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History

In the Beginning - 1929

The history of St Anthony's School, Kedron began in St Anthony's School, North End, Boston, USA.   Sister Agnella tells the story:

It was October, 1929.  The school children had departed. The classroom was empty and silent,  I was preparing the next day's work.  A Sister came to the door and said, "Mother wants you".  Being young, just twenty, and not yet one year professed, I wondered where I had slipped up and what was coming to me by way of reprimmand.  Mother M. Elise was waiting.  Gently, and very slowly she explained that a letter from the Mother General had brought me an appointment to Brisbane, Australia.  To her surprise the news left me cool and calm.  That was because Australia meant nothing to me.  I didn't know anything about that continent except  that it was a long way off and Irishmen had been sent there as convicts.  I went back to the classroom.

In another convent, in Savannah, Georgia, Sister Mary Dympna Ahearn had got her letter and was told to prepare for the long journey to Australia.

The two of us were to travel with Mother M. Scholatica, the Vicaress General of the Order.  That knowledge gave me confidence.  I knew her well. She was a dynamic, out-going person who made friends easily."
In October, 1923, the first Chuch had been opened in Kedron, then part of the Wooloowin parish, and by 1929, when the Friars arrived, the Catholic population of Kedron was about 400 persons.  There were 69 Catholic children attending State schools at Glen Kedron and Stafford.  Archbishop Duhig had expressed a hope that a school could be established in the Kedron parish.

The Friars and parishioners set about with their preparations.  Land had to be bought for the school, Sisters had to be found to teach at the school, a Convent found for their accomodation, and the school built.   The Firars offered to vacate the Presbytery for the Sisters when they arrived, and set about building a Friary.
Father Fidelis Griffin, then Commissionary Provincial of the Order, was anxious to get Franciscan nuns to teach at the new school.  He appealed to the Mother General of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters in Rome, for help.  She accepted at once, and the result was the letters received by Sisters Agnella and Dympna.
Next, land had to be found for the school.  Opposite the Church and Presbytery, in Turner Road, was a vacant three acre block. The Brisbane City Council had recently resumed this block of land for a quarry.  Alderman Keogh, a friend of Father Fidelis, approached the Council on behalf of the parish.  The Council agreed to sell the land for 3000 pounds.

The school was designed by Mr H. G. Sydes.  Jack Schmid, then of Somerset Road, was the builder.  Locally made bricks were used. The cost was 2000 pounds.

The School Opens - 1930-1939

On 26th January, 1930, ten days after the Sisters arrived in Kedron, the school opened.  Sister Agnella remembers:

Came the day, cloudy - with occasional showers.  Rain we needed to dampen the awful dust.  We did not have much to do with the preparations.  The parishioners worked long and hard, enjoying the excitement.  At three o'clock the Archbishop and clergy arrived.  Then the blessing of the Convent and a procession to the school nearby followed.  There were long speeches and much applause.

Mother M.Scholatica soon returned to America, but Sisters Agnella and Dympna were joined, in March, by Sister Mary Jarlath and Sister Isadore with Sister Bernadette, Sister Agnella's sister, arriving the next year. 

On the first day of school, eighty pupils enrolled.  These ranged from Infants to Grade 5.  In these early days there was no set school fees although school money was handed over every Monday morning.  It was generally 6d or 1/- a week, depending on what the family could afford.  This money supported the Sisters and also provided basic equipment for the school.

In 1933 the school had reached its full complement of 7 Grades plus Infants. 

Across Somerset Rd was a majetic house then owned by Howard Robbins.  This house stands on the land orginally purchased by Michaell Fox for 11 pound.  The house is called Delamore and when occupied by the Parry-Okendens, it was one of Brisbane's social centres.

The Sisters wanted to buy the house, but Mr Robbins did not want it sold to the Catholic Church, so he asked the exorbitant price of 13 000 pounds for the house and 11 acres of land.  Using an intermediary, the sisters were able to purchase it for 4 500 pounds, but were not able to take possession until 1939.  The Sisters now had their own home.