Franciscans on the Hill Network
The inner northside suburb of Kedron in Brisbane is in a unique position both geographically and historically. Bordered by three major arterial roads and with easy access to public transport the three Catholic Franciscan Schools of Padua and Mt Alvernia Colleges, together with St Anthony’s School, provide seamless Catholic education from Prep to Year 12.
Being only approximately seven kilometres from the heart of Brisbane's CBD, Kedron has seen a resurgence in population growth in the last ten years. With shifting demographics the suburb finds itself well positioned for the return of young families and increased residential development in the area. Indeed, Turner Road Kedron is often advertised to new home buyers as being in the heart of the ‘Padua Precinct’, referring to the location of three well-credentialed Catholic schools in close proximity to one another.
In the 1920s the Franciscan Friars were asked to take over the fledgling outer suburban parish of Kedron. Some time later the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, a teaching Institute of nuns, were invited to educate the poor young Catholics of the area. In 1956 the sisters asked the Friars to join them, in educating the boys. This the friars did, and after some later hesitation (and a little more ecclesiastical persuasion from the then Archbishop of Brisbane) they continued to do this from that time on.
Each of the three schools has a significant connection to one another through their Franciscan foundations. St Anthony’s School is a Parish Primary School from Prep to Year 7 operated by the Brisbane Catholic Education Office for the Archdiocese of Brisbane. St Anthony’s is a co-educational facility from Prep to Year 4, with girls only making up Years Five to Seven. Mt Alvernia College is an independent school for girls from Years 8 to 12 under the care of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. Padua College is an independent school for boys from Years 5 to 12 under the care of the Franciscan Friars. Altogether just over 2500 students attend all three schools.
In 2003/4, the Administrations of the three schools decided that all would benefit from a more coordinated approach to common issues. Thus was born ‘Franciscans On The Hill’ or ‘FOTH’ as it has become to be known.The term was coined by John Leyden from St Anthony's School. Regular meetings between the Principals and administrations, shared staff professional development opportunities and many cross-campus activities form the basis of a close working relationship between the three schools.
In 2011 the FOTH school association was further enhanced with the inclusion of the Kedron Catholic Parish of St Anthony of Padua and St Therese of Lisieux (or ‘Little Flower’ Parish as it is more commonly known as). This inclusion recognised the close connection of the schools to the local parish community. Indeed, the Parish Church shares a common frontage on Turner Road with two of the schools – St Anthony’s School and Padua College. In 2012 the Queensland Catholic Education Commission chose to highlight this unique relationship under its theme of ‘Celebrating Community – Family, Parish, School’.