History and Heritage of Kilbreda College


Kilbreda College has educated thousands of young people since the early 1900s. Its place in Mentone’s history is unique in that its day-to-day activities have been played out for more than a century in a building which is a focal point of the area.

Built as the Mentone Coffee Palace in 1887, the property was purchased by the Brigidine Sisters in 1904, as the site for their first metropolitan school.

The Sisters of St Brigid had their origins in Tullow, County Carlow, Ireland, in 1807. Their mission in Australia began in the 1880s in rural areas of NSW and Victoria. On August 8 1904, the sisters began a school in Mentone, comprising twenty five primary students (St Patrick’s) and three secondary students (St Brigid’s, later known as Kilbreda). From then on, the numbers steadily grew and Kilbreda has been home to around a thousand students each year for nearly fifty years.

The College has continued to recreate itself. In the 1930s, the name Kilbreda was adopted and the uniform changed from a black or navy tunic to a green one. The names and methods of subjects taught to those early students included such things as etiquette and deportment, Latin, physiology, botany, needlework and painting. While the curriculum may have altered with the changing times and needs of the students, the Brigidine Core Values are enduring.

With the Brigidine Core Values underpinning the school, Kilbreda has gone from strength to strength, keeping abreast of current educational practices and meeting the needs of contemporary young women in this millennium. Australian society owes much to the contribution of Kilbreda past students. Both here and abroad, they can be found in various professions, contributing their talents to many areas of life.

Buildings have changed and students have come and gone but the goals of Catholic Education have remained constant, inspiring and challenging future generations of students with strength and kindliness.

Damian Smith - Archives