Our School - History of the College


St Francis De Sales Regional College, Leeton is a Catholic School and member of the Wagga Wagga Diocese System of Catholic Schools offering Secondary Co-education to Day and Weekly Boarding Students. It is situated in the Parish of Leeton (Wagga Wagga Diocese). Regional isolated students and students from surround Parishes are also catered for through the Boarding House.

The College’s History is a relative brief, but varied one:

1956 February 14. The College commenced with 140 male students (100 Day & 40 Boarding) The Marist Brothers conducted the College under The Principalship of Brother Matthew Hopkins. In 1958 the grounds were developed—a Fishpond and the Grotto were erected.

1960 The original Tuckshop, Bookstore and Storage areas were transformed into the Library (these buildings have since been demolished to make way for the New Student Amenities Block). The Pavilion on the Sports Ground was built.

1967 St Joseph’s Girls School was located on the College Grounds. The two schools were run separately, some staff members moved between the two schools. Extensions were added in the Boarding area with Sr M Elizabeth completing her Principalship and Sr M Claver (Margaret Knagge) becoming the Girls’ School Principal.

1968 The Cattle Club was set up to generate enough finance to start building the College Assembly Hall.

1969 Co-Education became a general practice for students in Forms 3 & 4 (Years 9 & 10).

1970 Full Co-Education began on a trial basis. Brother Lennard (Principal) and Sr M Claver (Deputy Principal) were the College Leaders. Full time and part time Lay Teachers were appointed to increase the number of Religious and Lay Staff.

1971 Substantial Government Funding enabled both a Library & Science Laboratory to be constructed.

1972 The Assembly Hall was constructed, adding a priceless resource for the College. The College Board of Management was formed in December.

1974 It was decided to close the Secondary School at St Joseph’s Narrandera and the students began travelling to St Francis, Leeton.

1975 Expanding numbers demanded further expansion. A new Tuckshop was located in the former Girls’ School. The Staffroom was expanded and under the direction of Brother Anthony, the Woodwork Room was built. 1976 The Girls’ Boarding School closed at St Mary’s Convent, Leeton. Alterations and refurbishments of the College Chapel took place. 1977 Two Specialist Areas (Art & Music) were built parallel to the Boarders’ Dining Room. They were designed to take a first floor at a later date. 1978 Boys’ Boarding was reduced to Weekly Boarding and boarding numbers decreased. A portion of the Junior Dormitory was walled off to provide a Recreation Room for the boys.

1979 The need of the girls from outlying areas was partially met by the opening of the Old Yanco Convent as a Girls’ Weekly Boarding Hostel.

1981 Further upgrading of the grounds and some sporting facilities were carried out. 

1983 The Marist Brothers withdrew from the College; the Principalship being assumed by the Sisters of St Joseph. Sister Jean Adams RSJ, was appointed the Principal.

The Board of Management made the decision to provide Weekly Boarding for Girls as well as Boys.

The Brother’s Monastery underwent renovations and alterations to provide accommodation for a married couple who became Boarding Supervisors. Other Lay Supervisors for the Boarding House were employed.

Thirteen girls came to board at the College.

1984 The Boys’ Toilet/Shower Areas were relocated upstairs and a Common Room was provided for the Girls. The Tuckshop was again moved, this time to the Kitchen/Dining Room area.

The Administration/Office building was located in a section of the College that had been in the Girls’ School.

1987 A major Building Project, comprising of new Science Rooms, Classrooms, Textile & Design, Home Science Rooms as well as a major expansion of the Girls’ Dormitory and Supervisors’ areas was opened.

1988 Sister Patricia Mangelsdorf RSJ appointed Principal. 1989 The College opted to provide educational opportunities at Secondary Level for Integration Students (students with Special Needs).

1990 The Integration Area, a Shade House and an Agricultural Science Shed was erected. A Computer Room was set up to enable flexibility with Curriculum choices.

