Celebrating 40 Years

In 2019 Newman College Celebrated 40 years as leaders of Vocational Education and Training.
This milestone was a perfect time to reflect on our outstanding achievements and celebrate the success of our students, staff, alumni and partners.

Our History

We’ve come a long way since we started as the Vocational College in 1979, just look at what we have achieved.

Our Story

In 1979, responding to local needs, Fr Leo Donnelly Parish Priest of St Agnes Parish, Port Macquarie had the wisdom and foresight to formulate a vocationally oriented Higher School Certificate. As St Joseph’s Vocational College, this model successfully operated for 26 years. In 2006 the College became the nation’s first and largest Australian Technical College and operated in this format for three years. Subsequent to change in government policy and funding arrangements, the College then became Newman Senior Technical College in 2009.

Read More

Messages of Support

“Congrats Newman College on leading the way in creating an education like no other in Port Macquarie. Your tremendous passion, dedicated staff and capable graduates are a credit to forty years of innovation and excellence. Looking forward to celebrating with you in style!”

Kate Wood-Foye

Director of External Engagement, Charles Sturt University

“Well done Newman College. 40 years is a long time and tremendous growth has occurred because of the Parish leaders and teachers support, not to mention industry’s that have supported the college since day dot! As board members, it gives us great joy to see the growth in young people’s education and jobs they obtain, because of that hard work.”

Michael Reid

Director, Opteon Solutions

“Congratulations to all the wonderful people – staff, parents, employers and students – who are, or have been, associated with this magnificent College. Thank you to the organising committee for this chance to celebrate so many great achievements.Father D will be with us in spirit. God bless you all.”

Tom & Terry Quinn

Past Principal & Teacher

“This school is achieving some incredible things. It is making a difference to the lives of the kids who attend.”

Sue Stapleton

College Friend

“Looking forward to a wonderful evening of celebrations and reminiscing!!”

Tess Tarrant-Clarke


“Congratulations Newman! The most wonderful place to work.Exciting to see what the next 40 years have in store.”

Patricia Nunan


“Newman is about relationships! A unique model, yes – we’ve had to develop it, immerse ourselves in it, explain it, defend and promote it but there has always been a consistent story of who we are and how proud we are – in developing our identity – students, staff, and community alike. Our College – sticking together and supporting each other – staff and students together!

We have always been a community that others have looked at in two ways – with a lack of understanding or with amazement, and sometimes both. But it is always all about the people.

Education providers want to copy the model, the facility, and the courses, but often they don’t realise, it’s all about the people. This is what has carried the College through its past 40 years. Forged in challenge. United in success. Maintained with love.”

Stephen Pares

Principal of Newman College - 2009 to 2019"

Through the eyes of an ex-student it is amazing to see Newman College reach 40yr milestone. From humble beginnings to the brilliance of now, Congratulations!!!

Telecia Williams

2009 Captain , Newman College Board Member

“Congratulations to all past and present staff of Newman on achieving this milestone. The College has grown from very humble beginnings in temporary premises in 1979 to the large, well resourced College that it is today. Not even Father D could have imagined back then how successful this educational experiment could have become. Extremely well done to all who have contributed to the College’s growth and success over the past four decades.”

Jim O'Brien

Previous Co-ordinating Principal, St Agnes' Parish Schools

” Congratulations to the whole Newman community, especially the staff, students and past students. There is much to celebrate when we consider the amazing success of the College over a relatively short period of time. Much will be said about Father Donnelly’s vision and involvement in the establishment, growth and development of the College. I was indeed very fortunate to be a part of the very early history of the College and even at that time, Father Donnelly played an active but not stifling role in the College’s growth and development. He was in the background; he was on committees – local, state and national; he would walk the corridors of parliament in Canberra and he would keep close contact with staff and students. Why did he do this? Fr D knew that Vocational Education and Training was not only relevant for so many students, he knew that it required better recognition and better funding. The results of his efforts in these areas are readily seen today. We are indeed fortunate and blessed to have had his inspiration and his relentless pursuit of a better deal for Vocational Education and Training.

I would just like to make a few observations on the reasons for the success of the College. Undoubtedly the College has always had transformational leadership that has been consultative and inclusive. The College Board, the Parish Finance Council, the College Leadership Team and the Parish Education Council have all played their very important respective roles. Anyone joining the College staff very quickly comprehends the values and direction in which the College is travelling. It is very student focused; it is flexible in its approach to achieving common shared goals and it celebrates its achievements (and there are countless achievements over many years of which we all can be very proud).

In any studies of what makes a successful school, there are various factors that are intrinsically important. To me, none more important than the staff. Regardless of all the factors combined, if you don’t have the best possible staff, very little can or will be achieved in terms of the vision and mission of the school. I take this opportunity to acknowledge and congratulate the staff of the College, past and present, for their individual expertise, their dedication, and their ability to work collaboratively to achieve so much over many years.

 To me the other notable factor for the success of the College, right from its inception, is its strong and positive links with industry. We all know that without these links and the genuine support of industry and employers, we would all need to consider another definition for success. Employers have been supportive of the College right from day one. Just their time alone, in support for student work placement, has been invaluable, It is impossible to put a figure on that in terms of worth, value and potential for providing employment and growing the local economy. The College community, especially the students, are grateful and indebted to the support , past and present of the thousands of employers who have been an integral part of the success of the College.

The students over the years have been amazing. In the early days it was a very big decision to elect to attend the College. Due to the fact that it was not the traditional ‘school’ model, students made the choice to attend the College, even if not supported by their friends and sometimes parents. The students have been the real success story of the College. The success stories are endless and many students have gone onto run their own business; be recognised as the very best in their trade; go to university and have professional careers; and continue to support the College by employing current students from the College. Current and past students are and have been, arguably, the best marketers of the College for many years. 

Congratulations to everyone who has been a part of the Newman success story. Newman Senior Technical College, and I am sure many people would agree, is one of the best assets in the Port Macquarie Hastings region. I hope everyone  enjoys this very special celebration.
Best wishes
John McQueen

Past Principal, St Joseph's Vocational College