Our History


Rosebank Archives

Rosebank College’s Archives are now open for visitors to view the collection of Rosebank’s history by appointment only. Please book into one of the Archives’s Open Mornings when we re-open in 2022.

The Rosebank Story

Throughout history Rosebank College has responded to the learning needs of its community.  The first school was opened in 1867 at Albine Villa, in present day Concord.  The land upon which the College stands belonged to the Wangal people of the Eora nation.  The Rosebank estate, dating from the 1830’s, was purchased at auction in 1868 by Archbishop Polding, to serve as a noviate for the growing community of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan.  Using the foundation date of Albine Villa, 2017 was celebrated as Rosebank’s 150th Anniversary.  The College took its name from the beautiful hedge of roses which circled it.  The property also included a Primary School and Chapel, both of which served the surrounding residents.


The Good Samaritan Sisters acquire the estate of Rosebank. The site originally served as a Novitiate. There was a primary school on the property which the Sisters conducted for the local residents and the Rosebank chapel served many families in the neighbourhood.


Rosebank becomes a Catholic Boarding School for girls. Its chaplain Father John Dwyer OSB, donated 2 000 pounds after his death. This, along with other donations were used to build the present three-storey structure in 1886.


Rosebank assumes the name of a College and the memoirs produced from this time until 1911 testify to the great reputation it enjoyed throughout New South Wales and beyond as a place of broad education. In Rosebank’s early years, the students soon came to the attention of the wider community. As early as 1880 Marcella Kenny was the first girl from a Catholic College to pass the University of Oxford Junior Examination, in the very first year that this particular examination was opened to girls.


The College closes to serve as a Juniorate for five years, while still retaining registration as a Secondary School.


Rosebank re-opens as a boarding and day College, offering academic subjects and cultural and vocational subjects. Gradually, Rosebank developed into a Leaving Certificate School until in 1966, in the process of regionalisation in Sydney and the phasing in of the Wyndham Scheme, it reverted to a Form 4 School.


The boarding school closes but the day school continues to expand, adapting to new demands in education and adding to its facilities.


The first lay Principal of the College, Mr John Hawley, is appointed.


The College returns to being a full secondary school with the introduction of co-education in Years 11 and 12.


The sisters of the Good Samaritan establish Rosebank College as an Incorporated Body and appoint a Board to be responsible for the College. Mr Frank Hayes is the first Chairperson of the Board. 


The second lay Principal, Mr Alan Moran is appointed.


The third lay Principal, Mr Tom Galea, is appointed.


The College celebrates 140 years of education.


Co-education is extended to welcome boys into Year 7. This coincides with the introduction of a new school uniform, brand identity and student leadership structure.


The College celebrated 145 years of Catholic Education and our first year of full co-education.


The International Benedictine Short Stay Student Exchange Program (IBSSSEP) is introduced, affording students a 4 to 5 week international learning and cultural experience in over fifteen schools around the world.


The College named, Blessed and officially opened three new and renovated buildings. These were Ottilien Hall, Montserrat Hall and Jamberoo Hall. The new buildings provide the College an auditorium, 18 learning spaces, five Science labs, Music, Dance and Drama spaces, a performance room, an undercroft play area and cafeteria.


Vertical Home Room structure is introduced, including Middle School and Senior School Divisions.
Students from Years 7 – 9 share a common Home Room, as do students in Years 10 – 12.


Rosebank College turns 150 years and celebrates all year with its Sesquicentenary.  Sixteen months of celebrations right up until April 2018 with the final event. The project initiatives included advertising with the 150th logo, special gifts and merchandise, Open Day with a heavy focus on archives, Gala Dinner and more  


The last of the Sesquicentenary events was a plaque unveiling on  April 10 acknowledging the original site of Rosebank College at Albina Villa in 1867. The City of Canada Bay hosted the event where students and staff of Rosebank, Council VIP and staff and neighbours gathered in prayer and blessing.


Two new Houses, Adamson and Hayes, were introduced to the Rosebank Community. Rosebank also welcomed delegates from around the world for the annual BENet conference. 


In this most unusual year, Rosebank College was able to move our community to at-home online learning safely, quickly and smoothly during the worldwide pandemic. During this time, the College also completed the master plan works. Rosebank’s principal of 16 years, Mr Tom Galea, announced his retirement.


The first female lay principal, Ms Iris Nastasi, is appointed.