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St Francis Catholic School has a rich history here in Hughenden, stretching all the way back to 1890.
A Catholic school is opened in Hughenden in St Mary’s Church and a verandah is attached to the Church to serve as a classroom. The school is staffed by two women named Miss O’Brien and Nellie Tyrell.
On January 28th, Fr James Cassar calls a meeting of parishioners to announce that the Sisters of the Good Samaritan have agreed to open a school in Hughenden once suitable accommodation has been completed. Thomas Penny donates land in Flinders Street for the construction of a convent for the sisters. It is completed just before the arrival of six Good Samaritan Sisters on October 19th. They arrive to a welcome by Bishop Joseph Higgins and commence teaching the 120 students enrolled at the school on October 22nd. Initially, classes are held in St Mary’s Church, in the presbytery kitchen, and under a bower shed on the school grounds.
During August St Mary’s Church and School is was severely damaged by a cyclone.
St Francis Convent in Hughenden opens boarding facilities, firstly for girls and later for boys. The open back verandah of the convent is enclosed and a back outer staircase built to provide accommodation for the girls. When the boys arrive, an extra room is created on the verandah. Two of the sister’s rooms are later converted into small dormitories and the number of boarders is increased to 16.
On August 10th, the new Sacred Heart Church on the corner of Flinders and Moran Streets is blessed and opened by Bishop Joseph Shiel. The former St Mary’s Church is converted into a dedicated school building.
On November 24th, Bishop Shiel blesses the Foundation Stone for a new St Francis School, which is built by volunteers from the community.
The new St Francis School is blessed and officially opened by Bishop Joseph Shiel from Rockhampton, and Bishop Terence McGuire from the new Diocese of Townsville.
A cement cricket pitch is laid at St Francis Convent School.
Part of the convent is unroofed by a wild storm.
Some of the Sisters of Mercy from St Patrick’s College in Townsville are evacuated to St Francis Convent due to the Second World War.
On June 10th, the Convent School children and Sisters of the Good Samaritan hold a picnic at the Flinders River to celebrate Victory Day.
Extensive work is carried out on St Francis Convent over the school holidays. The verandahs and kitchen are reconstructed and extended. A new laundry block is built, and the building is painted inside and out. The improvements are blessed and officially opened on August 18th.
On October 25th, the Hughenden community begins a series of celebrations commemorating the golden jubilee of the arrival of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan.
In September a series of functions are held in Hughenden to mark 60 years since the arrival of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan. During the first week of September, a concert, a debutante ball and a dinner are all held in the sisters’ honour. A Mass of Thanksgiving is celebrated on September 4th, and the bishop blesses the new kitchen block in St Francis Convent—a jubilee present to the Sisters.
A working bee erects 545 feet of new cyclone fencing in front of St Francis Convent and up to Mowbray Street, the boundary of the school grounds.
Work commences on a new school building, the two tennis courts are sealed with bitumen, and repairs to the fences are repaired.
The new St Francis School building on Flinders Street is blessed and opened by Bishop Hugh Ryan. The old school built in 1930 is now used as a church hall and St Vincent de Paul Centre. Later this year, Premier Frank Nicklin and the Speaker of State Parliament visit St Francis Convent School.
A parents and friends association is formed at St Francis Convent School.
On May 10th, three Good Samaritan Sisters are injured in a serious accident when the vehicle they were travelling in overturns between Charters Towers and Hughenden. With assistance from relief teachers and local volunteers, the school continues to function while the sisters recover from their injuries.
A new water cooler is installed at St Francis Convent School and a new basketball court is built on the foundations of the old church.
On April 4th, the Parents and Friends Association organises a team of 37 volunteers to paint the school.
On May 27th, St Francis Convent School holds a children’s fancy dress ball.
After Easter, Years 6 and 7 from St Francis Convent School visit Delbessi station to watch a shearing team in operation.
On June 29th, St Francis Convent in Hughenden is visited by the new Governor of Queensland, Sir Colin Hannah, and Lady Hannah.
During August, the Hughenden Convent is repaired and repainted by parishioners to thank the Sisters of the Good Samaritan for their 75 years of work in the Parish.
On October 5th and 7th, celebrations marking 75 years since the opening of the Convent and 90 years since the founding of the Hughenden Parish are held.
The number of Good Samaritan Sisters at St Francis Primary School is reduced from four to two.
Sr Judith is welcomed as principal of St Francis School in Hughenden. Later that year a new toilet block is completed at the school and the school canteen renovated.
On September 1st, work begins on a new convent for the Sisters of the Good Samaritan in Hughenden.
On April 4th, a new Convent for the Good Samaritan Sisters at Hughenden is blessed and opened by Bishop Raymond Benjamin. The old convent had been demolished in 1986 to make way for the new building, but the floors and doors from the old convent were reused in the new building.
Sister Ellen Randle is welcomed as principal of St Francis Primary School.
Celebrations to mark the centenary of the arrival of the Good Samaritan Sisters in Hughenden and the opening of St Francis School are held in conjunction with the town’s annual Dinosaur Festival from May 12th to 14th.
Kath Tarttelin is welcomed as the first lay principal of St Francis Catholic Primary School.
Glenda Scrase is welcomed as principal of St Francis Catholic Primary School.
On Friday 7th March, the community holds celebrations to honour the Sisters of the Good Samaritan who are leaving the district after 114 years. Bishop Michael Putney celebrates a Mass at St Francis Catholic Primary School, followed by a dinner provided by the Hughenden Shire Council. In memory of the sisters, a memorial space is set up with pavers displaying the names of all the sisters who had worked or lived in Hughenden over the past 114 years. A centrepiece to the garden is a memorial cross carved from a Poinciana tree that was planted in 1954.
The Governor of Queensland, Penelope Wensley, visits the students at St Francis Catholic Primary School.
Brenton Place is welcomed as principal of St Francis Catholic School.
Allyson Buchanan is welcomed as principal of St Francis Catholic School.
Sharn Greenaway is welcomed as principal of St Francis Catholic School.