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Celebrating 200 years of Catholic education

ST John’s Catholic School students were joined by His Grace Archbishop Julian Porteous, Catholic Education Tasmania executive directive Dr Gerard Gaskin and honoured guests to celebrate 200 years of Catholic education in Australia.

The afternoon on 12 February included a ritual prayer, afternoon tea and classroom activities as students launched a year of reflection, song and prayer for the millions of past and present students educated in Catholic schools across the country.

The theme for the bicentenary is ‘Faith in the future’ as Catholic schools share their stories, snapshots of the past and hopes for the future over the upcoming year.

St John’s Catholic School is the oldest Catholic school in Tasmania.

Father Thomas Butler, who led the Richmond Parish at the time, felt there should be a school for Catholic children and set about creating a school for the children to be “brought up in the faith.”

Father Butler engaged the services of Michael O’Keefe to establish and run the St John’s from the first school day in 1843.

Since then, the school has been enriched by the presence of the Presentation Sisters, the Sisters of St. Joseph and a range of lay staff.

The school started off with 20 pupils and now educates 348 students from kindergarten to grade six.

St John’s Catholic School’s charism, history and dedication to welcoming all and ‘loving one another’ as featured in their motto, continues to be a focus today as St John’s celebrates 178 years of Catholic education – a significant part of the national story and Richmond community.

Further activities to enhance the national celebrations for St John’s Catholic School this year will include a feature in the national song and film experiences, participation in Catholic Education week activities, and an opportunity for families past and present to share their stories and memories.

St John’s will also be sharing their timeline nationally with interactive experiences, stories and firsthand accounts, as they share with pride, their long history educating in the Catholic faith.