NOSTALGIA: Mount St Patricks High School students in front of the Fitzpatrick block which also turns 50 this year.
NOSTALGIA: Mount St Patricks High School students in front of the Fitzpatrick block which also turns 50 this year. Scott Powick

50 years of Mt St Pat memories

FROM Hollywood directors to renowned journalists, memorable moments at Murwillumbah’s Mount St Patrick’s school will be celebrated as part of its golden jubilee celebrations this week.

The 50th anniversary milestone will be marked on Thursday with an 11.15am mass in the adjacent Sacred Heart Church followed by a lunch in the Parish Hall.

A historical book, authored by former principal Tony Daley, will also be launched at the function, containing photos and memories from past teachers and students.

Mount St Patricks High School at Murwillumbah is getting ready to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.
Mount St Patricks High School at Murwillumbah is getting ready to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. Scott Powick

The book contains many an amusing anecdote, including respected Queensland political journalist Cathy Border, who attended between 1977 and 1980, recalling the quiet student “who sat observing all at lunchtime”.

That student – PJ Hogan – would go on to draw on his Tweed heritage to write and direct one of the country’s most famous and loved movies, Muriel’s Wedding.

One room of the school has been dedicated as a heritage showcase with a host of class pictures from the decades on display, plus newspaper cuttings and other historical artefacts.

Mount St Patricks High School students down the years.
Mount St Patricks High School students down the years. Scott Powick

The school opened in 1926 as Mt St Patrick High School, but became known as Mt St Patrick Regional High School in 1966 as a consequence of the Wyndham Scheme educational reforms.

Monday, February 7, 1966 was the historic day when the school’s then new, three-storey, eight classroom building known as the Fitzpatrick Block, was occupied for the first time by 192 students in four year groups following the change.

At a cost of 62,072 pounds, the new building generated quite a buzz in the community, according to Tweed Daily News coverage of the day.

Fast forward 50 years and the school, which changed its name to Mount St Patrick’s College in 1998, now has 734 students years 7 to 12 who will take part in the birthday celebrations.

2016 also marks 90 years since the school opened in 1926.



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