History

A half a century after the foundation of the Sisters of St Joseph in Tasmania, they opened a school and convent in Geeveston.  There were already schools in Cygnet and Franklin.  The current Parish Priest, Fr. P Sherry believed that the time had come for a school in the southern end of the Parish and set about making this happen.  Fr. Julian Tension-Woods, co-founder of the Sisters of St Joseph, had often frequented the area carrying out Missions and the Catholic Faith was steadily spreading throughout the Huon Valley and the population of the area was also steadily increasing.

The first community of Sisters, Sisters M. Eustelle, M. Marcellus and M. Agnes, came to take up residence in February 1938.  Unfortunately the Geeveston buildings were not complete so the Sisters stayed at Franklin Convent, 9 miles North, and traveled to and from the school each day.  They traveled in a trap chauffeured by Mr. F.B. Hill and drawn by his faithful twenty-three year old horse Clusky.  Lessons were held in the Church with the Sisters teaching down one end and music teacher taking lessons down the other end.  During the first few months the school had to close twice due to outbreaks of polio in the area but eventually got underway on 20 April with forty-seven students on the register though anecdotal evidence puts the number at fifty.  In June, the new buildings were completed and the Sisters moved their convent and students into their classrooms.  The official opening and blessing took place on August 11 with Archbishop Simonds presiding with the school being named St. Theresa’s Convent School.

The school celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1963 with a school ball, a debutante ball and a Jubilee Mass of Thanksgiving.

In 1962 it was decided to close the secondary classes at Franklin and have the children transported to Geeveston each day.  In the same year it was arranged to have Dover children transported as well.  Both moves proved successful and these developments were made possible by the conveyance allowances paid by the Education Department.  Over the years there were a number of religious vocations from the school with five girls entering the convent and one boy entering the priesthood.

By 1971, dwindling numbers led to the closure of the secondary school annex.  Further rationalization occurred in 1973 when the policy of transporting students from other areas was cemented with the closure of St Mary’s at Franklin.

In 1979 a new administration complex was built then in 2007 this was replaced with a new facility to accommodate the needs of the increased number of staff members and office staff.

In 1981 the Sisters handed over the running of the school to lay administration and in 1983 they moved their living accommodation back to their original but newly renovated Convent at Franklin in order to leave their Geeveston house for development by the school.  The Sisters withdrew from involvement with the school in 1984.  The last Sister of St Joseph working in the school was Sr. Maria Goretti.

In 1991 the school had 190 students. In the 1990s the current infant block was extended out onto the asphalt area in order to increase the size of the classrooms and enable wet areas and cloakrooms to be installed.  After lengthy community consultation Kindergarten was opened in 2004 with the first year having 26 students.

During the period 1996-2008 all the wooden playgrounds were replaced with a variety of modern age related equipment including a fitness track and equipment for older children.

2007 saw the completion of two much longed for improvements at the school.  These were a complex consisting of a multi-purpose hall, student toilets, uniform shop, canteen, sports store and utility officer workshed and a new administration block with offices, meeting rooms, sick bay, staff room and staff toilets and an area for teacher resources.

In 2008 the school celebrated its seventieth anniversary.  As part of the celebration the school commissioned a local Artist, Mr. Bernie Tarr to sculptor a King Billy Pine statue of a Sister of St Joseph with three children around her.  The carving, ‘The Sister’ is a daily visual reminder of the schools commitment to being faithful to the charism of its founding order.

In 2010 the school received considerable funds from the Federal Government under the ‘Building Education Revolution’ program.  After being successful in the first round of the BER funding the Sacred Heart School Board quickly began a consultation process with the school and local community.  The vision was to construct a facility that would promote active, student-centre learning for all students through the creation of flexible functional spaces that support contemporary learning and teaching practices.  The funding also allowed the Kindergarten to Grade 4 learning spaces to be fully refurbished.  The building project was completed by December 2010.

First Eucharist 1943

First Eucharist 1941

Parish Priest Fr Rogers with Sacred Heart Students

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