Small town school turns 100
ST JOSEPH'S School is a small country school within the Rockhampton Catholic Education Diocese, and was founded by the Sisters of St Joseph way back in 1917.
The blessing and opening of the school was performed by Archbishop James Duhig on 21st July 1917, hence why the celebrations are kicking off on the 21st July.
Attendance at the school started with 106 children, but grew when the school opened as a boarding school in 1920.
The original building was a two storey building with a 12 foot wide verandah on all sides. This school served the parish until a new school was opened in 1949 by Bishop Tynan. In 1958 an infant's school was added, with the final extensions in 1969 making the school what it is today.
Over the years the main building changed but always had the verandah which I can remember being strewn with school bags of all shapes and sizes. And of course with the heat of the west those verandahs were a blessing.
In 1964 the school progressed to include a High School but only for a short time. St Joseph's was run by the Order of St Joseph's until 1989 when lay teachers replaced them.
The first convent was opened in 1920 (which was a building transported from Nanago) and blessed by Archbishop Duhig, and it was with the opening of this building that St Joseph's became a boarding school.
Fire destroyed this convent in November 1944 and the new convent which most of us will remember was opened and blessed in March 1952, but sold in 1993 and is now a private residence in Garden Street.
The Mary Mackillop Multiputpose Centre which was opened by Principal Tim Franzmann sits on the site of the former convent. The centre is of course named after the founder of the Congregation of Sisters of St Joseph - Mary Mackillop who became Australia's first saint.
On July 21 & 22 celebrations will take place in Blackall starting with a Mass and unveiling of a Centenary Art piece, then two days of festivities will follow. I'm sure there will be many stories to tell and lots of reminiscing.
100 years is a huge milestone so, St Joey's as we affectionately call it would like as many past students, teachers and everyone involved over the years with the school to celebrate with us, so please pencil it in "Blackall on July 21 & 22”! Any memorabilia and photos you may have would be most welcome, and will be returned, copies of photos will suffice.