Home > Our School > History > 1977-1981

1977-1981

The School

When the school first opened there were 324 students attending.  There was a 3/4/5 and a 5/6 composite class, 3 Kindergartens, two Year 1s, three Year 2s, one Year 3 and one Year 4 class.  In the first term there were 11 classes, but one teacher who was supposed to have less than 30 students ended up with 42 students as more enrolled, so in the second term another teacher came to the school taking some of the students in the 3/4/5 class.  On the first day of school some of the school books had't arrived so the students couldn't do much work for a while! When the school first began there was no portable class rooms just the main building, but later on many portable rooms were built.  Classes often joined with Mt Neighbour and Urambi because the area was new. Each classroom had wooden tables with nowhere to put their books so each child was given a plastic tub to store their books in, they kept this tub under their desks on the floor.

The first Mass in the new Parish was said in the hall at Mt Neighbour Primary School, next door, on 9 February 1975.  Later on the masses began to be said in St Thomas' School hall. It was only in 1984, that Masses were said in the newly constructed Church. The first baby baptised in the Parish was Bruce Paul Cutting on 16 March 1975. The first wedding celebrated in the Parish was Matylda Elizabeth Ciura to Theo Scholte on 3 July 1975. The first Conbfirmation celebration was held in Mt. Neighbour School hall on 21 November 1976. There were 9 boys and 9 girls confirmed on the day by Bishop John Aloysius Morgan.
There was a chapel in the school, which is now the computer lab.  Prayers and ceremonies were held in there every morning.  The computer server room was the Confessional. 

Uniform
It was compulsory for all students to wear the correct uniform in both summer and winter.  For the girl's summer uniform they wore a light brown tunic with a collar which was lined maroon.  The winter uniform was a light brown blouse, maroon pleated skirt and maroon jumper. A blue tie and brown socks (which had to be pulled up) and a belt complemented the outfit!. The boys wore grey!

Captains
House captains were elected by the students.  The Year 5 and 6 students who were running for the positions stood on stage and anyone who wanted to vote for the student raised their hand.  The person with the most votes won. One of the early students described the thrill of being elected one year and then standing again the following year and the embarrasment of having noone vote for you. Obviously long before the advent of secret ballots!

Recollections of the First Five Years

1975: The school was not yet built so baptisms were held at Father Kennedy's house.
1976: The building of the school began
1977: In January the school was completed, the school opened with 372 children attending
1978: The student Council began
1978: The children dressed up in scary costumes for Halloween
1978: The school population remained around 376 children
1979: The school's first national representatives were chosen - one in soccer and one in rugby union
1979: Students started learning languages. Across the grades students learnt Croation, Italian and Indonesian.
1980: The school's Instrumental Music Programme was introduced
1981: Student numbers increased dramatically to 635

Our Parish Priests

Father William Kennedy was our founder and built the Parish on a solid, caring Christian foundation. He was Parish Priest for twenty years before moving to St. Joseph's O'Connor. Father Kennedy developed a good pastoral relationship between the parish and the school The children of the school had a great love and respect for him. He is an excellent adminstrator, which became apparent in his building of the school, the church and finally the presbytery. We can thank Father Kennedy for his vision and ability to see things through to the finish.

 

Father Greg Beath arrived on 1 August 1994 to a brand new presbytery, which he furnished very tastefully and opened it to everyone in the community. Father Greg brought with him his own special gifts of hospitality, ecumanism, love of his fellow priests, love for the needy and the ability to reach the your in their everyday lives. He gave yearly retreats to Mother Teresa's sisters not only in Australia but also in other pats of the world. Many visiting speakers and other denominational ministries also challenged the parish community. Father Greg organised the building of the Remembrance Wall in the back garden of the church; he introduced a new sound system, fans and new heating; the children's play area and electrified the bell. He made a small kitchen area for morning teas which promoted a community atmosphere. Sails were erected for shelter at the front of the church.

A garden was built outside the church to stop the glare from the carpark entering the church and this garden was dedicated to Steve and Noni Wilson who have worked so hard for the whole community.

 

Father Phil Buckley arrived in early August 2000. Father Phil's first duty was to organise a roster system to facilitate the smooth running of the church. This proved to be very effective. Father Phil shared his parish duties with being Vicar to the Priests of the Diocese. Duting his brief time in the parish, Father Phis brought a sense of stillness and contemplative presence to all.

Father Chris Kirwin was ordained a priest at Christ the King Church, Taralga, NSW on 31 August 1978. He arrived in the Parish of St Thomas the Apostle in July 2002 after spending 6 years as Parish Priest at Kaleen. Father Chris celebrated his 25th anniversary as a priest in 2003 with the celebration of Mass at St. Thomas' Church. Father Chris always wears a welcoming smile, he is gentle and caring, he has a terrific rapport with the children and visits the school often. He places great importance on keeping the connection between school and parish alive and always welcomes opportunities for both to interact. Father Chris loves to socialise with people and has built a strong relationship with the people of the parish. Father Chris nurtures a sense of deep faith and reflection through his celebration of the Eucharist. His friendly smile and welcoming presence are appreciated by all.

Back to Top