Land sales in the Coorparoo area began in 1856, with development gradually spreading through the locality. The first school in the area had been established in 1876 and by 1888 the population had grown to 2000. Residents tended to establish their homes along the main thoroughfares of Logan Road and Old Cleveland Rd, with wealthier members of the community building their homes on the hilltops, particularly the Cavendish Rd ridgeline. The 1893 floods inundated the area and caused land sales to slow and the locality remained semi-rural until 1915, when the extension of the tramline to Stones Corner helped the population expand.
The Catholic parish of Coorparoo and Ipswich Road was established in March 1913. It was the first parish to be created by Archbishop James Duhig who recognised the need for a Catholic Church in Brisbane's south-eastern district. The 1920s saw the expansion of Duhig’s plan to establish schools across Brisbane where “Christian brothers and sisters [could] train the children religiously and give them as good a secular education as they could get anywhere in the land”. With this in mind Duhig invited the Sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as the Loreto sisters, to establish a school in Brisbane. The Loreto order had been established in the southern states of Australia since 1875, but this was their first expansion north.
In 1927 Archbishop Duhig purchased 3 acres, 1 rood, 16 perches and 3/10 of a perch on Cavendish Road from Edward Deshon, including ‘Kemendine’, the former residence of the Deshon family. The building was converted into a convent and parish school and Loreto College was officially opened on 26 January 1928, with six pupils. By the following year forty students were enrolled at the school. Though the focus of education was on their secondary school, a primary division took both female day students and boarders, as well as a few younger boys. Like most Catholic boarding schools of the time, the accommodation for boarders consisted of not much more than a few rooms in the convent.
In 1929, Alice Cummins, a past pupil of the Loreto order, gave the sisters a casket ticket that happened to win £5000. Hennesy, Hennesy & Co. architects were contracted to design a new school building with the proceeds. Built by S.S. Carrick, construction began in 1930, and the Casket building was opened in 1931. The construction of the building consumed the majority of the casket ticket winnings, at a cost of £4750.
In 1942 the Australian Army commandeered Loreto Convent as a camp hospital and the Loreto sisters, with their students, were temporarily evacuated to Glen Innes until the end of the war.
The substantial administration wing facing Cavendish road was constructed in 1953 and was opened by Archbishop Duhig on the 23 May 1954. During the 1960s properties adjacent to the school were purchased to accommodate the increasing number of students.
In 1976 the convent, which was the former ‘Kemendine’ residence, was demolished due to white ant infestation and a new two-storey religious education centre was erected in 1977. Consisting of a small triangular chapel, a larger section containing classrooms and a chaplain’s flat, the religious education centre contains a stained glass window designed by artist Stephen Moor. The building was named in honour of a prominent sister of the Loreto order, Mary Gonzaga Barry. The architect made use of wrought iron and timber from ‘Kemendine’ in the new construction. Cedar from the staircase of the old house was used to create the religious education centre’s altar, lectern, crucifix and chairs.