St Virgil's College

St Virgil's College
St-Virgils MASTER Latin POS-CMYK-2-2-e1507597712817.jpg
Stvirgils 1911.jpg
St Virgil's College, 1911
Coordinates 42°46â€ē30â€ģS 147°15â€ē05â€ģEïŧŋ / ïŧŋ42.77500°S 147.25139°Eïŧŋ / -42.77500; 147.25139Coordinates: 42°46â€ē30â€ģS 147°15â€ē05â€ģEïŧŋ / ïŧŋ42.77500°S 147.25139°Eïŧŋ / -42.77500; 147.25139
Type Independent primary and secondary school
Motto By Deeds not Words Alone
Religious affiliation(s) Catholicism
Denomination Congregation of Christian Brothers
Established 22 January 1911; 110 years ago (1911-01-22)[1]
Oversight Archdiocese of Hobart, Tasmanian Catholic Education Office
Trust Edmund Rice Education Australia
Principal Damian Messer
Years offered 3–10
Gender Boys
Enrolment c. 750 (2008[2])
Colour(s) Royal blue, green and gold
Alumni Old Virgilian

St Virgil's College is an independent Catholic primary and secondary day school for boys, located over two campuses in Austins Ferry and Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Established in 1911 by the Congregation of Christian Brothers, the College has a non-selective enrolment policy and caters for approximately 680 students, from Years 3 to 10, with 120 at the junior campus and 480 at the senior campus.[2]

St Virgil's is affiliated with the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[3] the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[4] and is a member of the Sports Association of Tasmanian Independent Schools (SATIS). Oversight of the school is administered by the Archdiocese of Hobart, Tasmanian Catholic Education Office, and the school is a member of Edmund Rice Education Australia.[5]


St Virgil's College was formally opened on 22 January 1911 by The Christian Brothers. Leo Doyle was the first student admitted to the college. At is foundation the college was a boarding school for boys located in Barrack Street, Hobart.[1] The boarding section of the college was closed in 1970 and since then St Virgil's College has been a day school only.

In 1962, another campus was opened in Austins Ferry,[1] offering junior secondary grades (Grades 7–9) on a riverside property of 30 hectares. In 1991, three Grade 10 streams were also added. 2012 marks the 50 year celebrations for the campus.

The Barrack Street campus then expanded for students from Grades 7–12 until 1994 when, under the Southern Secondary Schools Restructuring Plan, the campus no longer accepted enrolments for Grade 7. At the end of 1994, Grades 8, 11 and 12 ceased to run at the Barrack Street campus, and all secondary grades were moved to the Austins Ferry campus. This allowed Guilford Young College (Grades 11 and 12) to be established on the Barrack Street site. Grades 9 and 10 still ran in 1995, and only Grade 10 was offered in 1996.

After 1996, St Virgil's College ceased to operate any of its classes on the Barrack Street campus. From then on, Grades 7–10 were all taught at the Austins Ferry campus, and because of the discontinuation of Grades 11–12, many students moved on to the newly formed Guilford Young College for their pre-tertiary years.

In August 1995, permission was granted for St Peter's School to become the St Virgil's College Junior School from 1996 onwards. The Junior School now accommodates boys from Grades 3–6 and operates on the old St Peter's School site in Patrick Street.

The current Principal of St Virgil's College is Damian Messer, who was appointed in 2010. In 2009, Christopher D. Smith left the college to carry out higher duties. Messer is now the full-time principal, with Heidi Senior as the Vice-Principal, a former teacher of the college, who replaced Terry Blizzard in 2019.

In 2019, it was announced that St Virgil's College would expand from a year 3-10 school to a kinder to year 12 school.[6] Works are currently underway to develop both the Hobart and Austins Ferry sites in order for the school to cater for the new students by 2021.


