History and Charism
Beginnings in Cronulla – 1936
De La Salle College Cronulla was established on 13 May 1936. The name of the property the Brothers purchased was “Kilkivan Grange” and the house on the property was opened for boarding students. It ceased to cater for boarders in 1957. The College provided education for students from Primary classes to Leaving Certificate level until 1967 when the structure of the Senior College for Year 11 and 12 only was established. In 1990 the College became part of the Sydney Archdiocesan system of schools, administered by the Catholic Education Office of Sydney.
The first Director/Principal was an Irishman named Brother Donatus Slattery, fsc. He was followed by Brother Vincent Latham in 1937 and an Australian, Brother George Lyons became the Director/Principal in 1938. Another Irishman, Brother Eugene Donegan took over in 1940 and remained until 1945. From 1946 until 1949 Brother Dositheus O’Dea was in charge of the College until Brother Leo Caldwell became Director/Principal from 1950 until 1954. Brother Leopold Deignan was in charge from 1955 to 1960. In 1961, the Silver Jubilee of the College, Brother John Neil became the Director/Principal and initiated building project that resulted in the erection of the main teaching block that is still known as the John Neil Building.
Brother Celestine Gavin became Principal in 1967 of a “new” Senior College that catered for Year11 and 12 students only. Brother Celestine remained until 1973 and was followed by Brother Walter Farrell. Brother Edward Gehrig was the Principal during the years 1975 and 1976. Brother Stanislaus Carmody was appointed Principal in 1977 and retired in 1986. During this period the Library and Assembly Hall were built. Brother Kenneth Ormerod assumed the Principalship in 1987 before traveling overseas to study at the end of 1989. Brother Malachy Yates was then appointed Principal in 1990.
The first Lay Principal of the College was Mrs Julia O’Connor who served from 1994 to 1995. John Maguire accepted the role of Principal in 1996 and remained in this position until 2004. Mr John Riordan: 2005 – 2008 followed and commenced the ambitious building project that saw the completion of a new TAS block with industrial kitchen, Creative and Performing Arts Centre, and four new general learning classrooms. These facilities were “Opened and Blessed” in a ceremony presided over by ex-student Bishop Terry Brady in September 2009. Mr Philip Gane commenced as Principal in 2009. In 2010 the Brother Celestine Gavin College Library was refurbished to complete an extensive project developing facilities conducive to 21st Century teaching and learning.
The College plays an important role in the community by providing Catholic co-education for students who attend the two Catholic Year 7 to 10 feeder schools, De La Salle Caringbah (boys) and Our Lady of Mercy College Burraneer (girls). These schools, along with the four Catholic primary feeder schools, ensure that families in the Eastern Sutherland Shire now have a clear pathway of high quality Catholic education.
Image: Kilkivan Grange - Original Homestead in 1936 by Robyn Gosbell (1986)