On 10th December 1916 in "a wilderness of shrubs and stunted trees" the foundation stones were laid for a small school which consisted of three classrooms. Behind a large boarding house that, in the next year became their monastery, six De La Salle Brothers began their task of educating Catholic boys from the Ashfield Parish.
The Brothers had been invited to form a school by the new Parish Priest of Ashfield Father Paul Cullen, who had purchased the house and land adjacent to Bethlehem Catholic College. Classes commenced in February 1917 with the first Director being Brother Benignus Patrick, a man with a tremendous store of energy and enthusiasm. Soon Brother Patrtick and his small community assisted by the students of the College, were at work clearing the land, filling in wells and planting hedges.
In mid 1917, there were one hundred boys enrolled at the College in Primary classes, as well as in the first years of Secondary school. By 1918, with 230 pupils, it became necessary to add two more classrooms.
The College became a full High School in 1924 with a small Leaving Certificate classroom built by the Parish and a 'Science Hall' provided by the Brothers. In 1931 during the Great Depression, enrolment was 300 and it continued to expand due to the efforts of Father Macken, who was Provincial of the Vincentian Fathers. His efforts gave to the College a separate Primary school in 1934 and a "tech" room in 1937. The tech-room was for boys who would not be going onto University or into work in an office. This two-stream system of "pros" and "techs" continued until 1955. During this period, the Old Boys' Association was formed in 1927 and the Mothers' Club came into being in 1940.
In 1949, the College consisted of the 1916 and 1934 buildings and the "tech" room. There were four Primary classes (3rd to 6th) and five Secondary (one for each "Year"), of between fifty and seventy boys. Br. Baptist in 1949, formed the Fathers' Auxiliary to carry out maintenance on the College.
By 1956, the number of Brothers at the College had decreased and so Br Cassian introduced five lay staff. Using the "Golden Opportunity" Art Unions, Br Cassian, with the co operation of Father O'Reilly who was Parish Priest, announced plans in 1960 to connect the Primary and "tech" with new classrooms named the 1961 building.
Br Peter McIntosh became Director in 1962 after an eleven year association with the College. He implemented a number of fundamental changes during his six years as Principal.
In 1963 the College became a regional school, following the reorganisation of the Diocese. Between 1962 and 1967 the College enrolment doubled and by 1965 enrolments exceeded one thousand students. The main building of the College was opened in 1966, during the celebration of its Golden Jubilee.
The Wyndham scheme, introduced in 1962, to Year Seven, added new subjects to the curriculum, requiring more specialist rooms, as did the new Form VI in 1967, adding four new additional classes, which presented accommodation problems. With the support of the Parish and the Old Boys' Union, Br Peter in 1962, began to transform the physical shape of the College. The old archway was demolished and used as a base for the monastery which was constructed by the Parish in 1963.
The main building followed in three stages: 1963-64 saw six classrooms, followed in 1965 by four Science Laboratories (under Government Science Grant). The old "Science Hall" became the Tuckshop. The old 1916 building was also renovated by Br. Peter after several years of being unused.
Br. Michael Lynch was succeeded Br. Peter in 1968 and if Br. Peter is remembered as a remarkable builder and administrator, Br. Michael will be remembered as the one who deepened personal relationships and the involvement within the framework provided by Br. Peter.
During the next two years Br. Michael shaped a College policy that was designed to cultivate in each boy a personal sense of responsibility and also to cultivate in the staff a concern for each student. To achieve this at the beginning of 1970, the College was divided into three distinct sections: the Primary, Middle (Years 7-10) and Senior (Years 11 and 12). Each had its own Principal, Students' Council and as far as possible a separate staff.
In late 1972 it was announced that the Brothers were to withdraw from Ashfield, and the College became the first Catholic High School in Australia to be administered by a Lay Principal and with a lay staff. Mr Peter Donnan was appointed principal in November of that year.
In 1981 when Peter Donnan left the College to take up a position with the Catholic Education Office, Mr Allan Coman was appointed as new Principal of the College. During his six years at the College, considerable advances occurred in the area of curriculum development so that almost half of the senior students were enrolled in the alternative "Employment Preparation" H.S.C., laboratories were refurbished, a new Library was established and the adjoining property at 28A Bland Street was converted, in 1986, to Computer and Music Rooms.
In 1985 the College acceded to a request from the Catholic Education Office, to accommodate the Intensive Language Centre on the College property fronting Alt Street. In 1990 the buildings reverted to College usage as the Year 7 classrooms.
In 1988 the Primary Section of the College was closed and the primary students were then retained in their Parish Schools. After more than seventy years in operation as a Primary School educational facility, it was a sad day when the Junior Section of the College ceased to exist.
Mr Peter McNamara was appointed Principal in 1988 and introduced a number of innovations in the administration and curriculum of the College. In the area of Drama, progress continued with the establishment of a Drama Centre in the old Primary Library. Great success in particular was achieved in the Rock Eisteddfod. The teaching of Technology and Art was greatly enhanced by the building of a new Industrial Arts and Visual Arts Building replacing rooms which dated back to the commencement of the College. Finally, the working environment was enhanced greatly by a complete refurbishment of all classrooms. In 1992 at the end of Term I, Mr Peter McNamara was appointed Principal of Kogarah Marist High School.
Mr Patrick Connor, who had been the Assistant Principal since 1985, was appointed as the new Principal of our College. During the next five years, the College strengthened its focus on Pastoral Care and staff accepted the challenge of developing teaching styles to meet the needs of students with Special Learning Difficulties. A successful, innovative Reading Programme for Year 7 boys was established with the assistance of the young men of Years 9, 10 & 11. Whilst Lasallian in teaching style, it was a defining example of Mr O'Connor's continued La Sallian work with young people.
In 1995, De La Salle was the premier College in Sport and saw students perform exceptionally well in the Higher School Certificate. In this period Mr O'Connor made substantial improvements to the Learning and Recreational Environments of the College.
Mr Thomas Galea, was appointed in 1995 when Mr O'Connor moved into the Regional Office as a consultant. Mr Galea challenged the community to achieve excellence in all they undertook. Under Mr Galea's principalship, extensive building and renovation work was completed. This included the addition of a new library, covered amphitheatre and canteen. The music and science facilities were also enhanced. Mr Galea accepted a position as the Headmaster of a College in Alice Springs and Mr Michael Barrington replaced him in 2002.
Since 2002, there have been significant changes made to both the curriculum and the physical learning environment of the College. The College computer network has been improved with an upgrade of the server and 14 interactive whiteboards. The College wireless computer network can support both PC and Mac applications. In 2006 an innovative Year 7 program, called 'Excel', was introduced to assist students in their adjustment to High School. Much of the work is based on a literacy and technology platform which is designed to engage boys more fully in their learning.
2008 saw the completion of the five new Science laboratories and the College multi-purpose hall which is an airconditioned venue capable of seating up to 1500, with a full theatrical stage light and sound system. De La Salle hosted the World Youth Day 2008 Journey of the Cross and Icon in this innovative and multi-purposed venue.
2010 saw the development of the 'Band on the Block', enabling students to participate in music tuition and performance in a number of ensembles and the band. The College also has its own soundproof music room.
In 2013, the College implemented the student laptop program where all students have their own personal laptop.
In 2014, Mr Stephen Kennaugh was appointed as new Principal of the College when Michael Barrington left the College to take up a position with the Catholic Education Office. 2014 also sees the implementation of a new fully equiped gymnasium, new basketball courts and refurbishment of the TAS work area.
De La Salle Catholic College prides itself on being innovative and responsive to change to ensure it is engaging and a school of the future.