St John’s College was first established by the Good Samaritan Sisters as a secondary school on February 4th, 1940. Originally known as St Joseph’s, Nambour, it was situated at the convent of the Good Samaritan Sisters. The school was relocated to the Perwillowen Road site in 1979. The College was renamed St John’s in 1985 after St John the Evangelist. The adoption of the college motto: Unbind and Set Free comes from the story of the raising of Lazarus found in St. John’s Gospel.
In 1978, after much lobbying and discussion within the Parish Community, a Systemic Co-educational College was planned for the site. The original buildings were all demountables. St Joseph’s College opened for students in Years 8 to 10 at the start of 1979. With 11 staff and 99 students, only 23 of whom were boys, the College was officially opened on March 21st, 1979.
The founding Principal, Mr Denis Hawes, was replaced in October 1979 by Mrs Kathleen Rundall. Kathleen was responsible for the expansion of the College to Year 11 (1982) and Year 12 (1983) and for the construction of many of the permanent buildings. The Double Storey Building was opened in 1983, while the GSC, Prayer Room, Library and Administration buildings were all completed in 1984. With the support of the P & F Association the construction of the College ovals and the landscaping of the site were also undertaken.
Kathleen was replaced by Mrs Wendy Cutting, who began her term as Principal at the start of the 1988 school year. The replacement of the ‘temporary’ buildings continued. Multipurpose Courts were opened in 1989 and 1996. 1996 also saw the completion of a Performing Arts and Home Economics Building. At the start of 1998, P & F sponsored sails were installed to shade the assembly area. In 1997/98 the Administration Building was refurbished.
Paul Blundell became Principal of the College in 1998 and in 1999 the four laboratory science block was built. All demountable buildings have been replaced with versatile classrooms. The courtyard has been redeveloped as a “café” area and the Multi-purpose centre was completed in 2008.
There is currently a strong emphasis on the continued development of Information Technology with a network of cables and wireless, distribution panels and computers installed and updated throughout the College, and all students and staff have access to personal e-mail and the World Wide Web. Life at the College continues to be encouraged as a celebration of achievement and service.
From such humble and temporary beginnings, St John’s has established itself as a significant Sunshine Coast educational institution.