In 2014, St Patrick’s Primary School celebrated 128 years of proud Catholic Education in Camperdown and surrounding districts.
The History of Catholic Education in Camperdown dates back to 1886, when Fr. Thomas Guilfoyle, assistant Priest at Colac, founded the school in a weatherboard church building that had been in existence since 1865. The Church was situated on the corner of Manifold and Leura Streets on a two acre block, which was granted to the Catholic Church by the Government in 1854. The first headmaster was Mr. J. Keenan who stayed from 1886 until 1887.
In January 1891, the church/school building was removed from Manifold Street to the newly purchased site in Henderson Street. On the new site the weatherboard church/school continued to operate as such until December 1900, when the new brick church was opened alongside this building. St. Patrick’s school continued to be staffed by lay teachers at this time up until 1908 when a convent was built in Henderson Street and the Sisters of Mercy took charge of St. Patrick’s.
In April 1935, the old weatherboard school was completely destroyed by fire, along with all records. In 1936 a new brick parish school, consisting of three classrooms was built on a site near the convent in Henderson Street. (This building was added to in 1952 and 1953 and is now part of Mercy Regional College, founded in 1972.)
St. Patrick’s Primary School buildings as we know them today were built in stages, with the Dimora Avenue side being the first stage built in 1958. This building housed Grade Prep to Grade Two for a number of years. A further three classrooms and staff rooms were opened in 1963, parallel to the original building. The area between these two buildings was developed in 1980, consisting of a library, school hall, art / craft area and toilet block. Further additions were made in 1988 when an administration block and staff facilities were constructed.
In 1998 the school was fully refurbished with the assistance of a grant from the Commonwealth Government. Each classroom was entirely refitted and the library, school hall, staff, administration and toilet facilities were also substantially upgraded. Owing to the continued increase in enrolments a senior classroom wing was added to the school in 2006 comprising 3 classrooms, an art room, 2 computer labs, a withdrawal room, an office and common room. This project entirely funded by the school community has ensured St. Patrick’s School can continue to take on the challenges of Catholic Education in the 21st Century.
The Building the Education Revolution Grant of $2,000,000 given in 2009 was used to build a state of the art library, a new classroom and complete renovations to 3 other classrooms. In 2012 the school purchased the house block at 6 Dimora Avenue and is using it as an art room for 2014 with future plans being drawn up. These plans are looking at the building of a new 5/6 wing to replace the portable buildings here already.