The first effort to establish a Catholic college within the University of Sydney was made at a meeting in the old St Mary’s Cathedral in 1854. The government promised a pound for pound subsidy up to a 20,000 pound limit, provided at least 10,000 pounds were raised by public subscription. Remarkably, this was met in six months from July 1857.
The Act of Incorporation was passed on 15 December, 1857 in the recently established New South Wales Parliament, and the College came into existence with Proclamation by the Governor in July 1858.
The Act established a body corporate under the name of ‘Rector and Fellows St John’s College.’ The College is governed under a statute of the New South Wales Parliament, the St John’s College Act 1857. The Act, as currently in force, may be found here.