St Finbar’s Parish, Primary School is situated beside the historic St Finbar’s Church on the corner of Centre Road and Nepean Highway, East Brighton.

Formally known as St Patrick's Parish of Little Brighton, the church was opened in a newly erected weatherboard building on April 30 1848, with Mass. The school shared this building with the church for three months and in June 1848, St Finbar's School was opened in another small, wooden building on the site. With the development of plans for a Melbourne Cathedral, the Archbishop requested that the name Patrick be given to this project; hence St Patrick's Little Brighton took the name of St Finbar's - a truly Irish saint. The weatherboard church and school, ‘the first Catholic Church erected in the suburban area of Melbourne’ have long since disappeared and have been replaced by the present buildings. None of the original buildings remain as many of them were demolished during the 1970s with the widening of Nepean Highway.

The school was originally founded and staffed by lay teachers. Between 1906 and 1908, the Presentation Sisters taught in the school. They then returned to run the school in 1925 and remained until 1974. Due to decreasing numbers and a redefining of their mission, the Sisters handed on the tradition of quality education into the hands of lay administration and teachers and this legacy lives on today.


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