125 Years of Catholic education in Kalgoorlie-Boulder

02 September 2021

The Catholic community of Kalgoorlie-Boulder celebrated a special Mass on Sunday, 29 August, commemorating 125 years of Catholic education in their region. 

Five Sisters of St Joseph returned to the city as special guests at the celebrations; Sr Dora Maguire, Sr Nola Goodwin, Sr Kathleen Hitchcock, Sr Margaret Culhane and Sr Frances Maguire had all taught at schools in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Sr Kathleen was the last religious sister to serve as principal of St Mary’s Primary, and Sr Frances was the religious sister to serve as principal of Prendiville College, which was amalgamated with Christian Brothers’ College to form John Paul College in 1984.

Sisters Dora Maguire, Nola Goodwin, Kathleen Hitchcock, Margaret Culhane and Frances Maguire with John Paul College Principal Bradley Hall and Fr Brennan outside St Mary’s Church, after the 125 Years of Catholic education in Kalgoorlie-Boulder Celebration Mass, 29 August 2021

Organising the celebrations was a joint effort by John Paul College, St Mary’s and St Joseph’s primary schools. 

The John Paul College choir and band provided music for the Mass, with students from all three schools ushering at the entrance to the Church, and staff from the schools assisting during Mass.  

John Paul College Certificate II Hospitality students teamed up with parishioners to prepare and serve  morning tea, which included a commemorative cake.

A graphic for the 125-years celebration poster was designed by JPC Teacher Chelsea Paynter.

Sam Dyne, is now in Year 12 at John Paul College, after attending St Mary’s in primary school and St Joseph’s for pre-primary, and attended the celebrations. 

“I think it is amazing that after all this time there is still such a strong presence of Catholic education in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and it is a testament  to the quality of education here,” he said.

“It was a pleasure to attend the Celebration Mass on Sunday to mark this milestone.”

John Paul College Head Girl Emily Coate and Head Boy Jameson Vodden lead the procession during Mass

The Sisters of St John of God arrived in Kalgoorlie in 1896, originally for the purpose of establishing a hospital. 

It didn’t take long for them to open a school in the then new St Mary’s Church, a building which still stands and serves as the Parish hall. 

St Mary’s Primary School now stands on the same location since 1900, while St Joseph’s School was moved to its current site in 1996, the third rebuild for the school, after cyclones destroyed the school’s buildings in 1903 and 1928.

References:  St Mary’s Kalgoorlie-Boulder 1902-2002 by Harry Argus; 
Heritage Council of WA – Places database – inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au 

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