Our History

Since opening our doors in 2000, our College has set the standard for success in our Diocese — and each year, we want to build on our foundation of excellence.

Our story begins with a thirty-year dream to provide quality Catholic education in the Ballina Parish. After a few false starts, building work began on the site that would soon become Xavier Catholic College: a secondary high school named for St Francis Xavier, a Spanish Catholic missionary who also co-founded the Society of Jesus.

“The year 2000 always promised to be a year of great adventure and excitement — the new millennium, the Church’s Jubilee year, and the new Xavier Catholic College.”
Eric Littler, foundation Principal

On January 31 2000, Xavier Catholic College welcomed its first students: 118 Year 7 students from across the region, ready to make the leap to high school under the guidance of nine teachers and foundation Principal, Eric Littler. 

As the years passed, we continued to grow in numbers. Each year, we welcomed a new group of Year 7 students to our cohort, and we added more staff to our numbers. By 2005, we were farewelling the first graduating class of Xavier Catholic College, as well as teaching 840 students across six year levels. We received our first HSC results, with students acknowledged for their outstanding academic performance in a range of subjects. It would set the tone for our HSC success in years to come. 

We first began teaching students in our Jubilee and Satterthwaite blocks, with an administration building alongside to accommodate our front office and staff room. As the years progressed, we would add a purpose-built technology centre (the Farrelly block), additional classrooms (the Carroll and Doyle Blocks), specialist digital technology spaces, creative arts rooms, a library, and sporting facilities to our grounds.

In 2010, we farewelled Mr Littler; he would be replaced by Miss Yvonne Head, who would lead our College for the next two years. Under Miss Head, we saw the development of the final stage of building works at the College, the Magis and the performing arts buildings. We would also celebrate an outstanding achievement from the HSC Class of 2011: our inaugural First in State placement, earned by Hayden Smith (2011 Dux) in Studies of Religion I.

2013 would see a change in leadership with the arrival of Mr Michael Vella as College Principal. At this time, we were beginning to explore our Jesuit identity and in 2016, we signed our first Memorandum of Understanding with Jesuit Education Australia to become a Jesuit Companion School. This connection to Ignatian spirituality would come to guide the direction of our College. In addition to joining a family of Jesuit schools across Australia, we would also connect with schools on a global scale. Since 2019, we have been proud to maintain a sister school relationship with Our Lady of Fatima High School in Timor-Leste.

Under Mr Vella, we continued to celebrate our students’ extensive success in academic, sporting, spiritual and extracurricular activities — five First in State placements across seven years, our entry into NSW’s Top 150 schools, and carving a name for ourselves as the premier secondary school in the Diocese and Northern NSW Region. 

In 2021, we welcomed Mr Kevin Lewis as our Principal, who has continued to build on the Xavier Catholic College story. Now, we offer education to approximately 900 students in Years 7 to 12, with over 100 teaching and ancillary staff on hand to support our College community. We continue to be a pioneering centre of education in the Northern Rivers, developing graduates of competence, commitment, conscience and compassion in the spirit of our Jesuit roots.

From the outset, we have always been a College that aspires to make a difference in our world. We invite you on our journey and to be part of our future.

Our Buildings

The buildings at Xavier Catholic College are named in honour of the College’s history, Diocesan history, and our Jesuit identity:

  • Doyle (General Learning Block): Named for Bishop Jeremiah Joseph Doyle, the first Bishop of Lismore. He would serve the Diocese from 1887 until his death in 1909 and was responsible for the formation of a flourishing Church in this region. 
  • Carroll (General Learning Block): Named for Bishop John Joseph Carroll, who served as the second Bishop of Lismore from 1910-1949.
  • Farrelly (Technology Block): Named after Bishop Patrick Farrelly, the third bishop of Lismore. Bishop Farrelly was one of the first Australian priests to be chosen to be a bishop at a time when most bishops were still from Ireland.
  • Satterthwaite (Science Block): Named for Bishop John Satterthwaite, who served as the fourth Bishop of Lismore from 1971-2001.
  • June Cole (Library): Named after Sister June Cole, a Presentation Nun and long-term servant of the Ballina Parish, in honour of the contribution made to education in our area by the Presentation Sisters.
  • Redford (Performing Arts Block): Named after Fr Dean Redford, a former priest in the Ballina Parish.
  • Jubilee (Music and Learning Centre): Named to commemorate the Diocese of Lismore’s 60-year jubilee.
  • Magis Centre (Hall and PDHPE Learning Centre): Magis is an Ignatian spirituality term. As the Latin word for more, it reminds us of our purpose to do more for the glory of God (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, the motto of the Society of Jesus).