In 1914 Archbishop James Duhig laid the foundation stone for the long sought-after Catholic Boys School on the south side of the Brisbane River. 

He chose the scripture reference from Matthew’s gospel (17:4) when Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here’ as the theme of his speech.

His words resonated with the large assembled crowd who had long waited for a new ‘St Kilian’s’ and the arrival of the Christian Brothers to take charge of their school. To their surprise, the Archbishop renamed the school Laurence O’Toole School.

Today, the Catholic secondary boys’ school atop St Kilian’s Hill is known as St Laurence’s College. The school owes its foundation to Dr Duhig of whom The Advocate wrote, ‘His Grace Archbishop Duhig has thrown himself into the work of establishing St Laurence’s with his accustomed vigour.’

The first staff, Brothers J Hogan, Brennan, N Doran and D O’Connell and Mr Dean, faced 270 boys on the opening day in 1915.

The original building is still standing. Two years later the Brothers’ Monastery was completed, and these two fine buildings with an unpaved playing area between them on the crest of the hill fulfilled the accommodation needs for many years.

During World War II, the College was taken over by the Army and classes were moved to Greenslopes. 

A new classroom block was completed in 1961, providing much needed accommodation, and in 1968 the Archbishop Duhig Building over the cliff and the Archbishop O’Donnell Building - housing the Science laboratories - were completed. This rapid expansion was evidence of the needs of the Catholic population of the south side of Brisbane. 

In 1973, Archbishop O’Donnell opened the new Secondary Library, the Br Ryan Resource Centre, and added an additional floor to the Archbishop O’Donnell Building and an imposing Chapel. 

In 1975, an additional floor of six classrooms was added to the Archbishop Duhig Building.

Subsequently, the Manual Arts complex was completed in 1978 and the College gymnasium, named after Br T P Brady who died in office in 1981, was completed in that year. 

The Edmund Rice Building was completed in 1984. It contains a staff room, the McElligott Theatre and classrooms. 

In 1999 the Br Grundy Visual and Performing Arts Centre was completed. It contains teaching and practice spaces for the arts.

In 2009, two new Drama classrooms and a Dance Studio were added to the Edmund Rice Building along with a Tuckshop, Uniform Shop and Band Room on the Ground Floor. 

A shared multilevel car park (complete with synthetic playing field on the top level) and a 1500 seat auditorium (the Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre) were completed in 2010. The College Administration also moved into the Monastery in 2010, the last Brothers having moved out in 2009.

Camp Laurence on Moogerah Dam was completed in 1977 as an outdoor recreational and educational extension to the campus at South Brisbane.

The College acquired property at Runcorn in 1961 to extend its sporting facilities. This property now boasts eight playing fields, change rooms and the Br Ryan Centre.

In 1994, a College Board was established to act in an advisory capacity to the Principal.  

From 1996, the Christian Brothers appointed the first lay principal, Mr D Frederiksen, while still retaining the ownership and control of the College.

In 2001 Mr Ian McDonald was appointed as Principal, serving 15 years in the position. 

During his time at Lauries, Mr McDonald developed many enrichment programs including Gifted and Talented, introduced many overseas immersions and tours for students and worked closely with designers and builders to produce state-of-the-art facilities we now have on the hill at the College. 

These include The St Laurence’s College Chapel, Gair Field redevelopment and The Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre (ERPAC), to name a few. 

In 2017 the STEM building was completed and named the Ian McDonald STEM building, in honour of Principal Ian McDonald.

In 2017, Mr Chris Leadbetter was appointed to the role of Principal at St Laurence’s College. 

During the first school Term in 2018, the newly refurbished Br Hogan Building was officially opened and blessed as the Primary Precinct. The redesign of this building accommodates student-centred teaching and learning for the 21st Century for all Primary students at St Laurence’s College.

College History Book, ‘It Is Good For Us To Be Here’, by past Principal Ian McDonald.

Ralph Waldo Emmerson wrote 'there is no history, only biography.' It Is Good For Us To Be Here is the account of the people who are the Lauries story. As we look at them in their context over 100 years and see their story one can only be filled with admiration and gratitude. Their generosity and sacrifice has made the school what it is today. It is a social history that tells the story of a school that has remained faithful to its origins.

A knowledge and understanding of the history of this school is an important part of any appreciation of the traditions and ethos of St Laurence’s College. This book contributes to that understanding. 

To obtain your very own copy of this book, please visit The Lauries Shop during opening hours.