The Marist Brothers is a Religious Institute founded in France in 1817 by a young French priest, Marcellin Champagnat. He considered his mission in life to make Jesus known and loved and to do so by creating schools which not only taught secular subjects but religious education and the catechism.
The Institute began with a network of small schools conducted by the Brothers who lived in the villages with the people. By the time of Marcellin’s death in 1840 there were 278 Brothers and his system of education had begun to expand throughout France.
Over the next 50 years the Brothers expanded across all continents and established a system of education world-wide. Today, the Brothers’ schools exist in 81 countries. There are about 4 500 Brothers and 40 000 lay teachers working in Marist schools today, educating over 500 000 young people.
The first Marist Brothers arrived in Australia in 1872 and established schools in Sydney. In 1929 the Brothers established their first school in Brisbane at Marist College Rosalie and then in 1940 at Marist College Ashgrove. Marist Schools Australia (MSA) covers more than 50 schools, representing schools begun by the Marist Brothers, Marist Sisters and Marist Fathers.
Marist College Ashgrove began in 1940 with Brother Ignatius as its first Headmaster. The College is built on the site formerly used by Father Walter Cain and his proposed Missionary Order. The only permanent building was the Tower Block and its graceful architecture has made it the symbol of the College. Despite temporary evacuation and re-location during World War II, the College flourished and developed. There has been an almost continuous building program over the last 70 years, and the numbers of students have grown from the original 70 in 1940 to over 1 600 today (including boarders).
The reputation of the College has steadily grown since 1940 and has been extended with its loyal supporters and Old Boys. It is respected throughout Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the wider Pacific and Asia as a significant institution expressing the very best in Marist educational values and teaching.