The initial meeting of Principals, which led to the formation of the Association, was initiated by Mr Frank Rogan, then Supervisor of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. He saw the need for greater communication and cooperation among Catholic educators and hoped that this first meeting of Principals might lead to the formation of an ongoing group that could facilitate this.

The Director of the Catholic Education Office, Father Frank Martin invited all principals of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne to a meeting to be held on 10 August 1972, at the Olympia Room, Olympic Park. The themes of the day were "The Catholic Secondary School in Contemporary Society" and "The Lay Teacher in the Catholic Secondary School".

This meeting proved to be so successful that it was decided that a further meeting should be held. This meeting, also organised by Mr Frank Rogan, was held on 9 November 1972. Professor P. Musgrove of Monash University spoke on the topic of "Curriculum Change", in the light of the freedom given to schools to develop their own programmes and curricula up to the end of Form 5. Since the topic was of vital concern for all schools it was decided to invite Deputy Principals as well. There was representation from fifty secondary schools.


At this meeting, a committee was formed to establish the Principals' Association. It consisted of Sr Brigid Arthur, Sr Nora Finucane, Sr Josepha Dunlop, Fr Frank Shortis, Br William Greening, Br Romuald O'Brien, Sr Paschal Rushford and Mr Frank Rogan. This committee had representation from Regional Colleges, boys' colleges, girls' colleges and colleges with students only to Form 4. It met for the first time on 8 December 1972.

The Committee requested that country membership be included, meeting dates for 1973 were fixed and the aims of the prosed Association were formulated. These were:

  1. To foster close links between those concerned with the improvement of education administration in Catholic Schools
  2. To conduct conferences and seminars for Principals and teachers in Catholic Schools
  3. To facilitate the dissemination of information about developments in educational institutions
  4. To provide a forum for the discussion of common problems and new approaches

The composition and name of the Association had to be considered, and these questions were raised

  • Should it be an association in its own right or should it see itself as the forerunner of a larger organisation of teachers in Catholic secondary schools?
  • Should it become a Victorian association or be restricted to the Archdiocese?
  • Should it be a professional association, restricting itself to matters associated with teaching and learning processes, or did it see itself as being a body which would suggest means of rationalising resources, or changes in policy?
  • What was to be its relationship with the Catholic Education Office?

Fr Frank Shortis was elected Chairman and Mr Frank Rogan, Secretary, as a direct link with the Catholic Education Office. An interim constitution was prepared.

On 11 October 1973, the interim constitution was adopted, and members of the 1974 Executive elected. Twelve months later, the General Meeting adopted the constitution stating that the Secretary of the Association should be a Principal, but not without acknowledging the contribution of Mr Frank Rogan over the previous two years. He was asked to stay with the Association as an observer.

The name of the Association was to be the Principals' Association of Victorian Catholic Secondary Schools. Membership was to be open to any person who acted as Principal in a Victorian Catholic school with secondary classes and who had final local responsibility for that institution. During any necessary absence of the Principal, the person who administered the school during this period was to be invited to attend meetings and vote on issues raised.

The Association, through its Executive, was to speak on behalf of the Principals of Victorian Catholic Secondary Schools. The Executive would be responsible for conducting general meetings of the Association and managing the interests of the Association between general meetings.

The development of the Association was aided by the regular correspondence between Mr Frank Rogan and the Catholic Secondary Schools Association of NSW and the ACT, the Secretary of which was Mr John Kennedy (who subsequently became a member and was twice elected President of the Association).

At the first General Meeting, the Principals' Association was asked for suggestions as to what form the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria might take. Fr Frank Shortis and Br Romuald O'Brien (later Fr Frank O'Brien) were invited to assist, and Fr Frank Shortis became the Representative on the newly formed Commission in August 1973.


In 1976 the first Conference was held at St Mary's College, Melbourne University, with 70 principals participating.
This Conference, led by Sr Carmel Leavy OP, addressed the theme "The Many Worlds of the Catholic School's Principal". Following the success of the first three-day Conference the Association has annually organised conferences on the following themes:

Principals Only Conferences


In the 1980s these conferences were open, first to Deputy Principals and then to teachers, administrators, Board members, priests, parents and students. From them developed the Catholic Education Conference, which is held annually in Melbourne, and which has contributed significantly to Catholic educational thinking in Australia.

In 1987 a Conference, for Principals only, was held at Parkville. The success of this venture has seen similar conferences held in subsequent years, first at Parkville and then at Marysville. The following themes have been addressed:

There was no conference held in 2000 as the first National Conference of Catholic Secondary Principals was held in Melbourne and hosted by the PAVCSS