St Mark's Day and Its Origins

On St Mark’s Day, we celebrate our eponymous saint. Traditionally, St Mark’s Day has been celebrated as close as practically possible to 25 April, believed to be the day of his death.

Saint Mark the Evangelist was born in the year 5 AD in Cyrene, present Libya, Africa. He is well known for being the author of the Gospel According to Mark, and the founder and also Bishop of the Church of Alexandria, Egypt. Saint Mark passed away in the year 68 AD. He is recognised as one of the early Bishops who became Saints.

The winged lion is the symbol of Saint Mark, of St Mark’s Anglican Community School, and the city of Venice. There are a variety of explanations that link Saint Mark to the winged lion, including:

  • the Gospel of Mark narrates the greatest number of prophecies that Christ made about his own resurrection and the Lion would represent, by virtue of its strength, precisely the resurrection;
  • the Lion would be the symbol of Mark because his Gospel begins with the voice of St John the Baptist with “a loud voice in the desert”, like the roaring of a Lion;
  • the angel who appeared to Saint Mark was in the form of a winged Lion.

Saint Mark is linked to education. In 49 AD, Saint Mark the Evangelist founded the Church of Alexandria and became the first Bishop of Alexandria. He is honoured as the founder of Christianity in Africa. He also set up a Christian school in Alexandria.

We celebrate St Mark’s Day now in a remarkably similar way to the way it was first celebrated in 1986. We will begin our namesake’s day with a whole school service. In 1986, the whole school constituted approximately 200 students, who fitted into the old canteen area (currently the Busselton building).

After the service, the whole school walked to Mawson Park for a sausage sizzle and games, and then a runathon was conducted to raise money in support of a student being educated overseas.

On St Mark’s Day in 2023, we will start our day with a Christian Communion Service in our whole school gathering space, the Quadrangle. Our Primary School students will later be involved in a Lapathon, including fun activities, on our School oval to raise money for a variety of charities that the Primary School wishes to support this year. Our Secondary School students will walk to Mawson Park, where they will then participate in the Interhouse Cross Country Carnival.

A religious service and a run of some sort have been the constants of St Mark’s Day celebrations since our School began – happy 37th St Mark’s Day!


St Mark's Day commemorates the death of Venice’s patron saint in 68AD. Traditionally St Mark’s Day has been celebrated as close as practically possible to April 25.

In 1986, the first St Mark’s Day was a simple affair with a service for the whole school in the old canteen area where students sat on the ground, and the service was taken by Reverend Len Firth, who was the visiting minister. The whole school (around 200 students) then walked to Mawson Park for a sausage sizzle, followed by games. A runathon was conducted around the streets and used as a fundraiser for our sponsored student, Puspa, who was being educated in Nepal.

From 1986 to 1991, the format remained similar, with a service conducted in the morning (after 1988 by Father Lewis Firman, the first School Chaplain), followed by a runathon and tabloid sports at Mawson Park. All monies raised from sponsorships of the runners went to Puspa for her ongoing education.

In 1991 a change occurred. All high school students were bussed into St George's Cathedral in formal winter uniform for a full eucharist service with the School Dance Group and School Choirs performing. Then they returned to school, changed into sports uniforms and competed in a fun run around the streets. Primary students held their own service at school with a fun run around the oval with parents participating.

In 2005, the St Mark’s Day Service changed to being held on the school grounds. A service was held in the open, followed by a fun run around the streets of Hillarys. In subsequent years, the full service has been held in the Pavilion with an emphasis on less formality as students wore sports uniforms. The fun run has always taken place around the neighbouring streets for Secondary students and on the Secondary Oval for Primary students.

The location of where the service has been conducted has changed from year to year, possibly depending on the weather and when St Mark’s Day was actually celebrated.

In 2014, the concept of students being actively engaged in providing a service began after the service formalities and the fun run. Examples included making and painting benches and tables for use around the School, beautifying the sand dunes by picking up rubbish and planting hardy vegetation, car washing for a donation, making cupcakes to be sold for a designated charity, painting House banners on material for use at carnivals, making paper yellow daffodils for Daffodil Day and team building activities in House Groups.

In 2017, the format changed once again, with a service in the morning, followed by a fun run, and then students set up stalls and activities for the rest of the School to enjoy. Activities included plate smashing, badge making, dunking machine, sausage sizzle, bouncy castles, plant stall, cake stall, face painting and tug of war. All monies raised were allocated to a charity.

Charities supported by these activities were for Puspa, whom the School sponsored so that she could attend school in Nepal.

In recent years, funds raised from St Mark’s Day have been used to support charitable organisations or those in need, including St Mark’s College in South Africa, St Michael’s Secondary School in Tanzania, Anglicare, Salvation Army and All Saints Preschool Samoa.