The journey of St. Michael's College began in 1983 from very humble beginnings. We have grown from just four students in a small farm house to the current double stream P-6 campus that we are today.
A brief summary of the humble beginnings of St. Michael's College written by Sister Veronica, our Dean of Pastoral Care who has been a member of the Abbey Community since 1975 and has seen many many changes across the years.
St. Michael's College started way back in 1983 in the original farmhouse that was located on the property when the Abbey Community first arrived in 1965. The farmhouse was converted into two classrooms with an additional small library space. The kitchen was used for cooking and in rainy weather this became the eating area. By 1985, twenty students had been enrolled and St. Michael's College had its first waiting list!
With the lack of space and Council regulations, a decision was made to establish the College on the current campus. This was an exciting time. Funds which were used to commence the building program became available when a crop of pumpkins grown by the Community were sold at premium prices. By then the Community was a self supporting community, using their dairy herd for milk and making their own butter and cheese. They owned their own bee hives, made their own candles and soap and grew organic vegetables. However; once the land was cleared they relied on the profits from the piggery, beef herd and farming - mainly tomato and pumpkin crops - for their sustainability.
A new beginning… In 1985, a site was chosen for the new campus amongst the bush. A small area was cleared for the first building (now the ICT lab) and an amenities block. It’s hard to imagine today that the students playground was all natural bushland. Students had such fun creating all sorts of open spaces with branches and logs and dwellings with sticks and leaves. They played in a huge mound of dirt making roads and they were even allowed to bring their matchbox cars to school to use. There was water from the nearby tap and all sorts of pipes soon ‘appeared’. Lunch times were such fun! Gradually playground equipment such as slides, monkey bars and seesaw were donated as the enrolments grew.
A second classroom block was opened in 1988, just before the College was officially opened by Mr Ettershank the Director of Education. Parents and visitors were invited to the opening to enjoy a pageant recalling a short history of ‘Education through the Ages’ and all the College students were involved in. St. Michael’s College was finally on the map as we had received ‘Full Registration’ as a College. In 1990 the Administration block was built (now the Library) to house the preschool, Library, staffroom and Admin offices. The classes were multi-aged, and each Wednesday afternoon we came together and shared ‘club time’ as a school. This involved children joining the ‘club’ they were interested in – parents were invited in to share their particular talents – working with copper, candle making, tie dyeing, construction, painting and cooking in the Hall kitchen to name a few. Students would come in and ask “Is it Wednesday yet?” Life was so different in those days – two classroom blocks, the Admin and lots of bush, until we started the next building phase and commenced single stream classes in 1994.
Throughout its history the College has experienced enormous growth. The College as it stands today comprises of three recently renovated, double classroom blocks designed in colonial style with wide verandahs, a state of the art ICT block, a Prep and Year 1 facility constructed in 2008, a new Learning Enrichment Centre incorporating Years 5, 6, Music classrooms, Band classrooms and Learning Support, a refurbished library as well as a Performing Arts Complex used by the students for indoor sports activities and The Arts. The College offers quality learning based on the four pillars – Academic, Spiritual, Cultural and Physical.
The College provides many shady play areas, ovals and other sporting facilities. The current enrolment is now around 360 students.
In 2012, the College opened the St. Michael’s College Early Learning Centre and stands alongside our Outside School Hours Care facility. This outstanding facility provides care for children from 6 weeks of age to school age in the ELC and before and afterschool care and vacation care in the OSHC building.
There are three sporting Houses within the College. As the house system commenced in 1986, the year that Halley's comet was seen in Australia, the three Houses in the College take their names from astronomers related to finding comets: