School established

  • St Joseph’s, 1910 (1st building demolished in 1923)

Principals and enrolled number of students 

Year(s)PrincipalFeb Enrolment Aug EnrolmentOct Enrolment
1910 – 1912St Imelda Gleeson   
1913Sr Magdalene Daly   
1914 – 1915Sr Anastasia Hughes   
1916-1917Sr Claudius Carroll   
1919Sr Evangelist   
1920-1923Sr Margarita McMahon   
1925Sr Celsus McManus   
1926-1930Sr Hermes Barrett   
1931Sr Ethnea Barr   
1932-1934Sr Elizabeth Elliott   
1935-1936Sr Laserian Boland   
1937-1938Sr Cleophas Gallagher   
1939Sr Leonarda Lang   
1940-1942Sr Eustace Byrne   
1943-1944Sr Leonarda Lang   
1945Sr Gonzanes Martyn   
1946Sr Nestor Butler   
1947Sr Laserian Boland   
1948Sr Victorinus   
1949-1950Sr Gerardine Jackson   
1951Sr Teresa Stubbs   
1952Sr Maureen Wornes   
1953Sr Vincentia Mary Flynn   
1954Sr Monica Ryan   
1955Sr Vincentia   
1956Sr Anthony   
1957-60Sr Mary Keane   
1961-62Sr Judith Mary Ellis   
1963-64Sr Brendan Cash   
1965Sr Irene Maria Brown   
1966-67Sr June Bath   
1968Sr Paul Joseph   
1969Sr Mary Janet Cummings   
1970Sr Loreto Agnes Ellis   
1971-73Sr Dorothy Starr   
1974-75Sr Colleen Keeble   
1976Sr Margaret Maloney   
1977-80Sr Antoinette Walsh   
1981-82Sr Guiseppe Walsh   
1983Sr Ursula Derham   
1984-86Sr Kevin Furlong   
1987Sr Cecilia Gates   
1988Mr Lindsay Dean   
1989-1991Mr Chris Waters   
1992-1993Mr Gary McSweeney   
1994-1999Mrs Lesley Grigg   
2000-2002Mr Tony Hunter   
2002 – 2004Mrs Yvonne Rincheval 56 – Aug 2003 
2005-2009Mr Terry Fitzsummons61 – Feb 200558 – Aug 2006 
 Mr Terry Fitzsummons60 Feb 200857 – Aug 2007 
 Mr Terry Fitzsummons55 Feb 2009  
 2010Mr Darryl Martin (acting Term 1)   
 2010 Mr Paul O’Keefe   
 2011 Miss Jacquelene Cronin (acting 2011)   

History of School

By 1910, Fr Collender had organised the building of the Convent and had arranged for Sisters of the order of St Joseph to staff the school (the old church fitted out with desks, forms, etc).

In 1913 there were three nuns and one lay teacher but next year a fourth nun was added to the staff and from then until 1965 four nuns were in residence during school terms. The Convent also housed twelve girl boarders until the mid-twenties, when, perhaps because their dormitory was required for a temporary class room while the new school was being built, the practice of taking boarding pupils was discontinued.

By 1913, there were too many pupils to be contained or accommodated in the old church building, a weathershed at the back of the school was brought into use as the Infants class room. In very bad weather, the children were somehow fitted into the big school room or taken over onto the back verandah at the Convent.

Fund-raising in those days seemed to consist of the Catholic Ball followed on the second night by a juvenile ball, a bazaar or fete and the members of the Hibernian Society used to organise a race day, probably on St Patrick’s Day. The Sisters, then had no other income except school fees and fees for teaching music, singing, painting, business courses, etc but this money was no fortune and at the end of the year a concert was held which hopefully produced enough money to settle any outstanding household debts and cash to cover the cost of train tickets to which ever other Convent they were planning to spend Christmas.

By the beginning of the twenties the old school was beginning to show urgently the need for repairs. It was probably in late 1923 that the old school was pulled down and the building of a new one commenced. Mr John Myers built the new school (at a rumored price of $1,200.00). A doorway was cut through from the school side into the erstwhile boarder’s dormitory to provide a temporary class room, which together with the weather shed accommodated the pupils until the new building was complete. The building was later blessed and opened by Bishop O’Connor.

In 1969, new classrooms were built and the covered walkway which connected the new building with the old school, which now was converted to an assembly room and a library. This new building was blessed and opened by Bishop James Freeman on 30th Mary, 1969.

Fr Shanahan (who came to the Parish in 1982) was responsible for setting up the School Board. He always had a close association with the School, taking personal interested in all aspects of the school and personnel.

The Sisters of St Joseph withdrew from the Parish at the end of 1987. During their time at Barraba, they had taught all school subjects and also assist to in the community the taught a Commercial Course (shorthand, typing and business principles). Music was also taught at the Convent during the years of the Sisters being in Barraba.

To honour the Sisters many years of devotion to the children of St Joseph’s School, upon their withdrawal from the School, a parishioners’ day of appreciation was organised by Fr Shanahan and the Sisters farewell committee.

The first lay Principal was Mr Lyndsay Dean. Mr Dean was Principal for only one year. The Convent then became the Principal’s residence (although still currently referred to as the ‘Convent’).

Mr Chris Waters came to St Joseph’s in 1989 and with his wife 3 children also resided in the Convent and was Principal for three years.

Mr Gary McSweeney was Principal for 2 years and during his time at Barraba, submitted an application for a new classroom and administration area. The application was successful and in May 1994 the extensions were Blessed and opened by Bishop Manning in the presence of the Director of Catholic Education for the Armidale Diocese, Mr Paul Woodcock and a large crowd of parishioners, parents and children.

Mrs Lesley Grigg was appointed Principal in 1994. In 1996 a successful Reunion of all ex-students and ex-staff was held in conjunction with the Barraba Festival. The day commenced with Mass in the Church and then the ex-students were invited to visit the school for the day and share in a meal and a tree planting ceremony. Lesley remained Principal until the end of 1999.

Thanks to a capital grant and financial support from the parish a new amenities block was opened in November 1999.

Mr Tony Hunter was appointed Principal in 2000. During his time a computer lab was installed above the library and extensions to the staff room almost doubled the area of the existing building. Tony remained in Barraba for 2 years.


No further information has been provided at this stage.

Please forward any information to the Catholic Schools Office (Attention: History Website) or post to P O Box 636, ARMIDALE NSW 2350.

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