Our School

In the 1950s there was a great increase in the Catholic population of Sydney, and this led to the creation of the new parish of St Joseph the Worker, Auburn South in 1961. Fr Kevin McGovern, the first Parish Priest, saw to the beginning of St Joseph the Worker Infants’ School in January 1962 with forty pupils and Mrs Esther McGhee as first Principal. In 1963 Miss Judith McPherson joined the staff teaching 40 pupils in Kindergarten while Mrs McGhee had 31 in First Class. In this difficult period without government funding, a new school could be established only through the sacrifices of the Catholic community. Mothers and Fathers Clubs were formed to help galvanise the fundraising efforts at South Auburn.

A lay Principal was most unusual in Catholic schools in the 1960s, and in 1964 the Sisters of Charity, who conducted schools in the adjoining Auburn parish, took charge. A new wing was built and classes were extended to Fourth Class. By 1969 enrolments had reached 200, and have remained close to that number until 1999. By 1981 classes had advanced to Year 6, so that the school became co-educational from Kindergarten to Year 6. St Joseph’s is part of the Catholic School system managed by the CEO, Sydney.

The Sisters of Charity continued to provide a Principal until 1987. Commencing in 1988, Mrs Mary Andrew was appointed as the first lay Principal by the CEO.

Development continued in the 1990s with the purchase of an adjacent block of land, allowing extension of playground space. In 1997-98 a new administration and library block were built, the grounds were landscaped, and the school buildings were completely refurbished.

In May 2002 a 40th anniversary celebration was held in recognition of the contribution made by the Sisters of Charity to the community at South Auburn.

Past Principals

  • 1962-63: Mrs McGhee
  • 1964-72: Sr Antonita Duthy rsc
  • 1973 Jan.–May: Sr Margaret Fitzgerald
  • 1973 May-1980: Sr Anne Louise Hemingway
  • 1981-87: Sr Karan Varker
  • 1988-93: Mrs Mary Andrew
  • 1994-2000: Miss Deslie Craigie
  • 2001-2003: Mr Brian Laybutt
  • 2004-2010: Mrs Karen Eldridge
  • 2010-2015: Mr John Kennedy
  • 2016-present: Mrs Gai Melville

Source: 'St Mary's to St Catherine's,' Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Sydney.