160 stories to celebrate 160 years of Catholic education at St Mary’s Primary School Ipswich



One of Brisbane Catholic Education’s (BCE) oldest primary schools, St Mary’s Primary School Ipswich, is celebrating their 160th anniversary this year 

To help share the story of their long and significant history they are calling on the community of Ipswich and beyond to submit their recollections or stories of the school to help them create a mosaic of 160 memories.’ 

St Mary’s Primary School Principal Christopher Bartlett said the school had come far from its humble beginnings in 1863 when the Sisters of Mercy, led by Mother Vincent Whitty, arrived by paddle steamer on the Bremer River to teach the children at the settlement.  

They were later joined by the Christian Brothers in 1892, who arrived by steam train to support the establishment of schools in the area. 

“As we reflect on our 160 years of dedication to social justice and academic excellence, I recognise our school history has brought us to this point today,” he said. 

“Today our school is a thriving faith-filled learning community of 567 students, united by a common purpose to embrace social justice and promote positive change within our community in the spirit of Mercy and Christian Brothers tradition.” 

The Principal said that for 160 years the school has been a beacon of hope for many within our community, embodying the essence of a Catholic education. 

“Our students have proudly stood up for social justice, not just within the Ipswich community, but also for those in our most vulnerable communities worldwide,” he said. 

They have raised thousands of dollars for Caritas Australia, Sew Empower Inc, Catholic Mission, and St Vincent De Paul Society Queensland 

We will continue to empower our students to become socially conscious and responsible citizens now, and into the future.” 

At St Mary’s, stories are woven into the heritage walls, corridors, and hearts of the generations of students who have walked through the school’s front gates 

The written contributions of community members to this history will undoubtedly inspire and foster a deeper appreciation for the lasting impact of a St Mary’s Primary School education,” he added. 

The Principal asked that those who could contribute a story should email their stories and photographs to: pipswich@bne.catholic.edu.au.

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