University of Sydney; St. Ignatius' College, Riverview, conducted by the Jesuit Fathers; and St. Joseph's College, Hunter Hill (sic), under the management of the Marist Fathers, are three educational institutions that reflect the highest credit on the Catholic population of the parent colony".
The main building of the College was constructed in three stages between 1885–1930 and the foundation stone was laid by Cardinal Moran, Archbishop of Sydney on 15 December 1885. As originally designed by Gilbert, Dennehy and Tappin, of Ballarat, the building was to be a huge square, representing four identical fronts, but only the South front was completed according to plan due to financial constraints.
The organ in the chapel was built in 1910 at a cost of £460 by Charles Richardson and installed in 1911. By the 1970s the organ was becoming unreliable and the college organist at the time, Peter Meyer, contracted Arthur Jones to rebuild it in 1976.
Although the first dayboys were not officially admitted until 1923, there was a small group of pupils who were permitted to attend the college as dayboys. In fact, up until the 1960s dayboys remained relatively small in number and Riverview was mainly for boarders.
In the lead up to the 2003 Iraq war, the three school captains wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, John Howard, calling for a withdrawal of Australian troops from the Persian Gulf and for a non-military solution. They told Mr Howard a poll of 574 students at the College showed 75 per cent were against Australian military participation in Iraq, regardless of the United Nations’ position.
During February 2005, students sang for Pope John Paul II outside his hospital in Rome as part of the 2005 Pilgrimage of Hope. The students had previously met the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, meditated in Assisi, and worked the streets and orphanages of Calcutta with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.
It is a longstanding practice that students at the school write A.M.D.G. in the top left hand corner of any piece of work they do. This stands for Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam which means "To The Greater Glory Of God": a central theme of Jesuit Philosophy. Traditionally, at the end of a piece of work they wrote L.D.S. in the centre of the page, a practice which is no longer widespread. This stands for Laus Deo Semper which means "Praise to God Always", another traditional Jesuit motto.
Society of Jesus Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach wrote in The Characteristics of Jesuit Education that the "ideal is the well-rounded person who is intellectually competent, open to growth, religious, loving and committed to doing justice in generosity to the people of God".
Riverview's Jesuit sister schools include St Aloysius' College in Sydney, Saint Ignatius' College, Adelaide in Athelstone and Xavier College in Melbourne along with the 'Ignatian' Sydney school Loyola College, Mount Druitt.
"I think it's terrific. The hardest thing for us is when most kids finish up Auskick and want to continue playing AFL, it can be difficult. There's a lot of kids who want to play AFL and who don't get the chance. The more private schools get involved, the better. It's great for students, it's about kids making the decision themselves about what sport they want to play".In 2005, the Riverview under 18 team won that very same competition.In 2007 Riverview 1stXVIII won the premiership. Many say it was the best game played by Riverview.
"The match was a ripper, one of the best I have seen all year, played with tremendous skill and courage and, yes, passion... (played)before perhaps 25,000 people at the Joeys ground. It may well have been the biggest football crowd in Sydney that day, packed 10 and 20 deep in places. The score: Iggies 20, Joeys 18. Rugby famously began as a schoolboy game, and long may it stay one".
The House System was established in 1983 with the aim of improving the quality of care for students. There are twelve Houses, each consisting of approximately 80 boys from Years 9-12, with a Housemaster and five tutors in each House. Housemasters are concerned with the academic and pastoral development of boys under their care. In so doing, the House System at Riverview aims to develop the "well-rounded person", as Fr Peter Hans Kolvenbach SJ emphasised in the Characteristics of Jesuit Education:
"In a Jesuit School the atmosphere is one in which all can live and work together in understanding and love, with respect for all men and women as Children of God. Jesuit Education insists on individual care and concern for each person...Cura Personalis (concern for the individual person) remains a basic characteristic of Jesuit Education".
From an initial eight Houses in 1983, four more were added in 1997 to reflect the growth in the student population. These Houses were Chisholm, Dalton, Gonzaga and MacKillop. The twelve houses, their patron and motto are:
Houses meet each Tuesday for a Mini-House Meeting where weekend sport and procedural matters are discussed for fifteen minutes. They also meet once every three weeks for a 50 minute long 'House Meeting' where the student leadership of year 12 run pre-planned activities.
