In 1836, the year of South Australia's foundation, Brother Marie Nizier, the first Marist Brother to step ashore in Australia, stayed a few weeks in Sydney on his way to the mission in Wallis and Futuna Islands. After being formally invited to Australia by Archbishop Vaughan, the Marist Brothers arrived in Sydney and opened a school in "The Rocks" area.
At the beginning there were but six students enrolled in the High School, but the enrolment increased steadily and the Port accommodation was found to be inadequate. In 1902, the High School was moved to a large house on the waterfront at Semaphore (the house is still standing) and the name changed from Sacred Heart High School to Sacred Heart College. Country boys began to come and were boarded with local families. Still the numbers grew and a house on a two-acre block of land at Largs Bay was purchased.
Classrooms and dormitories were built and in 1905, Sacred Heart College opened its doors at Largs Bay and took in boarders for the first time. Connections with country South Australia that began in those days have continued down to the present. The house, on the corner of Military Road and Hannay Street still stands although the other buildings have gone.
The Brothers realised that eventually a bigger permanent home would have to be found for Sacred Heart College and built accordingly at Largs. In 1899 students from Sacred Heart College High School sat for the preliminary Adelaide University examinations and recorded a 100% pass.
The same was the case in 1900. One outstanding student from these early days was the late Crown Solicitor Albert Hannan. Others pursued dentistry, medicine, law and the arts. And, true to its mission and vision, Sacred Heart College former students in a steady stream, went off to study for the priesthood.
To the current day, students have entered professions and advanced the course of academic, civic and religious life for over 100 years.