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A Brief History of how St Patrick’s Primary School Came to Be

Catholic education in Fremantle has a longstanding history, tracing all the way back to 1847 when Bishop Brady acquired land on Henry Street for the Sisters of Mercy to use.

Our Founding Sisters

Back in 1890, Father Martelli assisted the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition in establishing their “Girls School and Infants School” on Parry Street. The school was a success with 164 infants and 221 young girls enrolled. Around this same time, the Adelaide Street convent, St Joseph’s College (which opened its doors in 1863), had only 67 students.

By 1958, St Joseph’s College enrollees had grown to 300 day and boarding students, and the school was running out of space. To address this issue, several old cottages in Point Lane were demolished to make way for a new two-story educational facility. The structure, which was finished in time for the 1959 school year, currently serves as the main building of St Patrick’s Primary School.

The Daily News

Thursday 23 October 1958

“Work on 8 new classrooms costing about £20,000 has started at St Joseph’s College. They are expected to be finished in about 6 months and accommodate 400 pupils.

The two-storey block – four rooms on each floor – is being erected where several old buildings on the Ellen St property were demolished recently.

The building will be brick and tile, the framework on the ground section reinforced concrete. Each room will measure 24ft x 30ft. Plastic tiles will be laid on concrete floors. Corridor floors will have a granolithic finish.

Interior walls to the height of 7ft will be salmon-coloured brick and above that line sand-lime bricks of a similar colour.”

Our Oblate Fathers

In 1894, the Oblate fathers made their way to Western Australia and assumed parochial charge of Fremantle. Sensing a place of worship was needed, they laid the foundation stone for St Patrick’s church on March 17, 1898 and consecrated it two years later. By 1968, the Oblates took control of all school properties from the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition. The school on Parry Street became St Patrick’s Care Centre, and the one on Point Lane was renamed St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School.

The Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition continued to support the school by supplying staff. Sister Finbar was the first Principal of the newly named St Patrick’s Primary School, leading the school with dedication and passion.

Maristella Campus

In 1962, the Blessing of the Fleet Committee came to the rescue of the Italian community in Fremantle (at the request of Father Nanni, an Oblate Priest), and bought land for the Ursuline sisters to help establish their presence. They settled into the Attfield Street convent and established the Maristella Kindergarten there in 1963. A few years later, in December 1979, St Patrick’s Primary School and the Ursuline sisters agreed on a lease for the Maristella site. The following year, St Patrick’s Kindergarten and Pre-Primary moved to the Maristella campus.

Coming Together

In 2015, following a construction project at the St Patrick’s site, Kindergarten and Pre-Primary were relocated from Maristella’s Attfield Street location to the “Basilica Campus.”