The Story of
St Anthony’s Marsfield
St. Anthony’s church/school was opened on the 24th June,
Due to the large number of Italian families living in Marsfield
in the 1930’s, it was decided to name the Parish after one of
their most popular saints – St. Anthony in Padua.
The school was run by the Sisters of Mercy who travelled
each day from their convent in Ryde.
It was described as ‘….a typical country school with about 10
The classrooms were incorporated in the Church School
complex which today is used as the Parish Hall.
Desks were packed away daily to allow for morning mass
and then rearranged for lessons during the day.
In 1939 the Daughters of Charity agreed to take over the
staffing of the school as they were to establish a convent and
nursing home in the area.
During this time enrolments increased to about 50 – 60
students. Classes were held in the church/school and a shed
in the grounds.
During 1950, the first school building for the Primary classes
was erected, by voluntary labour, adjacent to the
1952 saw two classrooms
added to the first building.
A second school building was
built in 1960 consisting of three
classrooms, an office, a music
room and a tuck shop.
The cost of new buildings was always kept low because of the
generosity of parishioners.
They were farmers and trades people. They would go from
their daily work to the school and put in another couple of
hours work each night.
The oval took a long time to complete. It sloped from the tennis
courts to Balaclava Rd. With the help of P&F and parish funds
this great facility was completed. It was dedicated to Father
Other works undertaken in this era were the tennis courts and
clubhouse, the Father Harper Memorial Field in 1969 and the
(Apart from the toilet block and the church, all building projects
were carried out, for the most part, by the voluntary labour of
The building of the church in 1969 enabled the
old church to be used as classrooms to cater for
The school was always largely funded by the Parish.
The Parish always came to the rescue with money
A further school building was commenced in
December 1976 consisting of 4 classrooms, tuck
shop and large covered areas.
• 1970 saw the employment of lay teachers. They were well
trained and brought a vitality to the school.
• Lay teachers had actually been employed in the 1960’s but
they were mainly ex-religious.
• To pay the early lay teachers the Daughters would sell empty
beer bottles to raise money.
•At this stage the Daughters decided to begin
withdrawing from education. Marsfield was
becoming quite wealthy and a different type of poor
was emerging in society.
• The Daughters became more involved in Pastoral
Care in the local community, assisting the
homeless, looking after the disabled and other
general work in the Parish.
1984 was the Golden Jubilee and a time of great celebration.
In September 1985 the Daughters announced their withdrawal
from St. Anthony’s school effective from the end of 1986. (This
was a time of great sadness. The Daughters had been the
backbone of St. Anthony’s.)
Sr Aileen & Sr Ann
Sister Maguire wrote… ‘St. Anthony’s has a good parent body.
Many are well educated and already involved in the day-to-day
running of the school.
It is time for the Daughters to move on……mission accomplished!’
•Since 1986 St. Anthony’s has been run by CEO Sydney.
• The first lay principal was Ms Jeannie Hunt.(1987-1991)
•Mrs. Mary L’Estrange was principal from 1992 – 1997. During
this time St. Anthony’s celebrated its Diamond Jubilee.
Mrs. Edna Wilde, Fr. Michael Walsh, Brother Kelvin Canavan,
Mary L’Estrange John Howard
Ms Margaret Woods was the Principal from 1998 – 2005.
It was under her leadership that saw the planning for the
upgrade of the parish school.
The project was completed in September 2006. Mr. David
Keen was the Interim Principal during 2006.
•The Upgrade involved renovating existing buildings, building an
Administration Block, new Library and new Toilet Block.
•The cost of the Upgrade was $4 million.
•During construction, St Anthony's School continued to operate
in demountable classrooms located on the oval.
Staff and students occupied the newly refurbished school in
term 4 of 2006.
The Parish Primary School owes its origin to the dedicated
work of the Sisters of Mercy and the Daughters of Charity.
We recall the history and charism and we acknowledge its
importance to our identity today.
In 2007 Ms Julianne Rook commenced as Principal at St.
Our School Motto – LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE
The circle – a symbol of wholeness and eternity.
‘t’ – the ‘t’ is a symbol of light (the t is drawn both as a star and a
cross representing Bethlehem and Calvary.)
The words “St Anthony’s Marsfield” are within a circle of light
indicating our school and community living in the light of Jesus.
Days Gone By
Year 6 - 1975
And now, the present…….Book Week Activities
Fetes Grandparent’s Day
Clean Up Australia Day
Pyjama Day Swimming Program
Instrument try outs
The spirit that exists at St. Anthony’s can be directly attributed to
the Daughters of Charity.
Their genuine love for the community they served and sense of
welcome is still present today.
May we continue to “Let Our Light Shine” and keep that spirit