History of St John's

St John the Evangelist High School is a Diocesan Catholic, co-educational secondary school whose purpose is to provide a catholic education for students in Years 7 - 12. The School serves the Shoalhaven and surrounding regions.

Until 1967 there was a catholic secondary at St Michaels. After the closure of this school, parishioners made efforts to re-establish a secondary school for the youth of the region. In the 1980's their efforts, with the support of Monsignor John Purcell, were largely responsible for for the initial stages of development of St John's High School.

St John the Evangelist High School was founded in 1990. The Foundation Principal is Sr Carmel Bambridge. The Sisters of the Good Samaritan had worked in the Nowra Parish since 1893, particularly in the area of the Catholic Education in St. Michaels's School and State schools of the region. The Good Samaritans were founded in 1857 by Archbishop John Bede Polding to work with the female convict women, initially, and then moved into the field of Catholic Education generally. The concept of the gospel parable of the Good Samaritan focuses on Christian Ministry with special emphasis on compassion -a characteristic which expresses itself in relating to persons in the reality of their situation. Polding's patron saint was St. John the Evangelist, and as a Benedictine monk he adapted to the rule of St. Benedict for the Good Samaritan Congregation. The Benedictine motto is 'PAX' the Latin word for 'PEACE'.

St Benedict's rule of life was based on a balance of work, prayer and rest. Underpinning all activity however, was the achievement of a constant state of listening to the word of God, active and alive. We believe and pray that the authentic Catholic school models attentiveness to God's call in our world.

St John's strives to be a peaceful, caring and friendly community, were people are welcomed and encouraged to grow.

School Principals

Sr Carmel Bambridge 1990 - 1992
Mr Frank Leonard 1992 - 1997
Mr Noel Meadows 1997 - 2001
Sr Catherine Slattery 2001
Ms Karen Young 2001 - 2008
Mr Neil McCann 2008 - 2015
Mrs Sandra Hogan 2015 - 2022
Mr Wayne Marshall 2023 - present

Construction Timeline

1967 Close of the Secondary Section of St. Michael's School.
1984 24 Acres of land purchased at Park Road for the cost of $185,000.
1985 Berry School sight sold to raise funds in support of a Catholic School in Nowra -$200,000.
1986 Parish sells cottages in North Street to raise further funds.
1987 Development Application approved by council.
1988 Local meeting with State members, Mr Terry Metherell and Parish representatives.
1989 Stage I -Building Application submitted.
Budget for Stage I approved by Mons. Purcell Parish contribution $600,000 Government funds $1,194,000 for stage I
Building Contract signed - Work commenced
Foundation Principal Sr. Carmel Bambrigge SGS appointed. Uniform designed. Medal of St. Benedict placed in the concrete near Principal's office. First Parents and Friends Committee formed. Recorded submission for government funding
1990 Stage 1 completed.
St. John the Evangelist High School commences in the White Ensign Club.
Official Opening of Stage I.

1991 - 


Stage II and III completed.
Stage IV under construction.

1994 -


Stages III to VI completed:-
Stage III C Block, Music, Art Rooms
Stage IV B Block . Multi-Purpose Hall . Boys and Girls change rooms
Stage V D1 and D2 . Canteen . New Toilet . Independent Learning Center
Stage VI D3/4/5 . Senior Study . Print Room . Change Room Multi-Purpose . Hall (MPH) . Grounds men Storage
Construction on the Chapel commenced.

From 1984 to 1997 some 11 years after the initial reason to build a new Catholic secondary school arose St Johns The Evangelist high school was officially completed to the original plan. With coverage from the local TV and papers the Bishop and other people who had contributed in many different ways to the completion of the school were involved in the opening ceremony with a plaque and other gifts.

However, following significant growth since 2001, a new phase of building activity was subsequently required. Much of this was funded with Federal government grants.


Construction of the Chapel was completed. St John's community members assisted witht he project making mud bricks and helping with the construction.


Construction of Performing Arts classrooms and facilities as well a General Purpose classrooms (E Block).


Construction of K Block classrooms (Religious Education) and construction of Gymnasium (With P & F funding). Renovation of classroom block into new staff facilities – staff room, meeting rooms and common room.


Construction of Language Centre consisting of five classrooms with specialist facilities.


Renovations and extension to Canteen (with P&F funding).


Construction of Trade Training Centre for VET Hospitality and Construction courses.


Construction of the Hall extension.


Construction of the Anniversary Garden.
2017 Construction of Administration Building Refurbishment & F Block Upgrades
2021 Installation of weather-proof cover over outdoor basketball courts

Memoirs of St John's

St John the Evangelist Catholic High School has touched many people within the Shoalhaven community. At times we are fortunate for former students, former staff and special guests to share their accounts and accolades with us. Please share in these special times and memories via the links below: (click on the name)

Sister Carmel Bambridge Our first School Principal, shares some of her treasured memories.
Mrs Cecily Trevillion & Mrs Alva Egan We were part of the dedicated group of parents who worked tirelessly to achieve the dream of one day having a Catholic High School in the Shoalhaven, view their interview script.
Mrs Jane McDonald A foundation staff member was our Keynote Speaker at the 25th Anniversary where she reflected on the Spiritual Life at St John's, view her speech.
Mr Bill Barry One of the foundation teachers in 1990 and still at St John's in 2015, shares his memories of St John's over the first 25 years.
Thomas Abood Class of 2008, special guest in 2014, 3rd Place in Tropfest movie competition, view his short film.
Alex Pitkethly Class of 2008, special guest in 2015, view his biography speech.
Roseanne Scott Dux of 2011, view her Dux speech.
Mr Len Seyffer Special ANZAC guest in 2012, view his moving speech.
Bradley Wakefield Dux of 2012, view his Dux speech.
Sam Robertson Dux of 2014, view his Dux speech.
Mrs Helen Crocco Former REC congratulates St John's on the 25th Anniversary Celebrations, 2015.
Tyler Wright St John's graduate becomes 2016 Surfing World Champion, view a brief history profile.
Owen Wright St John's graduate wins a bronze medal in surfing at the 2021 (2020) Tokyo Olympic Games.
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