Each House is divided into five tutor groups made up of students from Years 9–12. Approximately three students from each of these year groups are in every tutor group, led by a senior teacher. Tutor Groups meet after recess three times per week for fifteen minutes and engage in a range of activities, culminating in a biannual tutor group outing.
With a boarding student population of 335, Riverview is one of the largest boarding schools in New South Wales. Officially a boarding only school until the 1920s, the Day Boys remained a small minority until the late 1960s. The College now has a majority of day-boys.
A number of Boarding Houses and refectories ('refs') are located on the College grounds. There is a junior refectory for Years 6–11 and a senior refectory for Year 12 (rhetoric) and staff members. Jesuit schools have always grouped their Boarders horizontally according to age groups, called Divisions. This means that each group of boys to be cared for as a homogenous age group. As a boy progresses from one of the six Divisions to the next, there is a freshness of environment. In Junior and Year 8 Divisions, boys have their own cubicle within a dormitory of eight. In Years 9 and 10 Divisions boys may sleep in a room of four or a single room. In Year 11 Division boys share a room while in Year 12 Division have single rooms, with both years being housed within the newly built Kevin Fagan House. Junior and Year 8 Divisions have a separate study area within the division while from Years 9-12 boys study at their own desk in their room.
Boarding fees for 2008 range from AUD$12,560 per annum in Year 6 to AUD$13,380 in Year 12, in addition to Tuition fees.
In 2005, the 125th year of the College, a project of community discussion developed a plan published as Riverview 2025: the preferred futures. A a series of talks by esteemed members of the community canvassed the future of the Church and Riverview's place in preparing its students for a changing world. The first forum began with journalist Geraldine Doogue interviewing social commentator Hugh Mackay on the direction Australian society is heading. The second address of the night focussed on the youth of Australia and was given by 1998 Young Australian of the Year Tan Le.
The second forum's keynote address was by the Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher OP, Dux of the school in 1977. After an address by member of the Human Rights Council of Australia Harris Van Beek on the relevance, authenticity and organisational issues of the Church, Bishop Fisher spoke to Values and the Future of Church and Religion as we know it. In this talk he stated that:
"First, Catholic schools must in the future give the teaching of Catholic faith and morals pride of place. Secondly, the Catholic religion (must) be increasingly visible in our school environment the more invisible it becomes elsewhere in our culture. Thirdly, Catholic schools will need to integrate...social activism, community service, leadership skilling and teamwork, arts and sciences, with other aspects of Catholic faith and practice and name them precisely as aspects of that Catholic faith and practice rather than compartments of life distinct from it".
In the final forum both Geraldine Doogue and headmaster of St Ignatius' College, Adelaide Fr. Greg O’Kelly S.J. highlighted the spiritual quest of many people today. Each presented that the education of the future would need to nurture an enquiring mind in an educational environment that includes reflection.
Discussions on the issues brought up by the talks gathered together over 3000 members of the Riverview community, including students, old boys, Jesuits, and past and present teachers.
The proposals envision students as either male or female; "primary, secondary, tertiary, adult or senior", and call for an on-campus centre for scholarship in teaching and learning. Such a centre would teach the precepts of Jesuit Education and Ignatian Pedagogy, re-energising the laity amidst declining religious vocations. Further, the College would engage in giving its students a series of overseas immersion experiences that reveal the world and the need to act to bring about the Greater Glory of God within it, perhaps moving to a more vocational leaving certificate such as the International Baccalaureate.
The centre would teach Jesuit bachelor degrees in education and hold residencies for overseas teachers and the staff of other Australian Jesuit schools. As the number of Jesuit staff members at the College declined from over 20 in the 1970s to 4 in 2005, Headmaster Shane Hogan told the Sydney Morning Herald, "we need to go into teaching education ... if there's no one here to influence (the students) when they get here, then they might as well be teachers from anywhere".
For Bishop Fisher, the College will need to succeed "in communicating a fully human, Ignatian, Catholic vision", so that it, amidst widespread atheism, can "demonstrate that it has (something) to say that the world does not already know".