Irish Catholic Identity, St Joseph’s Nudgee College, and Rugby 1891-1914

The Battle of the Colours


In the years either side of Federation in 1901, Australia’s Irish Catholics balanced two often contradictory impulses: their determination to retain their cultural and religious links with Ireland in the face of an often unsympathetic Protestant majority, and the desire to become ‘good’ Australians in order to make ‘a go’ of their lives in the new land. This paper explores how this process played out at St Joseph’s Nudgee College, a Christian Brothers’ day and boarding school in Brisbane, the capital of the Australian state of Queensland, and how sport played a central role in satisfying both imperatives. This discussion will be framed by the intersection of the social/political/economic context of Queensland during the period 1891-1914. It will focus on the educational context in which the Irish Christian Brothers operated as they struggled to make the College a bastion of Irish Catholicism and a vehicle for the socio-economic advancement of their community.

Martin Kerby, Margaret Baguley, Abbey MacDonald & Vaughan Cruickshank (2020): The battle of the colours: Irish Catholic identity, St Joseph’s Nudgee College, and rugby 1891–1914, Irish Educational Studies 

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