Catholic School

In the Nepean Times on 10 August 1961 it stated that the Roman Catholic School closed in 1870 and it was not until 1880 that a convent school opened. The records in the NSW Archives Office for the Roman Catholic School at South Marys for the 19th Century range from 1868 to 1882, In 1868 there was a request from the Certified Denominational Roman Catholic (Boys) School at St Marys for aid in purchasing text books.

Mr Beston on 19 February 1876 requested a promotion from the Roman Catholic Boys school. He reported that the numbers had increased to 102. The application was denied. In December of the same year he again asked to be promoted. Mr Beston had obtained the level 11A on 1 February 1871 and that he had been a Principal Teacher for the last 10 years under the Council of Education in two large Denominational Schools, Parramatta Street and St Marys. He had been appointed to St Marys in April 1875. By November 1876 the attendance was 204, which was four times greater than at his appointment. The highest class was 4th class. The application was again refused.

A request was made the following year, February 1877 for the full salary of 132 pounds per annum. The letter also comments that he has been a widower for the last half a year. Miss Mary Fay also had problems and applied for a leave of absence because of “nervous indigestion”. The Medical Certificate recommended a trip to Queensland for a month. The school was growing and on 10 July 1877 the Girls school applied for an additional pupil teacher as they had 154 girls.

By October 1879 the average daily attendance was 211.8 and Mr H Ryan, Chairman of the Local Board applied for another pupil teacher. The school consisting of 1 teacher, 1 assistant and three pupil teachers. It does not say whether this was for the Boys or Girls School.

The inspection report on 16-18 March 1880 states in the Military Drill section that, “Instruction is correctly and properly given.” The St Marys Girls Department Roman Catholic has now 180 girls and it is recommended that they be given an additional pupil teacher.

An application was made that the school be closed during the “Fancy Fair” to be held in the Cathedral during 11th-14th April 1882. The Inspector did not agree as “closing will entail the loss of a weeks fees to the department.” Do not know if this was allowed or not. Mr Beston left the school on 30 September 1882. Joseph Lawler also resigned and Miss K Harding left both in October 1882.

The above information came from the NSW Archives Office, (City) Roman Catholic Church School, St Marys 5/17577.3