History

A brief history of our school

In 1914 the Parish of Sacred Heart, West St Kilda, purchased the site where the school and church now stand for £1439 and raised the funds to build the first two brick classrooms on the site.

On Sunday 28th April 1918, His Grace the Most Reverend Dr Daniel Mannix, the Archbishop of Melbourne, blessed and opened the Church-School which was run under the guidance of the Presentation Sisters with Mother Anthony Patterson as the first principal.

Additional funds raised by parishioners led to the construction of two more classrooms in 1923 and the purchase of more land for a playground.

On 8th December 1929, the people of St Columba's realised their dream of building their own church on the corner of Glen Huntly and Normandy Roads, and later the presbytery at 2 Normandy Road.

By December 1937 a new brick hall with a stage and dressing rooms was built. Saturday night dances in the hall were very popular.

Further land was purchased and two tennis courts and a tennis pavilion were built. These facilities provided a central meeting place for young people. Above the hall three new classrooms, a music room, office, staffroom and cloakroom were erected.

In 1971 two more classrooms were added on the first floor. The school was never large its maximum enrolment was 250.

The Presentation Sisters departed from the school at the end of 1974 after 56 years of dedicated service to educating Catholic children in the area. From that time on, professional and equally dedicated lay teachers have educated St. Columba's children.

In 1980, with assistance from Commonwealth grants, new outside toilets were built and in 1983 a seventh classroom and wet area were added to the first floor, with renovations on the ground floor to form an office and staff room. Again in 2000 a further refurbishment took place with painting and updating ageing classrooms.

In 2009 a $2m building project, funded by the Federal Government's "Building the Education Revolution", began. This construction and refurbishment opened up 2 of the upstairs classrooms to form a large, open learning area. Off this space, 4 new flexible learning spaces and a new stairwell opening directly off the playground were constructed. Another existing classroom became the junior open learning space.

The school borrowed $250,000 to fund the storage space (where the stage used to be), new student toilets and the lift to finish off the project. The majority of learning spaces and classrooms are now all upstairs, with a classroom and a dedicated art room on the lower level.

Over the past six years we have continued to make purposeful furniture and resourcing choices, always considering the needs of our children and how we can best support their learning, academically, socially and emotionally.  All classrooms have SMART TVs installed and access to technology including iPads and ChromeBooks. Our Open Learning Library Spaces were recently refurbished and contain furniture for break out groups, a range of texts across all genres, a SMART TV and STEM materials.

With the support of a very active Parents and Friends (PFA) we have been able to upgrade our playground each year. The most recent addition, June 2020, being our new adventure playground, which was co-designed by our children taking into consideration their needs, ideas and interests when it comes to outdoor active play.

We are currently in the process of creating our new nature play spaces. This has also been a collaboration between children, staff, and Green Team.  The new nature play spaces will provide further opportunities for children to explore new ideas, develop their interests and further their understanding of the world. We are very grateful to Josh Burns MP for the $10 000 grant we received through the Local Schools Community Fund and further grants from Victorian Schools Garden Program and ResourceSmart Schools which will all greatly assist in achieving our goals for this area.

Our history shows that St Columba's has long been a vibrant community where everyone works together to achieve great things. Through the strong partnership that exists between parish, school, home and community we know we will continue to make the school a better place for all.

What our parents & students say

"St Columba's offers so much more than just an excellent education program. When you enrol your child at St Columba's you join the vibrant supportive community. We couldn't be happier at St Columba's."

Parent of Year 2 and 3 Students