Our History


16 October - Mater Dei School Infant Committee formed.

16 December - First Fundraiser - A "fair" was held in the Ambassadors Hall.

​1950 ​5 February - Foundation stone laid by Archbishop Duhig and celebration followed.

​5 February - School began with 50-55 students in attendance. Opening was delayed 1 week due to extremely wet weather. Ashes were laid in the playground to cover the mud. Sr. Sebastion and Sr. Patrick were the first two Sisters of Charity to Staff the school. They reside at Mt St. Michael's College and were transported to and from school each day by well known Taxi owners and parishioners Harry Shepard, Mr. Mahon and others.

5 August - Official School opening by Archbishop Duhig and in the evening a Fancy Dress ball was held in the Ambassadors Hall. Mrs Jessie Ryan was the first President of the "Mater Dei Ladies School Activities Committee" Social Activity has always been a high priority since our conception.

1960 ​June - Parish School debt repaid and a new overdraft secured to erect a convent for the Sisters who staffed the school and were travelling from Mt St Michael's every day. Est. cost 16,000 pounds.
1961 1 February - First Kindergarten opened at Mater Dei taught by Mrs O'Brien in the room that is the current staff room. The children played on a large heavy swing and in the new sandpit (now the staff car park).

During - The Large gully at the rear of Mater Dei was filled in by Brisbane City Council at a cost of 5,000 pounds.

19 March - Archbishop Duhig (now Rev Sir James Duhig - knighted by QE11) lays the foundation stone for the new convent at Mater Dei. Fr Flannery calls 1961 the Year of the Great Leap Forward: A convent, a kindergarten and a beautiful playground.
1962 9 December - New Convent opened and blessed by Arch Duhig and costing around 20,000 pounds Nuns Move in.
1963 ​The formidable Sr M Judith was Principal of Mater Dei. She lived with several other Sisters in the Mater Dei convent which was strictly out of bounds to all children. They were Sr Gilbert, Sr Cabrini, and Sr Justine.
1967 ​23 April - First P&F began. Kevin Rowe was elected President.

2 October - First Mater Dei Dinner Dance was held at Queensland Lawn Tennis Association Milton. 260 attended the first of many popular annual P&F dances.

5 November - Fr J McMillan said Mass ‘facing the congregation' for the first time and new Hymns were introduced.
1969 October - Mater Dei church had seating for 320 (a squeeze) - 4 Masses each Sunday
1971 ​Fr John Ryan was Parish Priest
1974 ​August - Announced that due to the present number of Priests it is possible for home Masses to be celebrated on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings. Numerous parishioners took advantage of the offer.

15 September - This was announced - Mater Dei Convent - We are all aware of the shortage of Teaching religious throughout Australia. It is with regret that The Sisters of Charity announce there will be two Sisters only in the parish in 1975 : one at Mater Dei and one at St Peter Chanel. The two Sisters have agreed to live at Mt St Michael's convent so that the Mater Dei convent can be used by the parish. The convent was converted to school use. It comprised of the ‘pink room, TV room, lecture theatre(!), orange room and library.

The Catholic leader 22 September 1974 published - ‘ Circumstances in Catholic schools as in all sections of society, are constantly changing, further, the rate of change in recent decades has become more rapid. Most people are aware that the number of religious available to our schools has declined in recent years. Numbers of lay teachers have risen sharply and if an acceptable rate of expansion of our system is to be achieved, the number of lay people involved at all levels in the schools must continue to rise.'
1975 ​January - Sr Margaret Mines began as Principal of MD. The first ‘local' appointed to the position.

March - Parish Notice - Parishioners who would like to be rostered for scripture reading for Sunday Mass are asked to hand in their names to one of the Parish Priests. Ladies are encouraged to apply

13 December - Joseph O'Mara a former Mater Dei pupil was ordained a Jesuit. He was the first old boy to be ordained to the priesthood . While a student at Mater Dei, Joseph appeared in the school play. To a packed audience of Mater Dei families he played the part of a policeman and his role was to restrain a character played by young Terry Hannagan. At this moment a young preschool voice called out: ‘Keep your hands off my brother O'Mara' - The audience roared and the play had to begin again'
1976 ​Fr PB Conaghan arrived as Parish Priest

School fees
$8 per month - 1 child
$12 - 2 children or more

August - ‘Communion in the hand' is offered for the first time
1977 School fees
$10 per month - 1 child
$15 - 2 children or more

May - A group of families grouped together to seek donations to install fans in the Mater Dei Church

27 October - Centenary of Glenlyon House. Home of the Marist Father's, Ashgrove. Mater Dei P&F hold a fete in the grounds of Glenlyon.

4 February - Farewell for Fr. Vince Mills – a favourite with Parish children. His parting gift was a new pipe and 6 months supply of his favourite Amphora Pipe Tobacco, a digital clock and a wallet of notes.

