About Us

Patron Saint of Punchbowl Parish and School

“To Know the Scriptures is to know Christ” - St Jerome

St Jerome was born in about 347 AD and was baptised during his student days in Rome. He studied Hebrew and Greek throughout his life.

In 379 he went to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and from 382 to 284 he was secretary to Pope Damasus in Rome. When he finished his duties the Pope set him the task of making a new translation of the Bible into Latin.

St Jerome returned to the East and established a monastery in Bethlehem, where he lived and worked until his death on 20 September 420 AD.

Feast Day: 30 September - Patron Saint of Punchbowl Parish and School - Patron Saint of Librarians

History

Punchbowl was initially part of the parish of Bankstown. A church/school was built at Punchbowl in 1933 with the support of a local Catholic Committee, and this building served as the school until 1949. Fr Eris O’Brien, Parish Priest of Bankstown, arranged for the Sisters of St Joseph, who had a convent and school at Bankstown, to staff St Jerome’s. The first Principal was Sr Anslem Glynn rsj and the first term saw an average attendance of 129 primary school boys and girls.

In 1935 St Jerome’s became a separate parish, with Fr Walter Clarke as the first Parish Priest. It was a very large parish in a growing residential suburb and for some years would extend to East Hills, Revesby and Lugarno. In 1935 the school had about 290 pupils and grew to about 440 in 1950. The old school-church could not cope, and so a new school and hall were built in 1949 on the same parish block. The new wing would later be called O’Brien House, after Fr Eris O’Brien, who by then had been promoted to be Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn.

In 1959 a second story of five classrooms was installed. This was just in time, because enrolments reached 695 in 1960 – in spite of the fact that from 1954, boys from fourth to sixth class were directed to St John’s School at Lakemba. The St Jerome’s pupils were taught by eight Sisters and two lay teachers, meaning that there must have been an average of 70 per class. All this when there was no government funding!

Conditions improved from the late 1960s as government funding began and allowed for the employment of an increasing proportion of lay teachers. Enrolments dropped to about 600 and remained around this mark into the 1990s. In the 1970s the old church hall was remodelled to become the Kindergarten section, and in 1985 government funding allowed for classrooms and offices to be added to O’Brien House. The new area was named the Clarke Wing after the first parish priest. Finally, a 1996 development utilised a few bricks, a light and a cross from the 1933 church-school as a link with the early years. This MacKillop Centre contains the library, administration and staff facilities.

St Jerome’s has always been a primary school catering for Kindergarten to Year 6. From 1995 boys continued to Year 6, so that the school returned to be fully co-educational.

In 2003 Sr Barbara Bochat stepped down as Principal and so ended a wonderful era of Sisters of St Joseph in the leadership role at St Jerome’s. Leadership was handed over to Mrs Christine McRae. Today the school continues to operate within the Archdiocese of Sydney school system administered by the Sydney Catholic Education Office, Sydney.