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School History

ST JOSEPH’S PRIMARY SCHOOL - MURGON

In 1936, Father James Cullen, the Parish Priest of Murgon and the surrounding district, asked some Sisters to teach in a school which he would build in Murgon.  Presentation Sisters, Mother Ursula and Mother Patrick Madden came up to see Murgon and the district.  Father Cullen told them that as well as teaching the children in the school in Murgon, the Sisters could go to the other towns in the Parish on a Sunday, to take children for Religion lessons after Mass.  Mother Ursula and Mother Patrick promised to send some Sisters in 1937, and Father Cullen and his parishioners built a Convent and a school for them.  The Convent building was a two-storey one, and part of it was set up for the accommodation of boarders.

On 10 January 1937, the Right Reverend James Duhig, Archbishop of Brisbane, blessed and opened the convent and the school buildings.  The first day of school at St Joseph’s was 27 February 1937.  On that day forty-five children came to the school.  There were four Presentation Sisters on the staff – Mother Jarlath Treacy, Mother Patrick Madden, Sister John Cormican and Sister Malachy Mountford.  Sister Joseph Halberstaedter came to the school during March.  During 1937, sixteen more children came to the school, so by the end of the year there were sixty-one pupils.

In 1937, the only buildings in the school grounds were the presbytery, a wooden Church, the Convent and one school building.

In  Brisbane the Presentation Sisters taught children in primary and secondary classes at St Rita’s in Clayfield.  Some of the girls were boarders.  World War II began in 1939 and by February 1942 the Sisters decided it would be safer to take the girls to an inland town.  As Murgon convent had rooms for boarders, St Rita’s pupils were moved up here with some of the Sisters who taught them.  As there was not enough room in the convent itself, some boarders were accommodated in a house on the corner of Angel Avenue and Gore Street.  This house was only removed in the mid 1980’s.

These secondary classes taught at St Joseph’s kept the name of St Rita’s College for 1942 and most of 1943.  However, once there was a secondary school at St Joseph’s, children from Murgon and the surrounding district became pupils.  During 1943 it was realised that even when St Rita’s pupils moved back to Brisbane there would still be enough pupils to attend, so by the end of 1943 the secondary part of the school was registered as Rosary College.

From 1964 to 1970, children from Rosary College were able to attend the Murgon State High School for Home Craft, Art and Manual Arts courses.

In December 1970, as a result of small numbers of pupils, as well as a shortage of teachers, Rosary College was closed.  The boarding school was closed at the same time.

The beginning of 1987 saw the coming of the Marist Brothers to the School community.  Brother Cletus Drew was principal and also taught Year 7.  Brother Paul Turner taught Year 6.

In 2012, our 75th year, St Joseph’s School had an enrolment of 165 students from Prep to Year 7, with over one third being indigenous children.