25 May - Fr Stephen Truscott is the first Mater Dei old boy to be ordained a Marist Father.

1979 ​The Mater Dei Parent body with vision and the support of the parish acquire more land around the oval and the Army contribute major earthworks to develop the oval. A number of army families attended the school at this time. We've always had good connections! Dads worked together to pour the cricket pitch.
​1980 ​Farewell to Fr Harding and Sr Margaret Mines (Mater Dei Principal)
​1981 ​Sr Anne Crowley returns as Mater Dei Principal. Cuppa after Mass is introduced at Mater Dei to help welcome new parishioners.

5 August - Mater Dei Teachers and Pupils celebrate the 30th Anniversary.
1982 ​Fr Jim Soorley is given a farewell by Parish. He was transferred to Tasmania!
​1984 ​First Female President of the Parish Council is elected. Yvonne Carrigan.

Decision to offer places to boys in years 5,6 and 7 at Mater Dei made by the parish following consultation with The Principal, teachers and Cath Ed.

Sr Anne Crowley completes her term as Principal at MD. The sisters completely withdraw from the parish after 33 years service.
​1985 ​Greg Lang becomes the first lay Principal of Mater Dei School.
1986 ​Fr Greg Ferguson arrives as Parish Priest He becomes very focused as a one school one church parish.
1989 ​Ian Maurice arrives as Acting Principal for one year.
1990 ​John Robertson arrives as the New Principal of Mater Dei and the revival effort is given a new surge.
1991 ​Music in the Moonlight held at Glenlyon House for the first time
1992 ​Fr Pat McCabe arrives (on his BMW motor bike) as Parish Priest.

Assistant priest Fr Mark Franklin is farewelled as he leaves for Brazil.
1994 ​Enrolments at Mater Dei have increased 50% since the 1980's. Two grade one classes are necessary!

The P&F no longer needs to fund classroom teachers!

Decks are built outside the demountable classrooms and are promoted as outside learning areas.

Fr Pat McCabe leaves for Northern Territory
1995 ​Decks are added to most classrooms Fr Seamus McMahon appoi​nted as Parish Priest
1996 ​Student population now double the figure of 100 in 1990. A waiting list is now in place !

December - Work begins on two new classrooms and the main block is remodeled and decks added in readiness for the 1997 school year
​1997 ​December John Robertson is farewelled as Principal . The school oval is named ‘The John Robertson Oval' in his honour to signify his influence on the once again flourishing school community.
​1998 ​Jane Slattery arrives from Gundagai as the new Principal.

The new Tuckshop and Deck, After School Care Building and Old Stage officially opened.
2000 ​The Year of the Oval . The School oval is redeveloped as an efficient sports ground and activity area.

14 October - Music in the Moonlight, Mater Dei's major fundraiser and the Ashgrove District's Gala event held at Glenlyon House for the last time. 600 guests. A new venue has been found! -

December - The departure of the Marist Fathers living in community in our Parish following the sale of Glenlyon House and Chapel. Fr Seamus McMahon leaves for Gladstone Parish
​2001 ​Fr Tony Kennedy commences as Parish Priest

5 February - Mater Dei begins 50th Anniversary celebrations. John McCaffrey, a student in 1951 addresses the present school community telling of his time at Mater Dei and the lifelong friends he met. 50th Anniversary reunion Dinner held at Marist College. Sports teams at Mater Dei to be officially named Glenlyon (red -the birth place of our parish), Sebastian (green—the name the Sister of Charity who became our first principal) and Truscott (blue– the first Mater Dei past student to become a Marist Priest)

11 November 50th Anniversary Mass—the first Mass celebrated in the newly renovated Mater Dei Church.

Farewell to APRE and former student of Mater Dei, Carey Strong
​2002 ​Liam Dougherty appointed as APRE

Establishment of School Board. Talks commence on possible buildings and renovations to school.
​2003 ​September - Farewell to Jane Slattery as Principal. Jane seconded into curriculum team at BCE. APRE Liam Dougherty commences his first term as Acting Principal through to the end of the year
​2004 ​January - Mark Allen commences as Principal. Work commences on new building and refurbishment of convent into classrooms above the library

1 September- Official Opening of Yr1& 2 building, stage area & refurbished classrooms.
​2005 July - Farewell of Fr Tony Kennedy who is traveling overseas to further his studies.

August - Fr Robert Hollow appointed to Parish as parish priest to finish Fr. Tony's term.

September - Farewell to Mark Allen who has been seconded into BCE to work in the School buildings program. Liam Dougherty commences his second term as Acting Principal through to the end of the year

October - Peter Delaney commences as Principal coming from Sts Peter & Paul's, Bulimba

December - APRE/ and regular Acting Principal Liam Dougherty is farewelled to take up a Principalship at St Joseph's, Gayndah. Work commences on Admin & amenities renovations, classroom extension to Caritas building and the construction of a building for Prep and a new adventure playground.
​2006 January - Enrolments reach 258 at Mater Dei. Tanya McNeil, long serving staff member appointed as APRE

August - Fr Robert Hollow fare welled after a great year of service to Mater Dei & SPC community Fr John Worthington appointed Parish Priest but unable to take up position due to health problems. Parish sees out rest of year with visiting priests.

