Community & Business

1 June, 2023

St Joseph’s set to celebrate century of education

FOR the past 100 years, St Joseph’s Parish in Atherton has been educating the youngest minds of the Atherton community and will be celebrating this milestone in September.

St Joseph’s set to celebrate century of education - feature photo

On 29 January 1923, the school bell rang for the very first time at St Joeys after the Parish Priest of Herberton Fr PB Doyle OSA identified the need for a school in Atherton.

Staffed by the Sisters of Mercy in Herberton, the school hosted 43 stu-dents in the early years.

One of the Sisters, Sister Mary Fin-barr wrote about her experiences working at St Joey’s during the wet season, recalling a lot of red mud.

“Atherton was full of horse drawn carts bringing the maize in the season. We had our own horse paddock for the children’s ponies,” she said.

“The mud was everywhere, and

there we were with our long black habits swishing in the mud. Twice I slipped and fell full length and was plastered with red mud from head to toe.”

St Joeys continued to educate chil-dren from around the Tablelands under the direction of the Sisters of Mercy until 1986 when the first lay person be-came the Principal of the school.

The school has continued to grow in the location of the corner of Jack and Alice streets, with 260 students en-rolled today.

To celebrate the centenary, the Centenary Committee is hosting a din-ner on Saturday 16 September at the Atherton International Club with past and present staff and students invited to attend.

On Sunday 17 September, centenary celebrations will continue with a special mass to be celebrated in St Joseph’s Church.

This will be followed by the official cake cutting, roll calls for each decade and tours of the school and a display of historical items open for viewing and centenary merchandise for purchase.

Food and refreshments will be available for morning tea and lunch.

This will be followed by entertainment from the school choir, who will sing songs from over the century.

The Centenary Committee is currently seeking old photos, stories and memories, particularly from 1923 to 1970, from anyone involved in the school community past or present.

They are also on a search for the oldest living past student to cut the cake alongside their youngest prep student.

Any content can be emailed directly to


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