In 1978, six southern independent secondary schools united to provide sporting competitions in swimming, cross country, athletics and weekly sport for students at their respective schools. Namely Marianist College Frankston, Stella Maris Frankston (In 1979 these two Colleges amalgamated to become John Paul College Frankston), Padua College Mornington, St James College East Bentleigh, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College (OLSH) Bentleigh and St Johns Regional College Dandenong. Hence the beginnings of the association.
The early association began to grow with St Francis Xavier College Beaconsfield joining the competition in 1981.
Further growth continued with the inclusion of St Paul’s College Woodleigh (later to become Woodleigh School) and Beaconhills College Pakenham in 1986, Nazareth College Noble Park North in 1988 and St Leonard’s College Cornish Campus in 1989. During this time Padua College also opened its Rosebud Campus (1987) and St Francis Xavier College opened its Cranbourne Campus (1987).
In 1987 the association was officially and formally recognised as the Southern Independent Schools (SIS). As such appropriate structures were put in place including annual SIS Presidency and the role of a Secretary. The SIS had a vision beyond sporting activities and as such the opportunity to expand cultural opportunities was recognised with the introduction of a Debating Championship and TheatreSports™ Championship. Later, in 1990 a Chess Championship was incorporated.
OLSH Bentleigh as the only all girls’ College competing in the SIS left the competition at the end of 1992. Flinders Christian Community College became members in 1992 and St Peters College Cranbourne joined the association in 1994 (St Peters College formerly being the Cranbourne campus of St Francis Xavier College). This was quickly followed by Maranatha Christian School Endeavour Hills joining in 1995.
Now with twelve member schools Beaconhills College, Flinders Christian Community College, John Paul College, Maranatha Christian School, Nazareth College, Padua College, St Francis Xavier College, St James College, St Johns Regional College, St Leonard’s College, St Peters College and Woodleigh School, the opportunity to form two divisions for the major sporting carnivals was created. To complete the cultural activities calendar an Art, Technology & Design Exhibition and a Performing Arts Concert were included in 1998.
In 2003 both Beaconhills College and St Francis Xavier College opened additional campuses in Berwick, and in 2006 Maranatha Christian School opened a campus at Officer.
Beaconhills College withdrew its Pakenham Campus at the end of 2008, joining the Gippsland Independent Schools (GIS).
Term Rally Days were replaced by a weekly sport competition in 2009 offering the following sport for Junior, Intermediate and Senior girls and boys:- Baseball, Basketball, Cricket, Football, Handball, Netball, Soccer, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis and Volleyball. Touch Rugby and further sport for juniors was added during Term 3 from 2016.
In 2010 the association welcomed two new schools, Balcombe Grammar Mt Martha and ICA Casey College Narre Warren, and in the same year Maranatha Christian School withdrew its Endeavour Hills Campus. However, in 2011 this was reduced to thirteen schools with the closure of ICA Casey College. In the same year the Carrum Downs Campus of Flinders College withdrew its membership and St Peters College opened its Clyde Nth Campus.
In 2012 Berwick Grammar Officer and Cornish College (formerly St Leonard’s College Bangholme) were welcomed and St Francis Xavier opened its Officer campus. At the conclusion of 2012, SIS farewelled Beaconhills College Village Campus.
In 2014 Padua College increased the number of their campuses to three with the opening of Tyabb and a Public Speaking Championship and a Teen Chef Championship was introduced to the SIS Cultural Calendar.
A further extension to the cultural events occurred in 2015 with a Book in a Day Championship and at the close of the year, SIS farewelled the Cardinia Campus of Maranatha Christian School.
2016 was a prosperous year for the association with the appointment of a Cultural Co-ordinator and further weekly sport was included during Term 3 for junior students.
A lawn bowls championship was a successful addition to the sporting calendar in 2017 & the Carrum Downs Campus of Flinders Christian Community College returned to SIS.
The weekly sport competition was enhanced with the introduction of indoor cricket for junior & intermediate girls & touch rugby at the junior boys level.
In 2019 we welcomed Casey Grammar to the association.
Hillcrest Christian College joined the association in twenty-twenty which was a challenging year for all with the Covid-19 pandemic & whilst most of the term 1 activities were completed, some of the cultural activities for the remainder of the year were held virtually.
A founding school member St James College departed from the association due to their amalgamation with St Bede’s College.
We will welcome Bayside Christian College into SIS from 2021 & their membership stabilises the total school/campus number at 20.
We acknowledge 12 years of professional leadership by our Executive Secretary, Sharon Burke between 2008 – 2020 & extend our very best wishes for the future.
SIS currently has fourteen member schools with four of these schools having multiple campuses. It is an association which boasts a rich legacy of sound leadership from previous & current Principals’ & has developed from enthusiastic former Secretaries’. Acknowledgement is given to Ray Clausen, Peter Van Wees, Tim Livingstone, Carolyn Ferguson, Luke Mills, Leanne Palmer, Gabriel Norris (Cultural Co-ordinator) & Sharon Burke.
The current Acting Executive Secretary is Jess Hosking & the Cultural Co-ordinator is Nadia Conn.
The objective of the SIS is to ensure that the sport and cultural life is conducted efficiently and in a spirit of co-operation and fairness.