1992 The College accepted an offer from the Department of Employment, Education and Training to EXTEND education to the Post-Compulsory Years—Years 11 & 12.

1993 To cater for the expansion to Senior Secondary Schooling the entire Boys’ Dormitory areas was altered, extended and refurbished. The Kitchen, Dining Room and Tuckshop were upgraded. New Toilet and Change Rooms and a Common Room was built.

1993 the construction of the Design & Technology & Creative Arts Complex was commenced, together with a new Administration/Library Block.

1994 The Design & Technology/Creative Arts area was ready for use at the commencement of the School Year. The Library and Administration Block was completed and officially opened in June.

Laboratory 1 was refurbished/upgraded, and a General Learning Area converted into a fourth Laboratory.

An application for a Disabled Students’ facility was lodged, and a new Integration/Special Education Room was built parallel to the old area.

1995 The New Integration Room was ready for the commencement of 1995; and a new Sports Store Room also built at the end of the Student Amenities Block.

January saw the commencement of Stage III Building Program—three new classrooms, a refurbished area which became the new Staffroom areas; new Staff Amenities Block and a 64 Bed Dormitory Block with a Single and Married Supervisor’s Quarters.

Extensions to the Boarders’ Dining Room were built.

A stage in Computer/Technology expansion was commenced, with Fibre Optic and Ethernet Cabling installed, with the Library, Administration and one General Learning Centre being the first areas targeted.

1996  January saw the installation of three Transportable Classrooms, which would allow for the increase of numbers on 1995.

Refurbishment work was carried out on the verandahs, each side of the Covered Way area, and an extended covering built over the Canteen Area.

The Technics I area was transferred to an upgraded Maintenance Shed, and a new shed was built for the Maintenance Staff. A covered area on the Western side of the Hall was erected. Between Christmas and New Year refurbishment of the Old Yanco Convent took place, in preparation for the College’s use of this facility as a Hostel for some of the Integration Students. Sister Elizabeth Glass appointed as the House Mother for the group. During late Term 3, the College began building a Supervisor’s Residence away from the College Buildings, but on College Property. This will house the Main Boarding Supervisor and his family, and will allow their present residence to be converted into additional boarding spaces. A Store Room for the entire College was also built, and completed prior to the close of Term 4. This allowed all student provisions, uniforms and stores to be received and dispensed through the one area, and freeing up the present Stores Administration area for clerical work. 1997 Sister Laraine Crowe RSJ appointed Principal Ongoing commitment to the Information Technology Program with installations of CTSAS School Administration Computer Package and further expansion of new computers and peripherals throughout the College in September.

1998 September: Assembly Hall extensions completed. December: Teacher Staffroom renovations commenced.

1999 Sue & Jim Kidman appointed as Boarding Co-ordinators. March: Maintenance Shed converted into a Student Welding Workshop. April: Teachers Staffroom renovations completed. June: Creative Arts Building Courtyard area upgraded. July: Construction for Stage IV Building Program commenced.

2000 February: Stage IV Building Program (Jubilee Building) comprising 6 new classrooms (ground floor), 40 bed dormitory with Supervisor’s accommodation (first floor) and an extension of 70m2 to the College Library was commissioned for use. The facilities were officially opened on 6 October 2000. April: Both Green Welding Shed and Red Woodwork Shed extended. April: Senior Boys’ Boarding Common Room refurbished. July: Kitchen/Dining Room refrigeration units upgraded. September: Upgraded power supply from Stores Building to Staffroom and from Library to Rooms 9 to 16.

2001 July: Construction of an Outdoor Sporting Complex comprising of four tennis, basketball, netball and volleyball courts, and three practice cricket wickets.

2002 Application to NSW Catholic Block Grant Authority for funding towards upgrade and extension of TAS Facilities. Refurbishment of Rooms 9 to 16 (the original classrooms at the College) commenced, and replacement windows in original boys boarding area. Refurbishment of Boarders’ Dining room and renovation of Sick Bay and Counsellor Areas.

