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History lesson


Congratulations on your excellent coverage of Catholic education in South Australia in your February edition of The Southern Cross.

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We could well remember St Mary MacKillop’s words written in March 1891, the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of St Joseph. Recalling Fr Woods, she wrote: “Little did either of us then dream of what was to spring from so small a beginning”.

Your readers may not be aware that up until the 1960s and even the 1970s, the Sisters taught children in many of their country and regional schools beyond their primary school years – up to Intermediate (Year 10). Renmark, opened by the Sisters in 1919, Berri, opened in 1936 and Barmera, opened in 1954, were three such schools. It was good to read that the four regional schools, mentioned by Dr Neil McGoran, namely Wallaroo, Peterborough, Clare and Murray Bridge, will once again take students to secondary level.

Sometime before the 1920s the term ‘higher primary’ was used to describe these years of secondary education taught in what began as a primary school. Wallaroo and Kadina, were opened in 1869, and amalgamated in 1975 and named Kalori. On the date of Mary MacKillop’s canonisation, October 17 2010, the school received its current name: St Mary MacKillop’s School.

St Joseph’s Clare was also opened in 1869 and students there were taught both ‘commercial’ and ‘general’ subjects. Peterborough school, which began in 1897 and was a boarding school from 1926-1978, taught high school students to Leaving (Year 11) level until the end of the 1974 school year. St Joseph’s School Murray Bridge taught secondary classes until December 1963.

So you see there IS a long history of our country children accessing secondary education in their local Catholic schools and it is wonderful that once more Catholic Education SA is enabling that to happen.

Sr Elizabeth Morris rsj, Kensington


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