The original façade of the building was built by the Royal Coffee Palace Company Limited. It was opened in November 1887 and was known as the Mentone Coffee Palace. The Coffee Palace was the social centre of the town, situated on the corners of Mentone Parade, Florence Street and Como Parade. It is also near Mentone station (formerly known as Balcombe Road Station until 1884) and is surrounded by the local shops.
In the 1890s due to competition with Mentone Hotel and the Depression, the Coffee Palace could no longer be run. In 1894 it fell into the hands of the Mercantile Bank of Australia, and the name of the building was changed to Como House.
After this the Coffee Palace was only used occasionally for varying purposes.
The Brigidine Sisters bought the Coffee Palace in mid-July 1904 for £2,050, considering the actual cost of the building and furniture, excluding land, was £25,500.
On the 7 August 1904 the Brigidine Convent School was officially opened and blessed by Archbishop Thomas Carr, and classes began the next day.
On opening, the school had 3 pupils enrolled in the Convent School and 25 pupils enrolled in St. Patrick's Parish Primary which was located in the Church. The school also began taking boarders in 1905. Boarders and students of primary school age have been phased out since, the final primary class being in 1978.
In the 1930s the school's name was changed to Kilbreda College, the name coming from the Gaelic Cill - church or community and Breda - Brigid. Therefore, Kilbreda means Church or Community of Saint Brigid.Mother Margaret Mary Murphy 1904-1915
Mother Berchmans Foley
(1916–1926)Mother Margaret Mary Bourke
(1927–1965)Sister Barbara Mathews
(1966–1971)Sister Pius Kennedy
(1972–1973)Sister Marietta Rea
(1974–1978)Sister Rosemarie Joyce
(1979–1980)Sister Catherine Kelly
(1984)Sister Mary Dalton
(1985–1995)Mrs Carmel Smart
(1995)Sister Angela Ryan
(1981-1983/1996-1999)Sister Helen Toohey
(1999–2006)Ms Mary Stack
(principal, 2007-2015)Mrs Teresa Lincoln & Ms Nicole Mangelsdorf (2016 - present)
Most Brigidine schools follow the same core values, motto and school symbols.
The Brigidine Schools' symbols are:Brigid's Cross -The kind of cross St. Brigid used when teaching about the Catholic faith. It is made from woven reeds.
The Oak Tree - St. Brigid's monastery in Tullow, is called Kildare. Kildare meaning 'the church of the oak'. Many Brigidine schools grow an oak tree from an acorn taken from one of the oak trees in Tullow.
The Lamp of Learning - represents the light of Christian faith
School Badge - was designed by the Irish College of Heraldry. The large cross of diamonds is taken from the badge of Bishop Daniel Delany, the Bishop who founded the Brigidine Sisters in 1807. The middle diamond contains an image of the lamp of learning, and the image of St. Brigid's cross is contained in the top section.
As the school expanded Kilbreda developed school houses and as more students joined the school the number of houses increased. The housing system was started on 2 May 1934 with the three houses:Kilbreda - green - to honour St. Brigid
Lisieux - red - to honour St. Therese
Padua - fawn - to honour St. Anthony
In 1945 the house Lourdes was added to the housing system making the houses:Kilbreda - green
Lisieux - red
Padua - fawn
Lourdes - gold - to honour Our Lady of Lourdes
1963 saw the addition of two more teams, Alacoque and Delany. So the houses present in 1963 were:Kilbreda - green
Lisieux - red
Padua - fawn/white
Lourdes - gold
Alacoque - light blue - to honour Mother Alacoque Bourke, the founder of the convent school
Delany - dark blue - to honour Daniel Delany, the founder of the Brigidine Sisters.
These school houses were kept till 2006 when they were changed to:Brigid - green - named after one of the patron saints of Ireland St Brigid who hence the name of the brigidine schools
Kildare - blue - means "place of the oak". It is where Brigid established her first monastery.
Delany - gold - Bishop Daniel Delany refounded the Brigidine Order in 1887 to help educate the community.
Tullow - red - where Bishop Daniel Delany refounded the Brigidine order.
Since its opening, Kilbreda's uniform has changed a number of times. One of the latest changes was made in 2004 when the long kept 'Candy Striper' summer uniform was replaced. It was named so because of its resemblance to the candy striper uniform, Kilbreda's having white, green and red vertical stripes. The new dress is green with green and red pin stripes in a tartan-like pattern. In 2010 the old green jumper was replaced with a ruby red jumper. The summer uniform also consists of the "straw hat" or green sports cap, short fawn socks and pair of lace-up brown school shoes.
There was also an adjustment made to the winter uniform in 2010; the fawn blouse was replaced by a cream button-up and the bottle green tie was removed from the uniform completely. The winter uniform consists of fawn tights or knee-high fawn socks, a green and red tartan skirt and blazer with the new ruby jumper with brown lace-up shoes.
In 2015 a new summer, winter and sports uniform was introduced. The previously standing green and red school colours were replaced with a charcoal grey and a deep maroon.
Facilities available for students include:Four Tennis courts
Sports oval and equipment
Mary Dalton Hall
Drama rooms with costume department
Library with VCE study room, fiction area, non fiction area, newspapers, a computer lab, viewing rooms and a silent reading room.
Maths Resource Room
3 Computer Labs
The canteen named 'The Healthy Bite'
Four science labs, including a Physics room
Food Tech classrooms, one prac and one theory
Students at Kilbreda are encouraged to participate in a wide range of activities such as team sports, the annual Athletics carnival, Swimming Carnivals, Book Clubs, Public Speaking, Debating, Justice and Democracy, Peer support and many more actitivites.
Kilbreda College, Mentone is one of ten schools governed by Kildare Ministries. The other nine are:St. Joseph's College, Echuca, Victoria (1886)
Marian College, Ararat, Victoria (1889)
Brigidine College, Indooroopilly, Queensland (1929)
Brigidine College, St. Ives, New South Wales (1954)
Killester College, Springvale, Victoria (1955)
Clonard College, Geelong West, Victoria (1956)
Marian College, Sunshine West, Victoria (1958)
Kildare College, Holden Hill, South Australia (1966)
Star of the Sea College, Brighton, Victoria (1883)
The Skipping Girl Sign used by the vinegar brand was originally modelled on Catherine Minogue, later Sister Felicitas, a teacher of Kilbreda. Her brother made the original sketch, sent it in for a competition, won, and the image was used for the brand.A View from the Tower Kilbreda 1904-2004, Margaret Underwood