Lucas Glasspool, Emily Frank and Emma Smith look the part on Foundation Day.St Michael’s Primary School recently celebrated its 125thFoundation Day.
Nanjing Night Net

Learn more about the history of St Michael’sas written by the students:

St Michael’s Catholic Church was built in 1888 and opened onFebruary 17,1889.

The altar in the church was made of wood, with a large cross on it with the initials I.H.S. on it.

From every part of the town you could see the church with its simple cross upon it.

The original building of the church was actually brick.

The iron roof has now been replaced with a tiled roof and the building has been painted.

St Michael’s Mittagong became a parish in 1917.

It belonged to the Diocese of Sydney until 1951, when the Wollongong Diocese was formed.

The first official Parish Priest was Fr P Tuomey. Our present Parish Priest is Fr Sean Cullen.

A Catholic school was first in operation in Mittagong in 1862, run by a lay teacher called Miss Lyons.

The school was held in the back of a weatherboard building, which was also used as a Church.

There were 22 children in attendance. However, by 1884 when Mother Mary MacKillop came to visit the area, there was no functioning school operating.

The Sisters of St Joseph decided in 1891, to move to Mittagong to provide Catholic education to the children of the area.

Sr Mary Alphonsus was the first nun to minister here. They opened a convent in a small cottage and took in boarders.

Because there was no school building, the classes were taught in St Michael’s church during the 1890s.

The older catholic children had to attend the original Mittagong Public School in Queen Street.

The Catholic Ordo records that in 1897, there were 80 children on the roll and there were three Sisters teaching the students.

They were Sister Claude, Sister Clare and Sister Finbar. While they taught in the church, the school of St Joseph was in process of being built.

The Archbishop of Sydney at the time, Cardinal Patrick Moran expressed his wishes by saying,

“It would be a great blessing to see a school firmly established and flourishing in Mittagong.”

St. Joseph’s Convent School was built in 1900. A substantial sandstone structure was built from the Draper building materials, with the foundation stone laid in September of that year.

The school officially opened in February 1901.

Over the years, as more children were requiring boarding residences, the Sisters purchased different convent buildings, one being the convent named San Jose, which Mother Mary, now known as St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, visited.

In 1920, the children were accommodated in two classrooms at St Joseph’s, which were at the Eastern end of ourcurrent school.

The children that went to St Joseph’s school, could not start until they were about the age of seven or eight years of age.

The main room of the school was for classes, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. This room had a stage at one end, joining the infants room, but separated by a wall, with a door at each end.

This room no longer has a stage. Years later it was converted into our current library.

The only heating that they would have had, was a small wood heater. Fr Purcell (Parish Priest) often took the boys out to the bush to collect wood, as they would take turns to stoke the fires.

To meet the needs of the large number of boarding students staying with the Sisters of St Joseph, a two storey boarding residence and convent was built on the corner of Alice and Alfred Streets in the mid-1920s.

In 1972 the boarding school closed down after 45 years of operation.

During this period, the school changed names from St Joseph’s to St Michael’s School, to reflect the link with the local parish.

Our school continues to provide education for day students with a present roll count of 170 children.

Dalia Caceres, Isabella Mazzeo, Ruby Newton and Amber Wirz.Year Six Students, St Michael’s Primary School Mittagong.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.