School Established

  • St Nicholas’ Primary
  • St Dominics
  • Christian Brothers’ College


  • McCarthy Catholic Senior High (8/1973 formally recognised by Educ. Dept. Present site 6/1975)


  • Our Lady of the Rosary College


  • St Mary’s Infants


  • St Mary’s Oxley Vale (present site)


  • McCarthy Catholic Senior and Our Lady of the Rosary College merged to become McCarthy Catholic College (7-12)

Principals and enrolled number of students:

St Mary’s Infants

YearPrincipalFeb Enrolment
1939Sr M Flicitas op76 moved to over 100
1983-1988Mrs Rhonda Thornton 
1988-1996Miss Beverley O’Keefe 
1997Dr Dan Riley 
1998Noel Hurley 
1993-2002Chris Bentley 

(combined Principalship with St Nicholas’ Primary from 1999)

St Nicholas’

YearPrincipalFeb EnrolmentAug Enrolment
1982-1992Roger Brittin  
1993-2002Chris Bentley  
2003-Giovanna McDougall2007 – 3892008 – 387

2009 – 395

2003 – 3252005 – 342


McCarthy Catholic Senior High

 Sr Patricia Rowe op
1992June Peck
1993Paul McQuillan (Terms 1 & 2)
1993-1997Rick Johnston
1998-1999Charlie Allen (Acting)

Our Lady of the Rosary College

1994Kevin Moss
1995-96Michael Burton
1997Rick Johnston
1998-1999Paul McDougall (Acting)

McCarthy Catholic College

YearPrincipalFeb EnrolmentAug Enrolment
2000-2008Paul McDougall2007 – 8682008 – 8252003 – 7872005 – 815
2009 –Mrs Kate Rayment (Acting)2009 – 832 

History of Schools

McCarthy Catholic College

Motto: Forti et Fideli nil Dificile (To the strong and the faithful nothing is difficult)

This is the motto of McCarthy High. The motto and emblem are derived from the family crest of Fr Timothy McCarthy after whom the school is named. He always demonstrated a keen interest and involvement in education and was tireless in his pastoral concern. When the idea of a separate Catholic Senior High School was proposed, it was fitting that the name of Fr McCarthy was chosen for it.

The first Principal of McCarthy was Sr Patricia Rowe op, who researched the idea of a senior Catholic High School and formulated aims for the proposed school. Involved also in early planning were Deputy Principal Br B A Moylan cfc, with members of staff Board and the Diocesan Director Rev B Flood.

In 1972, temporary accommodation was made available at St Dominic’s Marius Street, where the senior students from both schools, St Dominic’s and Christian Brother’s College combined to form McCarthy as a separate entity. The Education Department formally recognised McCarthy Catholic Senior High School, and granted full registration on 30th August, 1973.

McCarthy on its present site was blessed on 15 June, 1975 by Mos F P Ryan VG, representing His Lordship, Bishop Kennedy. It was officially opened by Sir Frank Kitto, Chancellor of the University of New England.

Subsequent important additions to the school have included the Library, special areas for Art, Home Science and Textile and Design, as well as extensions to the Administration Block. Early in 1989 the Library extension, a Computer Room, a further two classrooms and an Audio/Visual room were ready for use.

The official opening and blessing of the Science Laboratory extension and the Music complex was performed early in 1993, following work completed in December 1992. This extension gave the school access of one additional Science Laboratory and additional Staff facilities in the Science area as well as a purpose built Music room with facilities for individual and small group practice, a staff facility, storeroom and an additional General classroom.

Rosary College

Excerpt from “Rosary College…A Diary of a school on the move – From then till now…” by Br Kevin Moss, Deputy Principal 12/10/81.

1980: Thurs Dec 4

St Nicholas’ Primary, St Dominics and CBC (Christian Brothers College) close their doors for the last time. CBC farewell’s Br Bent.

Fri Dec 5 – 6.00 am

The “Three-way Shift” commences. CBC to Doms (to form Rosary College, Stage 1); St Nich’s to CBC (to form St Nich’s, Carthage St!) Year 9 boys from CBC, staff and parents assemble on both sites – all day trucks, utilities, cars and trailers shuttle back and forth. … by nightfall Tuesday Dec 9th the schools are relocated.

Sat Dec 13 – 12 noon

Mrs Elizabeth Dennison of Jel-Co Demolishers take possession of the Marius Street site and demolition commences on St Nicholas’ the 1949 convent building and the presbytery.

1981: Jan 20th

New World Developments agree to furnish the demountable classrooms with steps, blackboards and air-conditioning. The also supply temporary boys toilet block and the famous little tuckshop.

Fri Jan 23

Br Moss buys a Bedford J3 truck, vintage 63. After a paint job, the legend of “The Blue Flash” is born. The Flash transports science gear to the Warral Road site, where work proceeds to schedule.

Tues Jan 27

The staff resume at the Dom’s site, under a cloud of dust – D7’s, dozers, scrapers and graders all add to the confusion.

