This Institution was founded in the year 1839 by the Rt. Rev. Joseph Carew, D.D., for the purpose of affording the Catholic youth of Madras the facilities of a liberal education. It was known for nearly 44 years as ST. MARY’S SEMINARY AND DAY SCHOOL. The first Principal was very Rev. Dr. William Kelly of Maynooth.

Long after the establishment of St. Mary’s came the foundation of the Indian Universities in 1857. In 1862 St. Mary’s began to prepare private candidates for the Entrance Examination of the Madras University. In 1883 St. Mary’s Seminary was raised to the Madras University and was permitted to prepare students for the first Entrance Examination in Arts. In thus entered on its new career as St. Mary’s College with the very. Rev. Theophilus Mayer as its first Principal. The Institution celebrated its Golden Jubilee with the great éclat on the 9th December 1893. In the same year St. Mary’s College was placed under the Management of the Brother’s of St. Patrick. In 1896, when the Superior of the community withdrew the services of its members from Madras Town, the Fathers of St. Joseph’s , Mill Hill, London, were given charge of the Institutions with the Rev. J.J. Houbaer as Principal.

In April 1906 the Government of Madras issued a Special Code of Regulations for all European Schools in the Presidency. This necessitated the separation of all the Europeans and Anglo-Indians from the Indian students. Accordingly in July 1906, St. Mary’s European High School was opened in a separate two-storeyed building in the adjoining Headmaster of the new School. The Headmasters in the succession to Rev. Fr. Macnamara were :

  • Rev. Fr. David Egan, S.S.J.,
  • Rev. Fr. W. G. Hood, S.S.J.,
  • Rev. Fr.M. Omsten, S.S.J.,

In 1911, Rev. Fr. A. J. Van der Burg was transferred from St. Gabriel’s High School (the Indian Section Of St. Mary’s College) as Headmaster and Correspondent of St. Mary’s.

Since then there has been all-round improvement and a steady development in every branch of school activity. New buildings were put up, including a spacious school hall and as additional wing to the main school building. The Science Laboratory was re-modelled and equipped at considerable expense and was one of the best, if not the best Science Laboratory for High Schools.

Progress in studies and sports was rapid and St. Mary’s soon won a place in the front rank of European Boy’s Schools in the Presidency.

In the absence of Rev. Fr. Van der burg in Europe during 1920-21, Rev. Fr. R. Sullivan, S.S.J., officiated as Headmaster.

On the appointment of Very Rev. Fr. Van der Burg as Administrator Apostolic of the Archdiocese in March 1928, Rev. Fr. A.F. Theodore, B.A., L.T., a former pupil of the School, assumed the Head-mastership.

In October 1928, with the passing over of the Archdiocese to the Fathers of the Salesian Congregation, the management of the School was taken over by the Most Rev. Eugene Mederlet, S.D.B., D.D.

After an absence of two years in Europe, during which time Very Rev. Fr. G. Mora, S.D.B. acted as Correspondent and Mr. J.D. Mathias,M.A., L.T., as Headmaster in July 1931. Mr. Mathias asted as Headmaster again from July to December 1934 when Rev. Fr. A.F. Theodore went away on leave. On Father Theodore’s permanent transfer as Parish Priest in January 1935, Rev. Fr. J.M.Boire. S.D.B., took charge of the school from Fr. Boria, who was transferred to Bombay.

Another extension to the school-house, consisting of a two-storeyed building, to provide five classrooms and an Assembly Hall, was completed in 1937 and occupied at the re-opening of school in January 1938.

In January 1945 Rev. Fr. Joseph Cockshoot, S.D.B., took charge of the school as Principal and Correspondent from Rev. Fr. Cronin who was deputed to Australia on Foreign Missionary work. In June 1945, the newly ordained Rev. Fr. G.P. Whyte, S.D.B., was appointed as Vice-Principal to Rev. Fr. Cockshoot. In July 1946, Rev. Fr. Cockshoot was appointed Manager of the Good Pastor Press and Rev. Fr. G.P. Whyte assumed charge as Principal and Correspondent of St. Mary’s High School.

The strength of the school began to increase. There was urgent need for more classrooms and the Assembly Hall was divided into five classrooms with wooden movable partitions separating the classrooms.

In the 1959 a magnificent Auditorium was built over the classrooms which once formed the Assembly Hall.

The Laboratory that had served the school for so many years was found inadequate and in 1962, a third storey was built over the old school building to house the Laboratory and the Demonstration Room. The Laboratory is fully equipped, with 10 large work tables at which 60 boys can conduct individual experiments. The Demonstration Room has a wooden gallery that can comfortably seat 60 pupils.

Early in 1966, St. Mary’s public Hall handed over to the School and it is now being used as a Dining Hall.

Rev. Fr. Whyte was Principal and Correspondent of St. Mary’s High School and celebrated his Silver Jubilee-25 years in the Service of The Lord and 25 years of Service in this School.

Rev. Fr. Sibi Mathews is the present Principal of this esteemed establishment and his doing yomen service for the cause of education and keeping the legacy of St. Marys flying high.


Seasons greetings from St. Mary’s and a happy New Year to you all!


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