Catholic Education

The first Catholic school in Queensland was established in 1845 by the first priest stationed in Brisbane, Fr James Hanly who employed Michael and Mary Bourke as its teachers.

The school opened with 56 students and was located in a slab-walled, bark-roofed building near where the Myer Centre now stands on the corner of Elizabeth and Albert Streets in central Brisbane.

From that humble beginning, Catholic education expanded to most cities and many townships throughout the state. Its expansion was largely due to the efforts of religious congregations who in those early years often conducted classes in difficult conditions and with few resources.

Catholic education has been a key partner in the stories of both Church and State since those early days. The intervening years have seen the emergence of exceptional educational communities whose people have made significant contributions to the lives of hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders.

In 2009, as part of the sesquicentenary year of Queensland, a brief historical snapshot of Catholic education in Queensland was produced.

In 2016 there are 300 schools in Queensland. These schools are based in rural and metropolitan areas, provide co-educational and single gender schooling options and offer boarding facilities for more than 2,000 students from remote regions. School locations range from Thursday Island in the north to Currumbin Waters in the south and Longreach in the west.

Around 146,200 students attend Catholic schools in Queensland. This number represents 18.33% of all Queensland students and 60% of the students in non-government schools. Enrolments are made up of about 78,500 primary students and 67,700 secondary students. More than 5,800 Indigenous students attend Catholic schools in Queensland.

There are more than 17,200 staff in Queensland Catholic schools with over 10,400 teaching staff (including Principals), more than 5,200 administrative and clerical staff and the remainder made up of senior executive staff and maintenance staff.

The most recent information on Catholic Schools in Australia 2016 is available from the The National Catholic Education Commission.

Catholic Schools – Delivering quality education and helping keep Queensland communities strong outlines some of the important facts and information about Catholic education in Queensland

Catholic schools in Queensland are administered by the following authorities.

Diocesan Catholic School Authorities

Religious Institutes (RI) and Public Juridic Persons (PJPs) School Authorities

    • Augustinians
    • Edmund Rice Education Australia
    • Franciscan Friars
    • Franciscan Sisters
    • Good Samaritan Education
    • Kildare Ministries
    • Loreto Sisters
    • Marist Schools Australia
    • Mary Aikenhead Ministries
    • Mercy Partners
    • Missionaries of the Sacred Heart
    • Oblate Fathers
    • Sacred Heart Sisters
    • Ursuline Sisters

Tertiary Education

Tertiary education is offered by the Australian Catholic University’s (ACU National) Queensland campus at Banyo in Brisbane.