Our Leadership structure ensures College cohesion and enterprise through alignment of structures, policies and practices with the College Ethos.

Downlands is advised by a College Board, members of which are appointed by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart who have the ultimate responsibility for the College and set its future direction; our College Executive Leadership Team is responsible for the planning, strategic direction and management of the College and is supported by Middle and Senior School Team Leaders and Year Group Leaders, all of whom work with the Pastoral Care teams in each year level; and our Student Leadership takes on the responsibility of representing our students at the highest level.

Our Principal


Stephen McIllhatton took up the post of Principal at Downlands College in August 2011.

He was educated at the University of NSW completing a B.Sc., Dip.Ed., and Masters in Ed. Administration. Additional Theological qualifications were obtained from ACU. He began his career as a teacher and year level coordinator at Cleveland Street Boys High in Sydney, followed by 15 years at Waverley College in Sydney in a variety of positions: Head of Mathematics, Director of Administration, Deputy Headmaster (Curriculum) and finally Deputy Headmaster. He was appointed Principal of St Joseph's College, Melbourne, in 2000 and subsequently progressed to be an Education Consultant with the Catholic Education Office, Lismore.

Stephen has three children, all of whom have been educated in Catholic schools, with Christopher, the youngest, completing his education at Downlands.

Stephen observes:

"Downlands College prides itself on being a warm, kind and caring school as well as being disciplined and organised.
It has an outstanding record of academic success through expecting the best from its pupils. The school has a unique history, beautiful surroundings, and unequalled character. It is made up of people who are genuinely friendly, bright and energetic. The College is renowned for the way in which it looks after its pupils and is characterised by its strong Catholic ethos and MSC spirit which underpin everything we do."

"Our expectation is that all our pupils will be smartly dressed in the College uniform, punctual, courteous and civilised. We want them to have the confidence to be themselves, to enjoy school and each other's company and importantly, to have a sense of humour. While the traditional values of courtesy, discipline, organisation and mutual respect are held of everyone, we especially value love, courage, concern, compassion and understanding.

'We pursue academic rigour, we want our pupils to be enthusiastic about hard work and to play a full part in the broader aspects of school life, whether it be in sport, drama, music, social justice projects, community service, support for charities, or any one of the many other activities which are on offer. We also want them to enjoy their learning and to take responsibility for it.

"Our aim is simple: to treat every pupil as an individual, supporting them as they grow into mature, confident, resilient, well-rounded young people with strong relational skills who are prepared to make a difference where ever they journey.

"Welcome to our College!"


Mr Stephen McIllhatton
M.Ed(Admin), B.Sc., Dip.Ed., Dip.Theology, Cert.RE.

College Board

Downlands College is advised by a College Board, members of which are appointed by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) who have the ultimate responsibility for the College and set its future direction.

The MSC recently reviewed and revised the Constitutions of all four MSC schools to allow for changes to aspects of governance which involve a more inclusive model involving lay people. The Downlands Constitution explains how the College Board operates - click to read the Constitution

Briefly, the College Board is responsible to the corporate regulators (ASIC - ACNC) for legislative requirements and to the Non-State School Accreditation Board (NSSAB) for accreditation and registration. The Board approves College Policy through its four sub-committees (Ethos, Education, Finance and Audit, Risk Management) and provides advice to the Principal/MSC regarding strategic, financial, capital or educational changes envisioned for the College. The Board oversees the corporate governance of the College and while very interested in the day-to-day achievements/undertakings at Downlands, plays no role in managing the operational matters as they unfold in the normal course of operating a school. As an example, the Board would set the fee structure and approve the budget for the following year but would not intervene in curriculum, assessment or student management procedures. The Board expects the College to manage the education of students by following the policies it has approved, with all these policies reflective of and consistent with the Philosophy and Vision of Education in MSC schools. It is then the College’s role to set and implement procedures based on these policies.


2018 Board Members 

Mr Jon Wiedman

Appointed 2017


Mrs Julie Raitelli, Chair

Dip Ed, B Ed

School Principal 35 years


Dr Dorothy Andrews


Associate Professor, Education, USQ, Director of Leadership Research International (LRI/USQ)


Mrs Kate McLoughlin

B Ed (CQU), Grad Dip Religious Ed (ACU), ASDA (AMEB) Teachers

Director since May 2007


Mr Stephen McIllhatton

B Sc, Dip Ed, M Ed (Admin), Cert RE, Dip RE

School Principal in Victoria

Downlands College Principal from 1 August 2011


Mr Ian Mendes

BCom (Accounting) Hons, FCPA

Business Manager

Company Secretary


Fr Bob Irwin MSC

BA, M Ed, B Rel Stud, ACP, ATCL, CELTA

14 years as an MSC College Principal and previous staff member of Downlands


Mr Tom Khoo

B Pharm


Ms Kathy Doherty

Appointed 2017


Mr Jon Wiedman

Appointed 2017

Student Leadership


Student Leadership at Downlands is characterised by alignment of philosophy, process and practices with the MSC Vision for enhancing student growth, and is characterised by a focus on servant leadership as core, relationship building, gentleness and affirmation.

Our student leaders are committed to upholding MSC values and acting as role models for the rest of the student community. They are expected to stand with and for the charism and be able to articulate it in their own words. 

Numerous opportunities exist for students to develop leadership skills across all Year levels, whether this be through election to year level Student Representative Councils (SRC), active participation in liturgical celebrations, leadership in the co-curricular spheres of Sport, Performing Arts, Social Justice, Cattle show Team, Boarding houses or in Day houses.

Towards the end of Year 11, students participate in a specific Leadership Program which focuses on what it means to lead according to the Ethos, Vision and Mission of Downlands as a Catholic MSC school. This program is inclusive of physical activities requiring teamwork, and culminates in a process through which College Leaders are identified. The process aligns with the College Levels System. It requires nomination, initial voting, interview, presentation of speeches and final voting.