Past Pupil looks back as Sacred Heart Primary School Sandgate celebrates 130 years


Past Pupil Dell Rutherford with husband Dale Rutherford at the Sacred Heart Feast Day.​​

Fondly remembering her old school uniform, a navy pinafore with three box pleats, past pupil and former Teacher Dell Rutherford reflects on her time at Sacred Heart Primary School Sandgate as they celebrate 130 years in 2023. 

The Sandgate woman has already written two memoirs about the fifth oldest Catholic school in Brisbane, sharing her love and passion for the school, which was established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1893.  

Dells explains that her own father attended the school in 1910 and she began aged four in 1948.  

“My children also attended the school, and this year my granddaughter Imogen began Prep at Sacred Heart,” she says. 

“It is quite special having four generations educated at Sacred Heart, and I love sharing my memories of the school with Imogen, who was incredibly impressed we were both selected for red house.”  

Thinking back to her early days as a student, Dell says the former boarding school has changed significantly over the years. 

“The school has changed quite a bit since I was there,” she says.  

“When I was little, we had a large playground of grass and stones with just two swings and some balls and skipping ropes as our equipment, but we had so much fun. 

 “It is a big contrast to today where the school has a smaller but very colourful playground which includes a tennis court, basketball and netball courts, an adventure playground, a treehouse play area and a vegetable garden.” 

Dell worked at Sacred Heart for 33 years as a teacher, teacher’s aide, and administration officer.  

“If you add my time as a student and parent, I have been involved with the school for 68 years,” she added. 

“In 2013, I was named the longest standing staff member, and the Sacred Heart school community chose to name the Parish Hall after me. 

“The hall was built in 1959, and at the time we called it the Blue Lagoon. 

“I have lots of fond memories attending the hall for weekly dances with my then-boyfriend, who I later married at Sacred Heart Church Sandgate.” 

Dell says she remembers her father selling dance tickets at the door of the hall and her mother helping prepare the supper.  

“We would have the best time dancing,” she says. 

“With so many fond memories, it was a real honour for the hall to be named the Rutherford Building after me. 

“The hall is now where the Prep classrooms are situated, and it means even more to me now that my granddaughter is in Prep. 

“Seeing the school celebrate 130 years is a marvellous achievement.” 

Sacred Heart Primary School Acting Principal Sarah McDonald described the school as having a “generational history.” 

“It’s great to have this beautiful history at our school and be able to share it for our 130th anniversary,” she says. 

“We love welcoming back families and enjoy new families joining our school community and creating new family traditions. 

“I am extremely proud to be the Principal of such a wonderful school so rich in Brisbane history.” 

The students of Sacred Heart marked their 130th anniversary celebrations on 17 June with old-fashioned fun, including egg and spoon races, dance and band performances, and a bake sale. 

For more information about Sacred Heart Primary School Sandgate and to enrol click here.  

Sacred Heart marked their 130th anniversary celebrations on 17 June with old-fashioned fun.jpg

Sacred Heart Feast Day.

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