St Bede’s School

St Bede's school opening 9 May 1924

A list of denominational schools in the Catholic Directory in 1858 named a Mrs Mortimer as the school-mistress in Pyrmont. This first school was conducted in rented premises at 59 Pyrmont Street, near Union Street (Sands Directory, 1863). It was damaged by fire during the building of St Bede’s in 1867. A makeshift weatherboard building was erected next to the sandstone church. In 1871 there were 45 boys and 31 girls at the school, with classes for boys separated from those for girls. The weatherboard building was demolished in 1880 and a new one on brick foundations opened in 1881 .  

When government funding of denominational (religious) schools ended in 1882, the Good Samaritan order of nuns took over the staffing of the school. Two sisters walked from their convent in Pitt Street where Central Railway Station now stands to St Bede’s every day. In 1892 St Francis Xavier School, also staffed by the Good Samaritans, opened in Ultimo.

A new brick school was built in 1924, replacing the 1880 weatherboard building. It closed in 1954, ending almost 100 years of Catholic education in Pyrmont. The children were offered places at St Francis Xavier’s in Ultimo, which closed in 1973.

Sources

  • Colin Fowler, 150 Years on Pyrmont peninsula: the Catholic community of Saint Bede 1867-2017