Our History


St Joachim's Catholic Primary School began in 1885 with the foundation of the parish of Lidcombe (then known as Rookwood.)

In that year, the Sisters of St Joseph had opened a convent at Granville, and two Sisters travelled each day to teach the local children. Their first school was in the home of Mr and Mrs E Keating, but when the original St Joachim’s church was built, it also served as a school. The Sisters then lived in various rented premises until a convent was built in 1906. Original enrolments are not known, but the Catholic Directory records 164 boys and girls in 1900. These were in infants’ and primary school up to Sixth Class. 

As numbers grew a separate school was needed, and the foundation stone was laid by Archbishop Kelly in 1913. Additions were made in 1917. In 1938, the Marist Brothers began a school for boys at Lidcombe, and this meant that the boys left St Joachim’s after Second Class. Nevertheless, enrolments remained above 300 from 1940 to 1960. In the 1950s some girls were able to continue at the school in lower secondary classes, but this had ended by 1960. 

The early population had been AngloCeltic; in fact a nearby section of Auburn used to be called Irishtown. Since the 1960s, however, the district and school population has become very multicultural and there has been a strong increase in Asian residents. Another change has been in the staffing of St Joachim’s. From the 1960s there was a gradual increase in the number of lay teachers, as government funds for salaries became more available. Also in this period, the Josephite Sisters agreed to have most of their schools, including St Joachim’s, become part of the Archdiocesan system of schools managed by the CEO, Sydney. At the end of 1984 the Sisters handed over the leadership of the school, after one hundred years, and the CEO then appointed Ms Jeanne Pestana as the first lay Principal. 

Important developments occurred in the mid-1990s. In 1995 the nearby Marist Brothers’ school closed, and this meant that boys would continue at St Joachim’s to Year 6. There was also a major building and refurbishment project, completed in 1996. This involved conversion of the convent to an administration section, construction of a library and another classroom, and the refurbishment of many classrooms and the hall. Although there was a government grant, the parish undertook to pay $900,000 towards this project. 

A further building project is due to commence in 2006 which will involve the refurbishment of the Years 4-6 areas, as well as new carpeting in a number of classrooms and security fencing. Although enrolments have declined over the past five years, they remain strong. 

In 2005, St Joachim’s provides a Catholic education from Kindergarten to Year 6 for 335 boys and girls from 42 nationalities. 

Early Principals unknown 
Sr Francis Xavier Amsinck rsj 1888-89 
Sr Mechtilde McNamara rsj 1890-91 
Sr Bede Gunn rsj 1892-94 
Sr Austin O’Meara rsj 1895 
Sr Phillipa Callaghan rsj 1896-1900
 Sr Hilda Descovich rsj 1901-04 
Sr Julia Donnelly rsj 1905 
Sr Gertrude Hayman rsj 1906 
Sr Laurence O’Brien rsj 1907 
Sr Helena O’Sullivan rsj 1908-16 
Sr Clarus Hurley rsj 1917 
Sr Hilary rsj 1918 
Sr Columbanus Considine rsj 1919-25 
Sr Albeus Boland rsj 1926-27
 Sr Berchmans Carroll rsj 1928-32 
Sr Giuseppe Omodei rsj 1933-38 
Sr Fulgentius Duffy rsj 1939-45 
Sr Vitalis Buckley rsj 1946-51 
Sr Giuseppe Omodei rsj 1952 
Sr Inigo Ryan rsj 1953 
Sr Idus Whitty rsj 1954-59 
Sr Pancratius Dowling rsj 1960-65 
Sr Kevin Furlong rsj 1966-71 
Sr Catherine Histon rsj 1972-77 
Sr Patricia Mary Clement rsj 1978-79 
Sr Helen Therese (Peter) Cooke rsj 1980-84 
Ms Jeanne Pestana 1985-89 
Mr Peter Hughes 1990-97
 Ms Colleen Adams (Acting) 1998 
Mr Warren Hopley 1999-2006 May 
Mr Peter Watkins (Acting) 2006 May-Dec

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