The students of the College are divided into four Houses:
- Carroll – whose colour is green, is named after Bishop Carroll. It was his decision to establish a College at Woodlawn.
- Segrief – whose colour is red, is named after Woodlawn’s first Rector, Father Thomas Segrief, S.M.
- Bell – whose colour is gold, is named after Woodlawn’s second Rector, Father James Bell, S.M.
- Kennedy – whose colour is blue, is named after Father John Kennedy, S.M. Woodlawn’s third Rector.
Bishop John Carroll
John Carroll was born in Piltown, County Kilkenny, Ireland, on Christmas day 1865. He was ordained a Priest on 31 May 1890 and immediately came to Australia. For 20 years he worked in the Archdiocese of Sydney. He was consecrated Bishop of Lismore by Cardinal Moran on 6 March 1910, becoming the second Bishop of Lismore. He invited the Marist Fathers’ from New Zealand to build and staff a college for boys, which was opened in 1931 and named after Saint John the Evangelist.
“Woodlawn will cherish his memory, for that memory is already incorporated into the life of the College. It is easy to remember his stately figure at the College sports, as he congratulated the winners and said a kind word to the losers, at the annual clergy cricket match, keenly enjoying every moment of the game; chatting to the boys as they readily gathered around him during his many informal visits to the College, presiding at Prize Giving and above all, saying Mass in the College Chapel.” (Eagle 1949).
Father Thomas Segrief, S.M.
In response to Bishop Carroll’s invitation to open a boy’s College at Woodlawn, Father O’Reilly, the New Zealand Provincial of the Marist Fathers, chose Father Thomas Segrief in 1924 to canvass the Lismore Diocese for funds and to be the College’s first Rector. He was a university graduate and had taught at St Patrick’s College, Wellington. He was the first New Zealand Catholic Chaplain chosen for service in the war in 1914. During the war he served in Egypt, Gallipoli and France.
Father Segrief was Rector of the College from 1931-1937. It was he who laid the solid foundations on which others would build. Father Segrief died in 1940.
Father James Bell, S.M.
Father Bell came to Woodlawn in 1938 after teaching in Marist Colleges in Wellington and Christchurch. He was an outstanding teacher, sportsmaster, coach and Rector.
“During his term of office, the academic side of the school achieved outstanding success. Bursaries on the Intermediate and Leaving Certificate were won in great number, and the year before he left us it was to reach a climax in excellent passes in the Leaving Certificate and a First in the State in Mathematics.” (Eagle 1944)
After leaving Woodlawn in 1943, Father Bell later became Provincial of the Australian Province and assistant to the Marist Superior General in Rome.
Father John Kennedy, S.M.
Father Kennedy had graduated as a Master of Arts with Honours in History from Victoria University, Wellington. Before coming to Woodlawn in 1944, he had been involved with education for 20 years in New Zealand including time as Rector of St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, Wellington.
During his time as Rector, Woodlawn’s numbers increased greatly.
“Father Kennedy brought with him to St John’s a reputation for scholarship and an unrivalled knowledge of the work of education in all its phases. …. It was in character training that he excelled. Firmly convinced that education does not mean merely the training of a boy for commercial or industrial activity …… He strove to form in the boys strong moral, intellectual and social habits – his aim was to educate the whole man.”
“He left St John’s with the knowledge that its traditions were intact, it’s school roll grown to vast proportions and its name written large on the scroll of Catholic Education in Australia.” (Eagle 1949)