St Augustine's is the oldest continuing Marist school in Queensland. The Marist Brothers established the College in the growing town of Cairns in 1930 when the northern Queensland gold rushes were still a living memory. Its first members were three Brothers and ninety-six students.
The College grew quickly, doubling its staff and enrolment within a year. It soon established a reputation for academic achievement - presenting students for both Scholarship and Junior from its first year, and enrolling students for the Senior Certificate as one of only a handful of schools outside of Brisbane doing this at the time - as well as for its sports success, its cultural activities, and its strong spirit. By 1938 a new classroom wing building had been erected.
The shortages and the threats of World War 2 provided special challenges for the College and the boarders - then, most of the enrolment - temporarily moved to Lake Barrine on the Atherton Tableland in 1942. After the war, pressure for boarding and day places continued, particularly during two periods of Brother Gildas's principalship in the 1950s and 1960s.
By the 1960s, despite the gradual addition of further buildings it was clear that there needed to be a massive building programme. An ambitious master plan was implemented in the 1970s which saw new classrooms, dormitories, hall, swimming pool, administration wing, and Brothers' monastery. Further land was purchased and the Design and Technology Centre built.
The 1980s and 1990s saw considerable development of the College's curriculum, the expansion of staff, the further upgrade of facilities and development of the grounds, and the consolidation of tradition. During the last decade, St Augustine’s has enjoyed unparalleled academic success, and considerable expansion of both its cultural and sporting programmes. Major capital developments have included the construction of Lennon Hall, McLaughlin Theatre and the Gildas Centre, as well as major ICT upgrades. The College is now in its fourth quarter-century as vibrant, contemporary educational institution.