The Marist Brothers arrived in Australia in 1872 at the invitation of the Archbishop of Sydney.
The Brothers in Australia currently operate as two Provinces (administrative units) with centers in Sydney and Melbourne. The Sydney province comprises New South Wales and Queensland, and is also involved in the work in the District of Melanesia in the Pacific. Melbourne comprises works in the southern and western states and also in Melanesia.
The principal thrust of the Marist ministry in Australia has been primary and secondary education, as part of the Australian catholic school system. In keeping with the wishes of the founder, the early schools were established in poorer parishes in Sydney. Foundations were soon made in country towns, and to provide education for more remote country students the Brothers also established boarding colleges.
The Marist schools were initially staffed almost solely by Brothers, but in more recent times lay people have come to fill all roles in Marist schools and are integral partners in the mission.
In 1896 the Brothers began their work in social welfare. The first project was St Vincent's Boys Home where the Brothers worked in partnership with the Society of St Vincent de Paul to provide education and trade training for boys. The Home underwent many changes over the years in keeping with changing legislation and social welfare policy. This work continues to-day in a very different form as Marist Youth Care.
In 1938 the Brothers in Australia took their first steps in missionary work when they were invited to establish a school in the Solomon Islands. The missionary work continues to-day in the Solomon Islands, Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.
The Brothers of the province are currently involved in a wide range of ministries:
- Primary and secondary education
- Tertiary education
- Education administration
- Social welfare
- Juvenile Justice
- Restorative Justice
- Religious education in state schools
- Parish work