St Joseph’s Catholic College is a Systemic Year 7 to 12 girls college founded by the Sisters of St Joseph.

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St Joseph’s has had a relatively short history, although a significant one. It is part of a Catholic tradition which extends back two thousand years to Christ, but more immediately it can be linked to the traditions of Mary MacKillop’s Sisters of St Joseph and their efforts to educate the children of the working class families of Australia.

In 1910 the Sisters of St Joseph opened their first ‘school’ called Our Lady of the Rosary School in the church located in Donnison Street Gosford. The principal was Sister Dennis. In 1930 Our Lady of the Rosary School began classes in the old presbytery and the Sisters began referring to the school as St Joseph’s Convent School.

By 1950, 200 students attended St Joseph’s Convent School and classes went from Kindergarten to Intermediate and were taught by four nuns. In 1953 Sr Vianney Lonergan (Lonergan House is named after her) arrived and introduced subjects for the Leaving Certificate so students could matriculate to university.

In 1955 Commercial Studies was a very popular course for girls who would then sit an external exam in typing and shorthand. During this time the school’s first lay teacher: Mrs Brighton was employed to teach needlework and sewing. The St Joseph’s Convent School site (the old presbytery) was very overcrowded so the decision was made to move to East Gosford. Fr McManus, the Parish Priest bought a former orchard bound by Victoria St, York St and Henry Parry Drive where the Church now stands. More land was purchased in 1959 and in 1960 a new school opened with Sr Vianney Lonergan as its first Principal.

In 1961 Sr Maria Joseph Tacey (Tacey House is named after her) became principal until 1969. In 1963 the first Leaving Certificate class of 7 girls sat for exams in English, Maths, Physics, Biology, Modern History, Geography and French. Most girls left school after Intermediate and went on to study the commercial courses taught at the school.

In 1967 following the changes brought about by the Wyndham Scheme, a separate school was built on the south side of York Street. This school was for Years 7 to 10 only and the name was changed to St Joseph’s High School. Sr Marie Joseph was Principal.

In 1970, Sr Vianney returned as Principal. Over the next few years it became apparent that the six classrooms were inadequate to meet the needs of the expanding central coast population and so in November 1975, the present school in Russell Drysdale Street was blessed and opened by Bishop Muldoon.

Sr Vianney continued as Principal of St Joseph’s until her retirement at the end of 1979. Sr Marie Dewey (Dewey House is named after her) took over as Principal in 1980 to 1984. The Josephite influence on the school continued with the appointment of Sr Madeleine Carroll as Principal from 1985 to 1990. Mr Ross Cleary commenced as the first lay Principal in 1991. The Mary MacKillop spirit continued with the introduction of a Josephite Colloquium for staff by Sr Thomasine Barnes (Barnes House is named after her) who worked in the school administration.

In 1995 Mr Bernard Edwards was appointed Principal and in 1997 a decision was made by the Director of Schools, Broken Bay, to extend the school to Year 12. The first Year 11 students were Enroled in 1999 and 62 students from the school were entered for the HSC in 2000.

The school name was changed once again in 1999 to St Joseph’s Catholic College. The new college crest of ‘STJ’ with stars of Southern Cross introduced. In May 2006 Mr Edwards retired from the college and Mr Stephen Walsh was appointed as the new Principal of the college commencing term 4 2006.

In 2007 the College introduced four core values (compassion, hope, justice, respect) based on Gospel and Josephite values and renamed its 4 houses after the last four Josephite principals (Carroll, Dewey, Lonergan, Tacey). In 2011 two additional houses were formed: Raftery and Barnes houses – after Sr Lyn Raftery and the last Josephite sister in the school Sr Thomasine Barnes.

In 2007 the college also became a member of the Association of Josephite Affiliated Secondary Schools (AJASS) which links secondary schools across Australia and New Zealand who share in the MacKillop charism.

In 2010 the college was represented by Mr Walsh, Mrs Chris Wilkinson Mrs Fiona Green and 14 Year 11 students in Rome for the canonisation of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.

2011 saw the writing of the college prayer, the commissioning of the college song, a redesigned college banner to include the school motto: Act Justly and the blessing of four stained glass windows which depict the story of Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph.

House System

The current college house system, comprising six house groups began in 2012 as a result of further articulating the college CELL framework which aims to strengthen the schools Josephite heritage, enhance the connection of students across and within year groups and encourage greater student and staff engagement in school events and activities.
Each house is named after a Sister of St Joseph who ministered in our East Gosford school community. Each Josephite sister brought with her the strong MacKillop tradition of ‘never seeing a need without doing something about it’ which is a key foundation statement in the college mission of empowering young women to make a difference in the spirit of Mary MacKillop.