Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview

Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview

Latin: Quantum Potes Tantum Aude
As much as you can do, so much dare to do[1]
Riverview, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°49′29″S 151°09′44″E / 33.82472°S 151.16222°E / -33.82472; 151.16222Coordinates: 33°49′29″S 151°09′44″E / 33.82472°S 151.16222°E / -33.82472; 151.16222
Type Private, Day and Boarding
Denomination Roman Catholic, Jesuit
Established 1880[2]
Founder Joseph Dalton SJ
Chairman John Wilcox
Rector Ross Jones SJ
Principal Dr. Paul Hine
Chaplain David Strong SJ
Staff ~179[3]
Grades 512
Gender Boys
Enrolment ~1,560 (2006[3])
Colour(s) Royal Blue and White         

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,[4] 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),[5] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA),[6] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association,[7] and is a founding member of the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS).[8]

Numerous leading contributors to Australian politics, arts, law, religion and sport were educated at Riverview. The former Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, is a notable alumnus of the college; as is the current Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Barnaby Joyce, the current Chief Justice of New South Wales, Tom Bathurst and the current Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher OP. A former Premier of New South Wales, Nick Greiner also attended Riverview. The college has produced 9 Olympians and 8 Rhodes Scholars as well as the first Australian-born astronaut, Paul Scully-Power, and numerous writers including poet Christopher Brennan, art critic Robert Hughes, playwright Nick Enright and entertainer Andrew O'Keefe.


Earliest known school group photo, c. 1880s

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.

The 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 11 February 1880, in a small stone cottage on the Riverview estate.[9]

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.

St Ignatius' campus viewed from main building, 1930s

By December 1882, with an enrolment of only 70 boys, the college extended the curriculum to include English composition, writing, music, singing, drawing, painting, Irish history and oral Latin.

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 8.30 pm. On Sundays and holidays the boys were allowed to sleep in until 6.30 am.

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 [sic, actually the Marist Brothers], are three educational institutions that reflect the highest credit on the Catholic population of the parent colony".[10]

The main building of the college was constructed in three stages between 18851930 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 Riverview College Observatory was built in 1909, and was established by the distinguished Jesuit astronomer and seismologist, Edward Francis Pigot (1858-1929), who ordered a complete set of seismographs from Göttingen. Fr Daniel O'Connell was director of the Observatory from 1938 and was later called to be director of the Vatican Observatory.[11] Another distinguished Jesuit seismologist and astronomer, Fr Thomas Burke-Gaffney, became assistant-director of the Observatory in 1946 and director from 1952. His studies of seismic aspects of nuclear explosions garnered worldwide attention and he served as vice-president of the Royal Society of New South Wales.[12]

The Dalton Memorial Chapel was also built in 1909. 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.[13]

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.

Wallace Wing, Main Building, Middle School from First Field

In the lead up to the 2003 Iraq war, the three school captains wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, calling for a withdrawal of Australian troops from the Persian Gulf and for a non-military solution. They told 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.[14]

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.[15]

The year 2005 saw Riverview play host to a series of 125th anniversary celebrations culminating in a whole school Mass at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney on the feast of Ignatius of Loyola, 31 July.


The school motto Quantum Potes Tantum Aude ("Dare All You Can, for God and Man") was introduced by the rector-headmaster, Fr Thomas Gartlan SJ, in 1906. Quantum Potes Tantum Aude is now formally translated from Latin as "As much as you can do, so much dare to do", seen to best reflect the Latin, replacing the former "Dare to do your Best". The motto is taken from a song of Saint Thomas Aquinas (12271274) entitled Lauda Sion Salvatorem[16] ('Praise, O Sion, Praise Thy Saviour'). The next line after Quantum Potes Tantum Aude is Quia Maior Omni Laude, which, together, translates to "As much as you can do, so much dare to do, because He is above all praise".[17]


AMDG: Statue of St Ignatius below Ramsay Hall

It is a longstanding practice that students, particularly in the lower years of the college, 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 spirituality. 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. The college song is "Ignatius teach us to know" and it is memorable for the gusto with which students sing the final line "the glory, the glory, the glory of your name."

Jesuit education

Jesuit education aims at individual care and concern for each student.[18] Riverview has developed an academic program and Pastoral Care system, which seeks to enable each boy to reach his full potential as a person of faith, created and loved by God.

