History


Rapid population growth in the Ryde area led to the formation of the parish of Spiritus Sanctus, North Ryde in 1956, with Fr Martin Crehan as first Parish Priest. He began with no parish buildings, at a time of fluctuating economic conditions in Australia. This Irishman seems to have been the man for the task and soon gathered strong parish support.

A church-hall was built in 1957 and this would serve as the first parish school. Fr Crehan arranged for the Sisters of Mercy (North Sydney Congregation) to staff the school. On 28 January 1958 Spiritus Sanctus School began, with 104 pupils enrolled from Kindergarten to Second Class. They were taught by Sr Fabian and Sr Victor, who travelled each day from their convent in Pymble. School was held in the church. There was minimal equipment, and for eight months the children sat on the kneelers and used the seats as desk tops, bobbing up occasionally to read the blackboard. Sr Victor recalled the first day, "We could see a queue of mothers, prams and children awaiting us. The church was full in no time, and rather than have pandemonium reign, we asked the mothers to fill in the particulars on paper provided and go home; and believe it or not, they did just that!" 

Within a few years the school proceeded to Sixth Class for girls, while boys attended to Fourth Class.

The school and parish continued to grow, with Fr Crehan baptising about eight children each week. By 1960 there were 314 pupils taught by three Sisters and two lay teachers, a class average of 81 in Kindergarten to Second Class and 24 in Third to Sixth Class. By 1969 enrolment had more than doubled to 727. More accommodation was urgently needed and so classroom blocks were built in 1958, 1961 and 1967. As yet there was no government support for such construction, and the funds had to be raised by the parish, under the direction of Fr Crehan. More momentum and co-ordination was given to the fundraising with the formation of the Spiritus Sanctus Parents and Friends Association in September 1965. This enthusiastic association provided many other supports for the school, such as establishing a Grounds Committee for the care of school property, and was also a prominent regional voice in the national campaign for State Aid of the late 1960s.

These state and national campaigns were successful and significant government funding became available for Spiritus Sanctus from the 1970s. More lay teachers could now be employed, at a time when the Sisters of Mercy had fewer Sisters and were diversifying their ministry. In 1988 the Sisters withdrew from the administration of the school and the CEO Sydney appointed the first lay Principal, Mrs Marjorie Avery, who took charge in 1989.

The 1990s saw much consolidation. In 1990 the school name was anglicised to become Holy Spirit Primary and boys were retained to Year 6 so that the school was now co-educational from Kindergarten to Year 6. 1994-95 saw the opening of a new computer room, a science and technology centre, a Pastoral Ministry Centre, and a new block for Kindergarten and Year 1. In 2005 a refurbishment of existing classrooms and construction of new classrooms, library, computer room, staff facilities, and associated works was undertaken.

In 2009, further learning facilities were upgraded and added with grants from the Building the Education Revolution Program. With the National Pride Grant, the old existing hall was converted into a new Early Learning Centre and a new Multi-Purpose Hall was completed in July 2010, named Mary MacKillop Hall.

PRINCIPALS

1958-64: Sr Fabian rsm
1965: Sr M Pius Reed rsm
1966-68: Sr M Xavier McDonell rsm
1969-71: Sr M Gabrielle De Landelles rsm
1972-74: Sr Monica Lee rsm
1975-80: Sr Joanne Kirk rsm
1981-88 May: Sr Jennifer Ryan rsm
1988 May-Dec: Mrs Mary Dynan (Acting)
1989-91: Mrs Marjorie Avery
1991 T1: Miss Wildeth Wilson (Acting)
1992-93 T2: Miss Margaret Amos
1993 T3-T4: Miss Wildeth Wilson (Acting)
1994-2000: Mr Stephen Conlon
2001- 2013: Mrs Patricia Williams
2014: Mrs Allison Travers
2015- : Mrs Jo Fox