December - Fr Ray Chapman arrives as new Parish Priest for a 12 month term,
​2007 ​January - The introduction of Prep (36 students in 2 classes) sees Mater Dei enrolments reach 306 (Prep- Year 7)

May - Official Opening Prep, Playground, 2 New Classrooms and Admin & Amenities renovations
​2008 January - Enrolments reach 315. After successfully applying for a Federal Water Grant work commences on the installation of tanks around the school. Arts teacher, Ev Chapman coordinates the development of outside prayer space that features the art work of the great majority of our school community. Space is officially opened in conjunction with celebration of water grant initiatives. Marist Priests announce they will be withdrawing from the Parish at the end of the year

December - Mater Dei School farewells Marist Priest Fr Ray Chapman
​2009 ​January - Fr Neil Byrne (Archdiocesan Priest) commences in parish after many years in the Kenmore parish. School commences year with enrolments reaching 330 children.

December - Construction commences on BER project
​2010 ​January - School commences year with enrolments reaching 335

November - School officially opens new major building project – 4 new classrooms, a new library and multipurpose hall courtesy of $2.5 million received as part of the Federal Government's Building the Education Revolution package. As part of this funding the school also installs a new tennis and basketball court on the oval, new playground equipment on oval, re-roof original school building, upgrade computer cabling and install solar panels. The new tradition was reinforced in the naming of all school buildings. The original school building, including admin and currently housing Year 2 is the Charity building. The original convent building, many times renovated, is the Caritas Centre and houses OSHCare, student support, Arts and Grade 5. The old undercover area is the Glenlyon building. The new classroom block near the church is the Sebastian building. The early years classrooms are within the Truscott building. The Prep building is the Marian (honouring Mary) Centre and our newest building incorporating the hall and library was appropriately named after Mary MacKillop in the year she was proclaimed a Saint and patron of our diocese.
2011 ​We celebrated 60 years of Catholic Education on this site and acknowledged the history and tradition of those who walked the grounds before us. This included the traditional owners of the land (the Turrbul people), the Marist Fathers who established the parish in 1937 and gave us the name of Mater Dei honouring their devotion to Mary, and the Sisters of Charity who commenced teaching here in 1951 and gave us the motto of CARITAS.

January - School commences year with enrolments reaching 351 children.

May - P and F host Anniversary Soiree in our new Hall facilities. Cake cut by previous Principals Sr Anne Crowley and Sr Margaret Mines.

Aug 5th - School opens its doors for Anniversary festivities including Mass celebrated by Marist Fathers Michael Carrol (old boy) and John Beggs (local), dedication of artistic tribute to Turrba​l people, presentation of portrait of Mary Aikenhead (founder) by the Sisters of Charity to the school, cutting of cake by 3rd generation families of Mater Dei and morning tea with past and current pupils including 3 or 4 members of the original intake.

Mary Hare retires from teaching after commencing at Mater Dei in 1984.

Cheryl Bailey retires.

Fr Neil Byrne leaves the parish after some time of leave and Fr Tuong appointed.

Mr Peter Delaney farewelled after 6 years and the conclusion of a large building project
​2012 Mrs Kathryn Nulley commences as new Principal.

January - School commences year with enrolments reaching 348 children
​  2013

January- The school commences the year with an enrolment number of 358.

The Instrumental Program is strengthened with the formation of the School Band. Instruments purchased with funds obtained by the Community Gam​bling Benefit Fund.

July-'Art of Recycling' Sustainabilty Festival and Art Show is held.

December-Mater Dei farewells APRE Tanya McNeill.​


January- The school commences the year with a student enrolment number of 356. Mrs Rosie Harrison is appointed as the acting APRE for the 2014 school year.

August- A very successful weekend Multicultural Mass and celebration is held within the Parish supported by both Mater Dei and St Peter Chanel schools.

September- Renovations take place to the upstairs classrooms in the 'Caritas' building, along with the Learning Support centre.

October-Music in the Moonlight returns to Dorrington Park ​for a fabulous night of entertainment. With an overarching theme of 'cult movie mania', the park is transformed into a giant movie set, inspired by favourite movies of years gone by.

November- The administration Services is temporarily relocated to the Library so that the existing work space can be renovated during the Christmas holidays and throughout Term 1 2015.

December- The school farewells both Year 6 and Year 7. This is the last year in Queensland in which Year 7 will be located in a primary school context.

Demolition of the student toilets commence in preparation for new toilet facilities to be erected in the New Year.