College History

College History

Aquinas College opened as Adelaide’s Catholic residential college for university students in 1950 in Montefiore House, formerly the home of Sir Samuel Way who resided there from 1873 until 1916.  The Archdiocese of Adelaide had been fortunate to be able to purchase this outstanding property overlooking the city of Adelaide the previous year.  Fr Cornelius Finn SJ, the founding Rector, welcomed the first nineteen students on 8th March 1950.  Since that time, the College has grown with the addition of the Beovich/Hannan building, Roche House and its addition in Finn House, Gleeson House, the building now housing Roma Mitchell House and the Chapel, the townhouses that are known as Marcellin House, and the MacKillop building.  Originally a men’s College, Aquinas became co-residential in 1975. The College now offers two hundred places for students attending the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia.

A Jesuit community lived at the College until 2000, and provided the Rectors of the College until that year. In 2006 the Archbishop of Adelaide invited the Marist Brothers to establish a community, and from 2014 to provide the Rector. The present Brothers’ House was purchased by the College 2007 and incorporated into the College campus.

Rectors of Aquinas

1950-1951                            Rev Con Finn SJ
1952-1961                            Rev Michael Scott SJ
1962-1969                            Rev Bryan Buxton SJ
1970-1975                            Rev James McInerney SJ
1975-1982                            Rev Ian Howells SJ
1983-1986                            Rev Daven Day SJ
1986-1997                            Rev Theo Overberg SJ
1997-2000                            Rev Michael Head SJ
2001-2004                            Rev John Shanahan
2005-2006                            Mr Sam Armstrong
2006-2011                            Prof Denis Ralph
2011-2013                            Dr Colin MacMullin
2014                                     Brother John Furlong FMS (Acting)
2015-2017                           Brother Paul Gilchrist FMS
2018-2022                           Brother Michael Green FMS
2022-                                    Mr Sean Brito-Babapulle

An official history of the first 50 years of the college, 1950 to 2000, was written by our last Jesuit Rector, Fr Michael Head SJ and is available to be purchase.Orders can be emailed to: