St Joseph’s Nudgee College is an Irish Christian Brothers boys’ boarding school in Brisbane. It was established in 1891 to provide the children of Irish Catholics living in regional and remote Queensland and northern New South Wales with access to an education that would act as a vehicle for socio-economic advancement. The first decades of the college’s existence were nevertheless defined by two competing, sometimes contradictory imperatives. An often-belligerent determination to retain an Irish identity existed side by side with an awareness that a ‘ghetto mentality’ would hinder the socio-economic advancement of Queensland’s Catholics. The balancing act that this necessitated was particularly evident in the College’s mixed reaction to the outbreak of war in 1914 and the subsequent reticence to celebrate Anzac Day between 1916 and 1939. This article explores the College’s response through its Annuals (Year Books) and places it in the context of the Australian Irish Catholic experience of war and commemoration.