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School History

School History

St Joseph's Catholic School has a rich history dating all the way back to the early 1900s. Our school is deeply and proudly involved in the Cloncurry community.


Bishop James Duhig and Fr Edward O’Keefe visit Mother Mary MacKillop in Sydney to request the Sisters of St Joseph open a school in Cloncurry.

At the instigation of Fr Edward O’Keefe, a convent is built in St Colman’s Parish, Cloncurry, on land donated by the Williams family in 1907. The convent is designed by prominent Townsville architect, C. D. Lynch, and constructed by Bill Hinkle. Father O’Keefe lives in a bough shed until the four sisters arrive and help him move into the sacristy of the church while a presbytery is completed. The sisters arrive at midnight on 28 October and soon begin teaching classes and housing boarders. 


A dedicated school building is completed for St Joseph’s Convent School. Until now, classes have been conducted in the church, under a bough shed and under the convent.


Boarders at the school have to withdraw due to a shortage of facilities at the convent.


On 14 June, Bishop Joseph Shiel visits Cloncurry and opens a new school for the Sisters of St Joseph.


The Sisters of St Joseph in Cloncurry live in a private residence while the convent is enlarged and built under to create room for St Joseph’s Convent School to take boarders again.


St Joseph’s Convent School in Cloncurry closes to boarders once more.


During this year, two students from St Joseph’s Convent School in Cloncurry achieve outstanding music results. Two students come first in Queensland in Grade III Piano and Grade VI Violin.

On 19 October, St Colman’s Tennis Courts in Cloncurry are completed by volunteers.


The children of St Joseph’s Convent School present the Operetta, Pearl the Fishermaid, at the Bio Theatre on 8 April.


The inside of St Joseph’s Convent School is painted.


On 22 December, the northern end of Cloncurry is struck by a seventy-mile-per-hour windstorm. The convent school receives the full force of the blow and is extensively damaged.


On 20 May, the Governor, Sir John Lavarack, and Lady Lavarack, visit Cloncurry on their tour of the north-west. They include a visit to St Joseph’s Convent School in their Programme.


Cloncurry: The School Committee is reorganised and plans are in hand to paint the school. The roof of St Colman’s Church is painted Norfolk Green and the interior of the church is painted a pastel green. During a visit, Bishop Ryan is presented with a ring gidgee walking stick by Frank Chapell.


St Joseph’s Convent School is painted.


A cool water system is installed in readiness for the 1960 school year, and tubular steel frame desks are purchased to replace the old desks which have been in service for fifty years.


The Golden Jubilee of the arrival of the Sisters of St Joseph in Cloncurry is celebrated with numerous functions from 9 to 28 May.

Robert Glass (Bob) got the best result by a student from a Catholic School in Queensland coming 9th in the State for Scholarship – Yr. 8. As a result he won the McDonnell medal, funded from the 1930s by Frank McDonnell the founder of the McDonnell and East store in Brisbane. He then went to Mount Carmel in Charters Towers for secondary and was Dux there in 1964.


A bore is sunk to provide water for the lawns when the town water supply is low.


On 29 April, the new St Joseph’s Convent School building on the corner of Sheaffe and Ham Streets is blessed and opened by Bishop Hugh Ryan. Following the death of Fr Desmond Frances McMullen in a vehicle collision south of Gin Gin on 28 January, a white marble Statue of St Joseph, the patron saint of fathers, is ordered from Italy in his memory. It is installed in a recess above the main entrance to the new additions to St Joseph’s Convent School.


On 13 June, Bishop Leonard Faulkner visits the sisters at St Joseph’s Convent School.


A library and multipurpose room are added to St Joseph’s Convent School.


Classrooms and the administration area of St Joseph’s Convent School are refurbished.


The Sisters of St Joseph are withdrawn from St Joseph’s Convent School. In December, R. M. Doohan is welcomed as the first lay principal of the school.

A building from St Joseph’s Catholic Boarding School in Julia Creek is relocated to St Joseph’s Catholic School in Cloncurry, where it now houses the music room LOTE room.


On 18 October, Bishop Raymond Benjamin blesses and officially opens the refurbishments of St Joseph’s Catholic School in Cloncurry.


Jill Morton is welcomed as principal of St Joseph’s Catholic School.


Students from St Joseph’s Catholic School participate in the Friendly Games during Term 3. The Mount Isa Friendly Games is held annually for students from Prep to Year 7 at the three Catholic schools in the region on a yearly rotation basis.


To mark the centenary of the death of Mary MacKillop, the Sisters of St Joseph prepare a pilgrimage to Western Queensland from 13 to 17 September. The pilgrimage commences with an opening mass in Mount Isa. It then visits the towns of Richmond, Julia Creek and Cloncurry.


The staff and students of St Joseph’s Catholic School in Cloncurry celebrate the blessing and official opening of the new Mary MacKillop Shed, funded by State and Federal Governments as part of the Building the Education Revolution program.


A new orchard at St Joseph’s Catholic School is made possible due to a grant from Southern Gulf Catchments. More than 20 different fruit trees are planted.

Fr Mick Lowcock celebrates the liturgy for the opening and blessing of the Remembrance Courtyard at St Joseph’s Catholic School.

During Term 4, a sculpture of St Mary MacKillop and St Joseph is placed in the new courtyard at St Joseph’s Catholic School. The sculpture is a work by Mardi Kearney.


Year 6 and 7 students at St Joseph’s Catholic School attend a two-day leadership camp out at Carsland Station.


St Joseph’s Catholic School in Cloncurry receives support from Glencore, which helps to fund the installation of furniture, equipment and air conditioning for the science room and laboratory in the junior secondary building. This year the school expands to offer Year 9 classes.


On the 4th of August 2015 St Joseph’s Catholic School celebrated a significant milestone in the school’s history, with the official opening of a $3.4 million Junior Secondary facility. The Junior Secondary Facility was blessed by Townsville Diocesan Administrator, Rev. Mick Lowcock and opened by Executive Director of Townsville Catholic Education, Dr Cathy Day. Under the principalship of Mr Bob Grant the project was funded by a $1M contribution from The Cloncurry Shire Council, $1M contribution from Glencore Mines and $1M contribution from The School. St Joseph’s Junior Secondary comprises both general and specialist learning areas, including state-of-the-art science and industrial technology rooms for graphics, woodwork and metalwork classes, and home economics.


Judy Bell is welcomed as principal of St Joseph’s Catholic School.


Samantha Kelley is welcomed as principal of St Joseph’s Catholic School.