The suburb of Holland Park was named after Julius Holland, an astute local businessman who owned a large area of Holland Park scrub, from Abbotsleigh Street to Arnold Street and from Logan Road to Cavendish Road. St Joachim’s Church and School are situated in Holland Park West, a now well established residential area.
Settlement of the Holland Park and Holland Park West area dates from 1865, with land used mainly for farming. Growth of the suburb took place during the 1880s and 1890s.
Brisbane was one of the major US submarine bases during the early part of the Pacific campaign in World War Two. The submarine tender, USS Fulton, was moored at the New Farm wharves, often with six to eight submarines alongside. Sick and wounded US Navy and Army personnel were cared for at 112 AGH (Greenslopes) until US hospitals were organised. In 1942 the US Army built a very large 42nd General Hospital on Logan Road at Holland Park, which had capacity for more than 2000 beds.
More substantial development of Holland Park occurred during the post-war years. The population was relatively stable during the 1990s, and then increased slightly between 2001 and 2006.
The three acre site where the church and school now stands was purchased by the Brisbane Archbishop in 1918 at the division of Yuletide Estate. On Sunday 26th July, 1936, His Grace The Archbishop, Most Rev. J. Duhig blessed and placed in position the foundation stone of St. Joachim’s Church School, Holland Park.
St Joachim’s was the only parish between St Stephen’s Cathedral in the CBD and Beenleigh in the archdiocese’s extreme south.
The building was designed to serve as a school until such times as it could be replaced by a brick church. Rev. Fr Dowling, the first Parish Priest, busily organised the Catholic residents of Holland Park for the foundation stone ceremony. In his welcoming address, Fr Dowling stated that there was no place more prepared for a church school than the suburb of Holland Park. The people were delighted to have their own church and particularly that the building was also to be used as a school.
The school was finally established by the Sisters of St Joseph in 1938, and is now situated in the Holland Park Mt Gravatt Catholic Parish. The school was named after St Joachim, husband of St Ann. They are the Patron Saints of Marriage and Grandparents. The tradition of the Church is that Joachim and Ann were the parents of Mary and thus, the grandparents of Jesus. St Joachim and St Ann exemplified faithful commitment and trust in God.
The war affected St Joachim’s School as it did the rest of the nation. The students would have memories of slit air-raid trenches dug in the school grounds in 1943. Periodically there would be air-raid drills and the children would run to the trenches clutching a bag which contained survival items.
After World War II people squatted in some of the American army hospital huts until the government changed the area into a settlement. The squatters hired huts and became tenants of what became a large housing commission area.
In 1946 the Sisters of St Joseph from Holland Park also hired a hut, which was originally a psychiatric wing of the US hospital. Sr Marie Therese Moylan sj continued the education of children in this new building.
On 25th November, 1955, the settlement school closed early as the school building was to be moved to the new site at Seville Road. During 1955 Fr Slyney was appointed as parish priest. During 1955 & 1956 the school numbers had certainly grown. In 1956 seven buses took the St Joachim’s children to Shorncliffe for the school picnic.
In 1964 the Holland Park site included a high school for girls known as St Joseph’s. It opened with 93 girls under the guidance of Sr Margaret Mary Campbell sj (first Principal) and Sr Pius Cassidy sj. Sr Mary Rose sj came to Holland Park to teach Years 9 and 10 in 1965. St Joseph’s secondary school moved to Klumpp Road in November, 1970 and was renamed MacKillop College.
On Palm Sunday, 3rd April, 1977, the parish hall, originally the church school burnt down. This year ended an era at Holland Park. In November 1978, the remains of the hall was demolished to make way for the building we know today as the Parish Hall.
During this period the parish lost a building that held so many joyous occasions and in the same year the Sisters of St Joseph finished their teaching duties at Holland Park. The sisters continued to live at the convent, with Sr Savina remaining to teach Music.
We are proud when we hear of the achievement, small or great, of our past and present pupils. We are proud of our fine and gifted staff who today continue to give of themselves unselfishly and lovingly, carrying on in the tradition of our dear Sisters of St Joseph. We are proud of those timeless workers, from those mothers who made the very first communion outfits in 1938, all of those tuckshop mums and dads, fete helpers, working bee helpers and the list goes on.
We are proud of the school community which is St Joachim’s and while thanking God for the last 75 years, we pray for God’s guidance for the future.
Source: “The first Fifty Years. 1938-1988" St. Joachim’s Jubilee Album
Pictures courtesy of past student: Jill Parton (nee Tidey)