Catholic Schools in the Kimberley
Catholic Educatioin in the Kimberley depended much on the generosity of Reliigious Orders providing personnel, particularly the Sisters of St John of God, the Sisters of St Joseph, Sisters of Mercy and Our Lady of the Mission Sisters. Bishop J Jobst (Bishop of Broome: 1959-1995) was very active and influential in setting up schools throughout the Kimberley.
Here is a link to a List of Principals of Kimberley Catholic Schools
The banner photo above is of the original boughshed school at Red Hill (Lundja) near Halls Creek. The school became Warlawurru
1894 › First Catholic School
Sacred Heart School, Beagle Bay
Founding Religious Order: Trappist Fathers. It was a bilingual school where instruction was given in French and Nyulnyul! The Pallottine fathers took charge of the mission in 1901. The St John of God Sisters arrived in 1907 and taught in the school until the 1970s. Later, Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition, Infant Jesus Sisters and the Our Lady of the Mission Sisters (1987-1996) taught in Sacred Heart School. Over the past decade, there has been a transfer of leadership from religious orders to lay leadership.[Taken from the first Sacred Heart School Website].
[Founding year stated as 1907 by Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992]. Regardless Sacred Heart is the first Catholic school in the Broome Diocese.
St Mary's Primary School, Broome
Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St John of God.
Djarindjin Lombadina Catholic School
Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St John of God. For some years the Presentation Sisters provided a Principal. The Our Lady of the Mission Sisters provided a Principal 1999-2001. Founding year 1913 as a Mission School [confirmed by Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992].
In 2012 the School name was changed to:
Christ the King Catholic School
Holy Rosary School, Derby
Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St John of God. Founding Principal: Sr Mary Ignatius Murnane SSJG. The Sisters remained until 1988
The De La Salle Brothers assumed leadership of the school in 1989 until the end of 1993.
Our Lady of the Mission Sisters provided a Principal or leadership position 2001-2005. [1954 founding year confirmed by Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992].
There was a classroom for teaching at Old Balgo mentioned around 1954, in the time of Fr Kearney sac. However schooling was not regular before the Sisters of St John of God arrived in 1956.
February 1956: Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St John of God. Founding Main Teacher: Sr Angela Moroney ssjg - 32 pupils
In February 1961 the school became a Government School with founding Staff: Mr MJ Browne and Sr Therese Doolan ssjg:
Balgo Mission on its current site had its formal opening on May 15th, 1965. The new Government school being opened by Mr Lewis, Minister for Education and Native Welfare. These school buildings later became Luurnpa Catholic School.
Luurnpa Catholic School (1984)
Founding Religious Orders: De La Salle Brothers and the Sisters of Mercy. Founding Principal: Br Leo Scollen FSC
St Joseph's School, Wyndham
Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St Joseph.
[1960 founding year according to Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992]. 1964 founding date quoted in school website. Also jubilee celebrations have followed the 1964 date.
St Joseph's School, Kununurra
Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St Joseph.
[1966 stated as founding year by Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992].
Nulungu College, Broome
Broome Boys School with boarding facilities for Indigenous boys from the Kimberley. Founding Religious Order: Christian Brothers. Founding Principal Br T Roberts CFC. Initially Christian Brothers'College, Broome Soon after foundation became Nulungu Catholic College.
From 1995 Nulungu College and St Mary's Primary School amalgamated to become St Mary's College.
The Bishop presented what had originally been the Girls College grounds and buildings to the University of Notre Dame Australia for their Broome Campus..
Nulungu Girls College, Broome
Official Opening Friday September 13, 1974
Broome Girls School with boarding facilities for Indigenous Girls. Founding Religious Order: Sisters of Our Lady of the Mission. Founding Principal: Sr Patricia Hogan OLM. Staff: Sr Pauline Pratley OLM, Sr Patricia Rhatigan SSJG. Later amalgamated with Nulungu College a gradual process completed for the start of the 1985 School Year..
Kururrungku Catholic School
Founding Religious Order: Sisters of Mercy. The school was started in a corrugated iron shed. School later renamed:
Kururrungku Catholic Education Centre.[1979 founding year confirmed by Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992].
John of the Desert. Founding Religious Order: Sisters of Mercy. Founding Principal: Sr Colleen Kleinschafer RSM assisted by Sr Bernadette Mills RSM. The school and community were both established in 1979. The Sisters of Mercy continued until 1994 when a lay principal was appointed. Secondary and Adult Centre officially opened Mon August 11, 1979
[1986 founding year confirmed by Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992 which adds "Sisters of Mercy started with a pre-school in 1979 which is still running (1992)"].
Mother and Child. Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St Joseph. Founding Principal Sr Clare Ahern rsj
[1979 founding year confirmed by Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992, which added "Secondary Classes began in 1990 in the Community Hall with approx. 13 students"]..
Luurnpa Catholic School
Existing Government School became part of Catholic Education. Founding Principal Br Leo ScollenFSC. Founding Religious Orders: De La Salle Brothers and Sisters of Mercy. The De La Salle Brothers provided the School Principal and some staff until Dec 2015 (Principal) and May 2016 (Staff).
[1984 founding year confirmed by Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992 which adds "The school unofficially operated as a Mission School from 1954 and became an official State School in 1957. In 1983, at the direct request of the Aboriginal Community, the school changed to the Catholic system."]
Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St Joseph. Founding Principal Sr Ann Boland assisted by Sr Naomi Smith. Schooling began in a bough shed in 1986 and the following year the first part of the present school buildings arrived.. [1986 founding year confirmed by Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992. which adds that the school began in a bower shed and then moved to an abandoned one bedroom house].
Founding Religious Order: Canossian Sisters of Charity. First Principal Sister Lucy Kert FdCC. First classes began February 2 1987. Plaque at school dated November 11 1989. The school is located 2.5km from Halls Creek in the Kimberley. It was established in 1987 following a request to the Bishop from the members of the Lunja Community (Red Hill) for a Catholic school. The school is situated adjacent to the Lunja Community.
[1987 founding year confirmed by Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992].
Founding Religious Order: Sisters of Our Lady of the Mission. Founding Principal Sr Margaret Scott OLM with Sr Frances Wilson the other staff member. The Our Lady of the Missions Sisters first commenced lessons in an old corrugated iron station shed, which was replaced by excellent facilities in 1993. The new School Buildings were blessed and opened on May 24th 1993 beginning with a procession from the old school tin shed to the new buildings. The Sisters remained at the school for ten years; the first lay principal was appointed in 2001. Wanalirri closed toward the end of 2019.
[1991 founding year confirmed by Handbook for Kimberley Schools 1992].
St Mary's College
St Mary's College was the result of the amalgamation of Holy Child Kindergarten, St Mary's Primary School and Nulungu Catholic College.
La Djardarr Bay Catholic School
Opened in 1996. Founding Principal Sr Nola Goodwin, a Josephite Sister. 1999 became part of Sacred Heart School Beagle Bay and then closed..
Kutjungka Trade Training Centre
Followed on from Wirrumanu Adult Education Centre, providing trade training for Balgo, Mulan and Billiluna. Administered by Luurnpa Catholic School.
Christ the King School
Lombadina Djarindjin Catholic School (1913) renamed as Christ the King School, 23 June 2012..