2003 Construction of new TAS Building commenced, necessitating relocation of Green and Red Sheds and three Demountable classrooms. Continued upgrade of Rooms 9 to16. Gas heating extended to Classrooms 1 to 7 and Stores Building. Religious cease to provide candidate as Principal from end of Year. Purchased of the BENZ 28 Seater bus.

2004 The College becomes part of the Catholic Schools System, Diocese of Wagga Wagga with new Lay Principal, Mrs Brenda King being appointed. Technology & Applied Studies building completed May 2004. Upgrade of Rooms 9-16 completed, relocated Red & Green Sheds and repositioned 3 Demountable Classrooms. Constructed four Shade Sail areas around the College. 2005 Established Archive Room from English Bookroom and enclosed external corridor. Re-appointed old FTE Room for Senior Art & Visual Design. Old Textiles Room & FTE Preparation Kitchen redesigned for IT Co-ordinator use. Introduced new BI-Lock Security System. St Francis History continued...

2006 Landscaping of area outside the College Assembly Hall. Air Conditioning of Rooms 1, 5, 6 & 7.


2007 Update of Sound & Light Equipment in Hall. Placement of Curtains in Hall funded from “Investing in Our Schools Project”. Major Painting update of the College currently underway. Further technology updates—Interactive Smartboards installed, Laptop Computers in Library. 2008 Administration Office refurbishment funded by “Investing In Our Schools” Program. Beautifying College Grounds. Updates of Computer Servers & Switches. Further installation of Interactive Smartboards. Sue & Jim Kidman retire from Boarding Co-ordinator duties.

2009 James Hopper appointed Boarding Co-ordinator

College received Australian Government Grants from the Rudd (Labour) Government: National Schools Pride (BER) $200,000 to upgrade 4 Science Labs, Drama & Art Rooms

NSSCF (Round 2) for 157 Computers

NSSP Solar Hotwater ($30,000) - replaced 12 units

Commissioned 2 additional Computer Labs within Room 19 and upgraded Room 26.

Expanded Fibre Optic Cabling, routers and switches throughout the school. Installation of 6 security systems around the College. 2010 Brother Matthew House established self-contacted Supervisors Flat. Built shed for Cottage. Major Sewer and Stormwater services renewal. Application to the Catholic Block Grant Authority to construct a new Library and Learning Centre. Plans are also being made to re-develop the Boarders Dining Room and Kitchen. 2011 May: The College was successful in the pursuit of funding for new school buildings and upgrades to existing facilities. 2012 Construction of New Library/Learning Centre started in November. 2013

March: Refurbishment of Canteen, Kitchen & Boarders’ Dining Room complete.

Construction of New Library/Learning Centre to be known as the Marcellin Learning Centre completed in September 2013.

The new learning spaces, the ARC, Academic Resource Centre.

Matthew House Bathroom renovated 2014 Stage 1 Boys Boarding Renovations commenced. Complete January 2015. 2015 Chapel refurbishment. New carpet, furniture, paint and heating/cooling system. Old Library (adjacent to Admin Building) renovated to create three new Opening Learning spaces, a Seminar Room and four offices. Renamed the MacKillop Centre (Mac). Work starts on a new Construction Shed Classroom space.

New road constructed around the ARC for safety purposes.

June. Mr Seb Spina appointed Acting Principal 2016.

New Hypar Star Structure erected (outside Admin Building—Student Entrance) with seating to create an Outdoor Learning Area. Landscaping commenced around the College. Trees planted, pavers laid, concrete and trees removed for safety.

The College is successful in gaining a Catholic Block Grant to assist with the cost of the remaining renovations to the Boys and Girls Boarding areas.

Stage 2 Boys Boarding renovations commenced.

New furniture purchased for General Learning Spaces around the school. Construction Shed completed.

2017 Mr Seb Spina, appointed Principal.

New construction commenced to join Marist House and MacKillop House in the Boarding School. Work continues on the remaining Boys Boarding Renovations.