In 1950 the two Parishes of Ngaio and Khandallah combined and were renamed Onslow Parish as the majority of area was in the Onslow Borough. Father Tim O’Brien was appointed Parish Priest and was given the job of developing a Junior School in the area.
The current site in Nicholson Road was purchased in 1952 and on Sunday 7th September of the same year, the new school was officially opened by His Grace Archbishop P McKeefry. The school cost 12,000 pounds and the first classes began on Wednesday 10th September with 152 pupils.
The school catered for infants to Standard 6 level children until 1966 when, due to a lack of classrooms, the junior school was closed. In 1972, the junior classes returned and Standard 5 and 6 classes were diverted to other schools. The boys were sent to Wilton Marist and girls were sent to Sacred Heart in Guilford Terrace.
The Brigidine Sisters provided all the early Principals and teachers. Mother Killian was the first Principal and was assisted by Sister Ita and Sister Rose. She saw the school through its first term and was followed by Sister Colman (1953-54), Mother Baptiste (1955 to 1971), Sister Margaret (1973) and Sister Adrian in 1976. The first lay principal was Mr Tony O’Riordan (1974-75), followed by Mr Peter Corrigan in 1977, then Mrs Natalie Brockie (1988-2003), then Mrs Rosemaire Ellis (2003-2013), Mr Dave Lamont (2014-2017) and our current Principal, Mr Michael Hinds since 2018.
The students soon out grew the accommodation and in February 1980, Cardinal Tom Williams, then Archbishop officially opened four new classrooms, staffroom and library.
In 1981, St Benedict’s became integrated with the State School Education System.
In 1994 the new library was built and with continued roll growth, our facilities were further developed with the addition of a new classroom, music resource room, reading recovery room and library office.
February 2002 saw the completion of a new Administration block, staffroom and classroom changes, with extensive improvements to the school grounds also completed in 2002.
St Benedict’s has a rich history which is intertwined with the parish, community families, teaching staff and pupils to provide a nurturing environment based on gospel values as the original founders would have wished. St Benedict’s celebrated its 50th Jubilee in 2002.
Continuing along the path of milestones and achievements, our current successes include:
- Tui Block built and officially opened in 2015 (there are now 13 classrooms in total)
- A HoK-funded Junior Playground (2017)
- Seismic strengthening of the school (2018)
- Working bees held, external art work added and vegetable gardens created (2018)
- The school purchased life size Values’ pencils to signal what our school stands for and typifies when walking on to the school’s grounds each day (2018)
- A back-bank Nature Walk and Skink Garden opened (2018)
- A backdrop and stage area in front of the amphitheatre to encourage public speaking, dance, drama and acting (2018)
- Re-carpeting of the top floor classrooms and library (2019)
- Lino laid in the top floor classrooms, hallway, stairwell and foyer (2019)
- Art work around the school for aesthetics and student voice (2019)
- A new Reading Recovery room (2020)
- Installing a sink and running water for Room 2 (2020)
- Anti-slip surfacing on the decked area linking the school’s building and Tui block (2020)
- New storage units constructed the main corridor, library and library back rooms while space becomes a premium. (2020)
- Main corridor carpeted (2021)
At the end of 2018, 2019 and 2020 the student roll reached all-time highs of 294, 305 and 308 students respectively. In 2021 the school’s roll will likely be full.
In 2019, A joint partnership between HOK and the school’s Board funded the turfing of the top field which has added significant value. Never before has the top field seen so much use by so many students; from reading to gymnastics, tag to football – there’s something for everyone, including community use too.
In Term 4 of 2019 and over the summer holidays, the ADW committed to a significant re-build of the school’s offices, main foyer and front entrance. These areas were re-roofed, restructured and modernised for ease of access, water tightness and for future proofing. The middle and top floor toilet areas were also redesigned and revamped much to the delight of staff, students and visitors.
In 2020 the school is commencing fundraising in order to undertake a number of ambitious projects; examples include: a covered and surfaced netball/tennis court area, a cross for the school’s front-facing exterior wall, and repair work to the front entrance rock wall and a new playground – the latter HoK are supportive of.
The school is set to start 2021 with over 300 students, a first for the school which under its current leadership, is showing no signs of letting up. It’s a great time to be part of St Benedict’s School, a school soon to be full!