The college's buildings consist of superior science, music, art, sporting, computer, woodwork and metalwork, food technology and learning support facilities. Expansions to the library began construction in May 2009 and were completed in November 2009. Recent changes to the college's facilities include:

  • The Joyce Performance Centre (2000) for stage shows and assemblies
  • The Br Jack Higgins' Wing (2004) for more classrooms
  • The alterations/expansion of the Edmund Rice Hall (2005–2006) to play sports
  • The naming of "Our Lady of Perpetual Help" Chapel (2006) to pray
  • St Virgils College Library (2009) for a wider selection of reading material for the students
  • Centenary Centre (2011) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the school
  • Redevelopment and refurbishment of the Science Wing (2013/4)
  • Redevelopment of classrooms on both sides of the college (2016)
  • The installation of the quadrangle roof (2016)


St Virgil's College offers a broad curriculum, with the areas of literacy and numeracy of high importance. Emphasis is also placed on the languages, science, social sciences and physical education. The College places the most emphasis on its teaching of religious education, which is central to every student's studies.



Much importance is placed on sport at St Virgil's College. All students are encouraged to participate in at least one sport during their time at the college.

The college has had much success on the sporting field throughout its history. Most recent is the college's domination of the Tasmanian State and Southern School's Athletics. The college's athletics team have won the SATIS (Sports Association of Tasmanian Independent Schools) Boy's junior title 10 years in a row, and the Southern SATIS title 10 years in a row as well.

Other sports on offer at St Virgil's include canoe polo, cross-country, cricket, football, hockey, rowing, soccer, swimming, tennis, touch football, water polo, basketball, rugby, badminton, squash, sailing and athletics.


The college has two teacher-coordinated stage bands accommodating players of different skill levels. St Virgil's also offers individual and small group instrumental tuition for those wishing to acquire the skills to excel further than a band setting can allow them. The college also has the facilities to accommodate students wishing to start their own rock band.

The St Virgil's College Senior Stage Band has won numerous awards for its efforts at various eisteddfods around Hobart. The Senior Band specialises in the areas of contemporary rock, jazz, blues and Latin music. The band often performs at school fairs, school productions and masses. In late 2005, the Senior Band, along with the jazz quartet, toured Melbourne, performing at various schools and other venues. It is currently organizing and arranging plans to go on a similar tour of Melbourne in 2007.[needs update] The Senior Stage band has also taken part in many St Virgil's school musicals.

The band currently has between 10 and 15 members, and mainly features the trumpet, trombone and saxophone (alto, tenor and baritone), with a rhythm backing (drums, guitar and keyboard).

House system

As with most Australian schools, St Virgil's utilises a house system. The school houses are:

  • Doyle — Blue
  • Dwyer — Green
  • Hessian (formerly Virgilian House) — Red
  • Joyce (formerly College House) — Yellow

Notable alumni

An alumnus of St Virgil's College is known as an 'Old Virgilian' and may elect to join the school's alumni association, the Old Virgilians' Association. The Association was established in 1916 as a way for Old Virgilians to meet regularly and keep in touch with news about the college.[7] Some notable Old Virgilians include:

Entertainment, media and the arts
  • Major General Michael Crane AM – Commander of all Australian Forces in the Middle East area of operations (Iraq)[9]
Politics, public service and the law

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Our History". About St Virgil's. St Virgil's College. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  2. ^ a b "St Virgil's College". Schools. Catholic Education Office Hobart. 2008. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  3. ^ "JSHAA Tasmanian Directory of Members". Tasmania Branch. Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2008. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  4. ^ "Tasmania". School Directory. Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. 2008. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  5. ^ "Affiliated organisations". St Virgil's College. n.d. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  6. ^ "'Blueprint for the future' signals extension year 11 and 12". Archdiocese of Hobart. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Old Virgilians". About. St Virgil's College. Archived from the original on 5 August 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  8. ^ Anthony Hayward, Don Sharp: Film director who made his mark with 'Kiss of the Vampire' Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine from The Independent dated 29 December 2011, accessed 30 December 2011
  9. ^ "Brigadier Michael Crane, AM". Operation Catalyst. Australian Government: Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  10. ^ Hutton, Claire (3 September 2014). "Skilled diplomat helped to build early links to Asian neighbours". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 6 September 2014.
  11. ^ G. Kantvilas; C. Gueidan (2018). "Pannaria hookeri (lichenised Ascomycetes) – a remarkable new record for Australia" (PDF). Muelleria. 36: 74–80. ISSN 0077-1813. Wikidata Q102374092.
  12. ^ "London 2012 – Tristan Thomas Athlete Profile". Retrieved 4 August 2012.

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