In 1892, the idea of a Catholic College emerges with the proposal of the Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Fr. Christophe-Étienne Bonjean.
Due to the regulations that prevailed at the time when the grand plans were set in motion, a meeting with St Benedict’s College Colombo 13 was called to obtain necessary assistance until St. Joseph’s College Colombo was declared open in 1896. It took 4 years for this hallowed institution to turn a new chapter in Catholic Education since the idea of was conceived. St. Joseph’s College is grateful to St Benedict’s for their services when needed that resulted in the new Era of Catholic education in Sri Lanka.
Thereafter 27 acres of Land called the ‘uplands’ was bought by the Archbishop for this project, from the government. Later however, this land was bought back by the government with compensation, and the Catholic Church bought a land at Maradana in Darley Road from an Egyptian called Arabi Pasha for the College building.
On 12 December 1894 the foundation stone was laid by the Papal Delegate for South-Asia Rev. Msgr, Ladislaus Zaleski. In 1896, on 2 March 1896, St. Joseph’s College Colombo was declared open with 211 students in the school proper and 96 students in the preparatory school with Very Rev. Fr. Charles Collin as the First Rector. In November 1896, the College building was formally declared open by Governor of Ceylon West Redgeway and was blessed by Most Rev. Msgr, Zaleski, in the presence of the Archbishop Rt. Rev. Fr. Melizan OMI.
The Rector‘s office, the College office and the classrooms were all housed in the first building – the Clock Tower building of the College. The College Magazine was started in 1905. The Bonjean Hall was the third building to be completed. Fr. Charles Lytton, the second Rector, planned and supervised the building project of the Bonjean Hall.
Fr. Emil Nicholas OMI was the third Rector appointed in 1910. To Fr. Emil Nicholas goes the credit of primary work on the first Religious Association of the College – the Guild of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In 1914, there was the appointment of the great educationist, scientist and efficient administrator Fr. Maurice J. Legoc OMI the fourth Rector. In 1933 the present Primary building – originally named “The Maurice Block” was constructed. The exterior facade of this building was an exact copy of the Bonjean Hall was declared open by Most Rev. Fr. Marques.
Anthem – St. Joseph’s College