St Mary's Catholic Primary School: Brief History
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Brief History

Name of School St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, South Mackay
Primary/Secondary/P-12 Primary P-6
Date of Foundation 1924
Founding Religious Order The Sisters of Mercy
Foundation Principal Sister M Dympna O'Reilly
Present Principal Mr Wes Rose
School Motto "Learn from Christ"

Significant milestones in the school’s history

1972 First Library established
1981 Sr Dolores is the last Sister of Mercy Principal
1986 Opening of new (present) Library
1990 Office/Administration building built
1995 Introduction of Pre- School to St Mary’s School
2006 Opening of multi-purpose undercover area and refurbishment of B and D block
2011 Opening of new administration building, library, hall, E and F block
2021 Opening of F block, B block, Early Years Precinct

Points of interest

St Mary's building

The school was originally named Our Lady of Mt Carmel School.
For the first 11 years, the nuns lived at the River Street convent and travelled daily by taxi to the school.  This sometimes proved treacherous as South Mackay was low-lying and poorly drained, which often led to the taxi becoming bogged and the Sisters being carried across the deep gutters in times of heavy rain.

In 1974 a visit from the then Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Gough Whitlam and his wife, proved somewhat awkward as the Whitlams (both being tall people) had to stoop in order to visit the old Library.  Concerned about the conditions of the building, including the broken asphalt floor, the PM requested the Federal Member for Dawson, along with the Qld member for Mackay Mr Ed Casey to note the library’s needs.  Major improvements soon followed as government funding became available and parishioners assisted with some amazing fund raising.

In 1923 some people thought that the Bishop had “gone a bit mad” buying land and building  a school in that part of town (South Mackay) as it was considered a great distance from the Mackay township (approximately 2kms).  Today St Mary’s School South Mackay is a thriving and progressive inner city school with an enrolment of approximately 380 students and 40 staff members. The school boasts a positive community spirit as it faces further demands and growth into the future.

Achievements of past students

Jason Chetcuti International Fashion Designer
John Smith Foot and Mouth Painter
Graeme Connors Acclaimed country singer/songwriter
Vicki Attard Principal Artist, Australian Ballet Company
Brett Dallas Rugby League International Player
Edmund Casey Queensland State MP
Jason Costigan Queensland State MP
Tim Mulherin Queensland State MP

Future statement

We believe that St Mary’s School community is a community of faith, with Jesus as our model and Mary, His Mother, as our patron.  Our priest, staff and parents work together in a spirit of Christian cooperation.  We aim to develop in each child a sense of his or her own potential and to provide the climate and encouragement for each to achieve at his or her maximum level in a caring environment.