Wed Jan 28

The new Year 7’s come for half a day and we get our first glimpse of the new Rosary College students.

Thurs Jan 29

HISTORY! THIS IS IT – DAY 1, YEAR 1, ROSARY COLLEGE TAMWORTH – 660 students and 43 staff commence work, facing 6 months school on a demolition site.

Wed Feb 11

We call on the blessings of God in our first Mass in St Nicholas’ Church.

Fri Feb 27

Mass celebrated at Warral Road site by Fr Le Fevre and six priests. Many parents and students have their first inspection of the new school.


Rosary consolidates itself on Dom’s site – successes in many fields and a healthy Rosary school spirit emerges from the union of CBC and Dom’s traditions.

Monday May 11

“It’s really going to happen…” Anything movable is torn from walls, cupboards, etc by the Rosary Demolition Crew – Year 9 boys, Mr Steve Axinow, Mr Alan Welsh and Br Moss and Br Tom Sullivan. Overhead Projectors appear in every room to replace blackboards. ….

Thurs July 2nd

The last day on the St Dominics site. Our 6 school captains and the executive of St Dominic’s Ex-students (Mesdames Jill Moroney, Carmel Curtis and Carmel Whitten) lead the school in a touching and fitting tribute to the Dominican Sisters, who have provided education for generations of Tamworht and district students on this site for 105 years. …

Fri July 3rd

… Between 6 am and 4 pm 80% of Rosary has moved from Doms to Warral Road. …

Monday July 6

All day and far into the evening the move goes on. We have no water or sewerage connected at Warral Road, so the decision is made that the new school can’t be opened for another week…


HISTORY! THIS IS REALLY IT – DAY 1, YEAR 1 on our permanent site. With the temperature at 4°C, Sr Teresa leads the school in prayer in the ‘A’ block quad. Fr Le Fevre and Br Moylan are present and address the students. …

August Holidays

Br Moss, Br Sullivan, Mr Axinow, Mr Welsh and Mr Patterson work on. The Ag fences go up, Bull’s chook Shed at Dungowan comes down with the assistance from Messrs Chan, Galliene and Stanley, the seats go up and the bitumen goes down in the yard. The cricket nets go up; the seeds for the oval go down, the trees sprout up, John Tuffrey lays cement down – it is an up and down time. John Wiley, Michael Hiscox, Danny Riccobon, Ricky Seymour and Pat Welsh work throughout the holidays – sometimes 10 hours a day. Messrs Gerard Ryan, Villa, Fittler, Matthews and Peter Young and sons Louise and Francis give valuable assistance. Peter Stortenbecker and Br Sullivan spend a day’s welding lengthening the playground benches. …

Wed Oct 7

The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary – the first Mass is celebrated in the school hall, and the Bishop and six parish priests officiate. The Bishop speaks of devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary and is obviously proud of the students. …


THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF ROSARY COLLEGE, TAMWORTH. … This Bishop and the official party move through every part of the school, blessing every area of our endeavour. Mark, Ann, Sr Teresa speak on our behalf and Mr John Fittler reveals some home truths about the path that has led us here. …

St Mary’s Infants

St Mary’s Catholic Infants School was opened in 1939 by the Dominican Sisters. The school was built on the North Tamworth site by Mr R Lane. Sr M Felicitas OP was the first Principal of the school.

The school opened with 76 students but later in the year the enrolment passed 100. The school was established to cater for the needs of the young children in the North Tamworth and Oxley Vale areas.

St Mary’s consisted of three classes, Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2. On leaving St Mary’s the girls continued their education at St Nicholas’ Primary School and the boys continued their education at the Christian Brothers College, Tamworth.

In 1982, the Dominican Sisters handed the care of St Mary’s School over tot he Diocese of Armidale and the Catholic Education Office appointed Mrs Rhonda Thornton as the first lay Principal of the school (1983-88).

It was the dream of Father Gerard Hanna and Mrs Thornton to relocate St Mary’s School to the Manilla Road, Oxley Vale site.

The dream became a reality when Commonwealth and State grants were obtained to enable the new school to be built. The grants amounted to approximately $450,000 with a further $100,000 being required to be financed by the St Nicholas’ Parish.

Mr Kerry Bonnar was the architect of the new St Mary’s School which was built by Mr David Seagrave. The staff and children moved to the new site in July 1988 and the school was officially opened by Bishop Henry Kennedy on 6th November, 1988. The original St Mary’s School at North Tamworth accommodates the St Mary’s Preschool.

St Mary’s (Oxley Vale) comprises an Administration block, three classrooms and girls and boys toilets. The Library (a demountable building) was moved from North Street to the new site. The 2.5 hectares of land provides ample playground area, car and bus access and an oval is planned to be developed in the future.

Today, St Mary’s caters for the needs of young children in Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 from the North Tamworth, Oxley Vale and Moore Creek areas. On leaving St Mary’s the children continue their education at St Nicholas’ Primary School.

No further information has been provided at this stage. Please forward any information to the Catholic Schools Office

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