St Mary’s has been an important part of the Maryborough Community for over 150 years. The first Catholic school here opened in 1858 and was the beginnings of the school we now refer to as St Mary’s Primary, although it was not known by that name. This makes St Mary’s the oldest still operating Catholic School in Queensland.
The school was staffed by lay people until 1870 when the first Sisters arrived. With the canonization of Mother Mary MacKillop as Australia’s first Saint, it is pleasing for us to note that the first sisters to come to Maryborough were actually Sisters of St Joseph (or Josephite Sisters), the order of nuns founded by Mary. However, in 1879, the Sisters were withdrawn, at the time of Mary’s excommunication from the church. It is very likely that Mary visited Maryborough and we have recently discovered that there are two Sisters of St Joseph buried in the Maryborough Cemetery.
In 1880, the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Maryborough and took over the school. The present convent and school were opened and blessed by Archbishop Dunne on 27 August, 1893. By 1900 there were 328 girls and infants being taught by nine sisters. For many years, St Mary’s educated the young children and girls of the parish while the boys were educated by the Christian Brothers on the site of St Mary’s College. This continued until 1979 when the two schools amalgamated and formed separate, co‐educational Primary and Secondary schools.
St Mary’s has a 'tradition of excellence' and this is evident through the long history of the school and the excellent achievements of our students in all academic, sporting, cultural and spiritual pursuits. St Mary’s students often score among the best results in the district in National Literacy and Numeracy testing (NAPLAN). They are well represented at both zone and district regions in many different sports. The school band and the strings ensemble perform creditably in local eisteddfods and the students are very active in outreach and social justice activities.
St Mary’s Primary School offers all students an affordable, quality Christian education in the Catholic tradition. We are proud of our students, community and of our heritage and we invite you to be a part of the St Mary's family.
© Brisbane Catholic Education St Mary's Primary Maryborough (2023)