The Marist Old Boys Association (MOBA) has been in existence since the school opened in 1949. Founded by Saint Marcellin Champagnat, a Marist priest in France in 1816, the order went by the names of the Petits Fre’res de Marie (Little Brothers of Mary) and Fratres Maristae a Scolis (FMS or the Marist Brothers of the Schools, the post-nominal letters of the Marist Brothers).
Marcellin’s desire to have brothers to teach the rural children grew after his visit to the bedside of a sixteen-year-old, Jean Baptiste Montagne whom St. Marcellin discovered knew nothing of his faith.
In Australia, the Marist Brothers schools started in 1872. In New Zealand, Marist education did not get off the ground until 1876.
On August 27th 1888, three Marist brothers, Harvey, Vincent and Alphonsus, arrived in Suva to begin a school for the children of Catholic Europeans. This was in response to Bishop Vidal’s request to Brother Theophane, the Brother Superior General in France.
On 7 September 1888, they began their school in a house, just above the Lilac Theatre in Waimanu Road. In 1889 they moved up the road to Suva Street, in Toorak.
At first only European boys were admitted but by 1897 Brothers Columbas and Claudius had begun a school for Indian boys and other races, known back then as the Indian School or the Cosmopolitan School.
This was located on the corner of Suva Street and Toorak Road. By 1936 this had developed into St Columbas School.In 1912, Brothers Augustine, Alphonsus and Loyola began secondary classes in St Felix College, also on the Suva Street property.
In 1936, after a considerable struggle with civil authorities, who opposed secondary education for locally born children, the Brothers were allowed to reopen their secondary classes to all races.
Therefore the Marist Brothers High School had its early beginnings in Suva Street, Toorak. The High School was later built at Bau Street in Flagstaff during 1948, and ready to begin the year there in 1949.