Statue of the Sacred Heart in Rose Garden; Main Building

A former 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".[19]

Riverview's Jesuit partner schools include St Aloysius' College in Sydney, Saint Ignatius' College, Adelaide, Xavier College in Melbourne, Loyola College, Mount Druitt, Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare, Ireland and Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, England.[20]


St Ignatius' College offers students the opportunity to participate in a number of co-curricular activities including:


Students rowing in 1932

"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".[26]

House system

Main Building, St Ignatius' College

The House System was established in 1983 with the aim of improving the quality of care for students. There are sixteen Houses (Xavier, Campion, Chisholm, Cheshire, Claver, Dalton, Fernando, Mackillop, Gonzaga, Romero, Smith, Southwell, Ricci, Owen, More and Teresa) each consisting of approximately 100 boys from Years 7-12, 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 and another four were added in 2014 to reflect the growth in the student population.

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.

Main Building 2009, St Igatius College

Each House is divided into five tutor groups made up of students from Years 712. 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.


Kevin Fagan House behind First Field's Away Grandstand

With a boarding student population of 335,[3] 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 611 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.

College from First Field
Main Building, St Ignatius' College
College Observatory

Old Ignatians Union

Established in 1897, the alumni association of Saint Ignatius' College is named the Old Ignatians' Union or OIU, and has a mission to "sustain and strengthen the connection between Old Ignatians and to further the interests of the College."[27] Reunions and fundraisers are held to help the Development Office fundraise bursaries. Old Boys also partake in sporting competitions through such institutions as the Old Ignatians Rugby Club.[28]

Notable alumni

Alumnus of Saint Ignatius' College are known as Old Ignatians. For a list of notable Old Ignatians, see List of Riverview Old Ignatians.


Buses run inside the school and there is a ferry wharf for students to travel to and from school. Buses include the 632 to Chatswood, the 650 to Mosman, the 651 to Northbridge and the 654 to Drummoyne. The ferry runs down the Lane Cove River, stopping at Hunters Hill, Longueville, Northwood and Greenwich, then continuing to Birchgrove, Kirribilli and Circular Quay.

See also


  1. "Mission Statement". Prospectus. Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview. 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  2. "Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview". New South Wales. School Choice. 2007. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  3. 1 2 3 "Annual Report 2006" (PDF). General Information. Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  4. "History of the Jesuits in Australia". Our History. Australian Jesuits. 11 February 2005. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  5. "AHISA Schools: New South Wales". Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. April 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  6. "JSHAA New South Wales Directory of Members". Junior School Heads' Association of Australia. 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  7. "St Ignatius' College - Riverview". New South Wales Schools. Australian Boarding Schools Association. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  8. "AAGPS History". Info. Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales. 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2007.
  9. "125 years Riverview College". News Article. Australian Jesuits. 11 February 2005. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  10. Hogan, James Francis, The Irish in Australia, 1887. Reproduced by Project Gutenberg (retrieved 15 June 2006).
  11. Nick Lomb; O'Connell, Daniel Joseph Kelly (1896–1982); Australian Dictionary of Biography
  12. G. P. Walsh; Burke-Gaffney, Thomas Noel (1893–1958); Australian Dictionary of Biography
  13. St Ignatius' College Chapel, Sydney Organ, (retrieved 22 October 2006).
  14. Noonan, Gerard (28 February 2003). "Truants or not, many school students to rally against invasion". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 June 2006.
  15. Thompson, Matthew (4 February 2005 (retrieved 22 October 2006)). "John Paul becomes schoolboys' audience". The Sydney Morning Herald. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. Aquinas, Thomas, Lauda Sion Salvatorem, Latin and English translation (retrieved 6 June 2006).
  17. Raper, Mark, 125th Anniversary St Ignatius Day Mass 2005 Homily, St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, 31 July 2005 (retrieved 6 June 2006).
  18. Kolvenbach, Peter Hans, Jesuit Education: Society of Jesus Education Documents (retrieved 12 June 2006).
  19. Kolvenbach, Peter Hans, The Characteristics of Jesuit Education, 1986.
  20. Raper, Mark, The Characteristics of Jesuit Education in Australia - Mission, Governance and Directions, 'Australian Province Education Ministry Conference', Anglesea, 27 April 2006 (retrieved 12 June 2006).
  22. 1 2 Saint Ignatius' College Diary (2011), pp. 197 - 200
  23. Lawrence Campbell Oratory Competition#Complete list of previous winners
  24. Early rowing clubs
  25. Govorcin, Damir (6 April 2003). "Rugby league scores a try in a GPS college". The Catholic Weekly. Retrieved 21 June 2006.
  26. Carlton, Mike (13 September 2003). "Talent scout for heaven's game?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 June 2006.
  27. "Old Ignatians Union Homepage" — (retrieved 21 June 2006).
  28. "Old Ignatians Rugby Club" — (retrieved 21 June 2006).
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