A short history of St Andrew’s School
In the records of the Catholic Historical Society in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, mention is made of a Catholic school in Wyndham (Werribee) in 1868 and again in 1874 when 50 children were on the roll. Local records tell us that in August, 1877, Mr. Kearns, the Catholic school-master left because the parishioners found it difficult to maintain him. A send-off at which many were present was accorded him. Another teacher was found to replace him. Mr. J.J. Doherty was for a time the head teacher of the school, resigning on 4th August, 1902, to establish the Wyndham College, a non-denominational school, which, however, functioned for only a year.
In 1908, Father Heany obtained the services of two teachers, Mr. Reardon and Miss Annit Maher, who commenced a Catholic school in the bluestone church. In 1909 the Parish invited the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart to take over the administration of the school. The first Sisters, Sr. Liguori O’Donnell, Sr. Raphael McGuane and Sr Gervase Vaughan commenced teaching in the bluestone Church in 1910.
The first school building, consisting of 3 classrooms, 2 cloakrooms and a spare room used by the man who cleaned the school, was built in Greaves Street, opposite the church, in 1920, and blessed and opened on the 4th September, 1921, by His Grace, Archbishop Mannix. These classrooms are still in use. They include the area known as Room 3 – St. Andrew’s Room, which is also used by the Parish. Construction of two new classrooms and a cloakroom begun in 1949 were completed in 1950. Another three classrooms were added in 1957 and portable classrooms were obtained from time to time, mainly from Maryknoll, as student numbers increased. When the convent in Mortimer Street was opened, the original convent was demolished and four portables were placed on that site during the Christmas vacation of 1971-1972. Bricks from the old convent were used as a veneer on these rooms to somewhat enhance their appearance. In 1974, the Commonwealth Government supplied the school with a portable classroom for the instruction of migrant children.
In 1976, the school, one of the few schools selected by the Whitlam Government for the Pilot Schools Library Scheme, was given a grant to provide building, furniture and furnishings, books, equipment and non-bookmaterials for a School Resource Centre. This building, was blessed by Fr. O’Loughlin, and opened officially by Senator Missen on 1st May, 1977.
A new building complex consisting of administration block, 3 classrooms and a multi-purpose area, partially funded by the Commonwealth Government, was completed in July, 1980. Other improvements included renovation of toilet blocks and the construction of a storage area.
1995 saw the addition of four new classrooms, teacher preparation areas and a seminar room. The Library and student toilets were also refurbished to bring them up to a satisfactory standard.
A new playground was built for the senior children in an area that was occupied by portable classrooms before the building program of 1995. Further works were undertaken in 2006, these including underpinning and refurbishment of the original 1920’s building along with refurbishment of the 1950’s classrooms and removal of the last two Portable Classrooms from the school site.
Major building developments occurred in 2009 & 2010 as a result of the Federal Government’s School Pride Program and Building the Education Revolution. These projects saw a refurbishment of the Student Toilet Block and the construction of the Sports Centre.