In 1945 the Reverend Harry Griffiths, who worked for the Methodist Inland Mission in Alice Springs, saw the need for a boarding facility for children of families living in remote areas in Central Australia who needed access to schools.
He and his wife established Griffiths House, on a site in the town centre, and for many years it became home for students from all over the Outback, including many young Aboriginal people.
In the late 1950's the Rev Fred McKay, successor to the Rev John Flynn as Superintendent of the Australian Inland Mission, lobbied the United Church in the Northern Territory to build and expand on this important start.
Together the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches embarked on a missionary venture to develop St Philip's College - a new, larger residential hostel which would one day become a full boarding school.
An ideal site - 22 acres of bush at the junction of the Charles and Todd Rivers and backing on to the Telegraph Station National Park - was secured and after six years of planning, construction began in 1964.
Fred McKay led the legendary work parties comprised of volunteers from all over Australia who travelled to Alice Springs, paying their own way and volunteering their expertise, time and labour, to turn a dream into a reality. This fantastic tradition continues today, with work parties arriving each mid-year holiday.
On 13 February 1965 the first boarders moved in to St Philip's College.
For the first 24 years, therefore, St Philip's College operated as a residential hostel only.
The College’s ninth Headmaster, Mr Christopher Tudor, arrived in 1986. He and the Council Chairman, Mrs Jan Heaslip, judged that the time was right to complete the original plan to turn St Philip’s College into a fully fledged independent boarding/day school, serving not only “bush” families, but also the growing population of Alice Springs.
The then College Council embraced the idea and three years of frantic, determined preparation and planning commenced, culminating in an extensive $2 million building program in 1988.
To this day there continues to be further development with the new landscaping underway near The Minnamurra Hall, Reception and Rivergum Cafe, plus the recent completion of the Science & Food Technology building and the new Rivergum Cafe.