The History of Our School

From humble beginnings as a tiny school, accommodating only 33 students at its outset in 1911, St Brigid's has quickly gained popularity, attracting a reputation for its individual and progressive approach to teaching and learning. Recent years have seen enrolments grow to full capacity and St Brigid's now boasts a maximum of 300 hundred students, with the majority of families situated in Mordialloc.

CELEBRATING 100 YEARS 1911-2011

 

 St. Brigid’s commenced as a two-room school on January 23, 1911. Mother Agnes was the first principal and was assisted by two Brigidine nuns, Sisters Stanislaus O'Keane and Ignatius Howell from Kilbreda College, Mentone. They travelled by steam train daily from Mentone to Mordialloc where they were met by students who carried their cases to school.

The school had 33 students – 23 boys and 10 girls. Many students had long walks to school and came from as far away as Edithvale, Mentone and the Braeside countryside. There were three classes – Prep, Grade 1 and 2; Grade 3, 4 and 5; Grade 6, 7 and 8. The building was used as a church, hall and school.

Family details of students enrolled at St. Brigid's School in the early days gives an insight into the lifestyles and occupations of those living in the area. Occupations listed on the first register include: farmer, carpenter, plumber, blacksmith, horse trainer, jockey, stableman, boat builder, naval officer, boarding house owner, porter, hairdresser, tailor, scavenger and traveller.

The first registry book of St Brigid’s contained columns with students’ names, family details and a column for remarks. Following are some of the remarks:

  • In 1898 Lea Graham of Barkly Street, Mordialloc was born – he was the first student enrolled at St Brigid’s School
  • James Horsley was the 4th student to be enrolled at St Brigid’s – James walked three miles to school and home again every day
  • John O’Brien was the 10th student enrolled and his dad was a horse trainer.
  • Hilda, Cornelious and Francis’ dad was a scavenger
  • Lesley Watson came and left in the same year – an irregular attendee.
  • John Garrard, an ex-student, was accidently killed in WW2
  • Anthony Dundon, who started in Grade 1 in 1919 drowned in the Murray River floods in 1959
  • Ex-student, Madge Brown, 1913 to 1920 became a Brigidine nun
  • William Brown, who attended St Brigid’s in the 1920’s became a priest
  • William McKendry’s mother died and as a result the children scattered
  • John Pompei, son of a fisherman, went to St Brigid’s in the 1930’s and his family remained at St. Brigid’s well into the 1970’s
  • Victor Foxall, Grade 6, 1934, was a splendid boy
  • Nellie Murphy of Chute Street, in Grade 2 in 1936 was a clever little girl
  • Richard Garrard, who attended St Brigid’s from 1916 became a world famous wrestler

With constant staff changes in the school’s early years, the School Inspector appealed to Archbishop Mannix for more continuity of personnel. This led to the appointment of Mother Carmel in 1917 who was to remain until 1962 – 46 years of dedicated service to St Brigid’s School.

The first Mass at St Brigid’s was celebrated in the hall on Christmas Day 1910. Priests from the Mentone Parish celebrated Mass on Sunday until 1949 when Mordialloc was made a separate parish. The first mass at St Brigid’s Church was celebrated on October 28, 1956.

In 1953 further land was purchased for the school and the Albert Wing (four classrooms and a tuck shop) was built in 1959. The Albert Wing was blessed and opened on Palm Sunday 1960 by His Lordship, Bishop Fox, who was then Auxiliary Bishop to His Grace Dr. Mannix. Five more classrooms were added to the Albert Wing in 1973 and the old building used as a church, hall and school was demolished in 1978. In 1996 the Barkly Wing comprising five portable classrooms was constructed to accommodate the growing enrolments and in 1998 the Performing Arts Centre connected the two buildings together. In 2004 the Barkly Wing was demolished and new classrooms with teacher resource rooms were built and in 2007 the Albert Wing was refurbished. In 2010 the school received $2 million from the Federal Government under Building the Education Revolution (BER) funding and added two new modern classrooms, a multi-purpose hall with adjoining resource rooms, a visual arts room, modern student amenities, a tuckshop, a uniform shop, new rainwater tanks and improved grounds.

Principals covering the history of St Brigid’s include: Mother Agnes, Mother Carmel, Mother Declan, Sister Leonie, Sister Breda (renamed Sr Maree), Sister Justine Power, Sister Mary Brady, Sister Ged Lannan, Mrs Ann Korab, the first lay principal (1991 – 2001), Mrs Noela Hyams and Mrs Annemarie Harrison (both acting principals) and Mrs Kate Watson.
 

129 Albert Street Mordialloc 3195 Victoria Tel: 03 9580 4518 Fax: 03 9580 6432 Send us an e-mail