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History

History of St JeromesSt Jerome’s Primary School has a long history that is firmly rooted in the Cockburn area.

Some 80 years ago, in 1935, St Jerome’s Primary School’s first classes were conducted in the church on the corner of Rockingham Road and Edeline Street, Spearwood. In 1978, the School was relocated to its present site on the corner of Troode Street and Rockingham Road, Munster and has grown to a diverse, three-stream school catering from children from 3YO Kindergarten to Year 6.

In the early 1990s, St Jerome’s Primary School was a pilot school for an innovative administration structure that is widely used in Catholic primary schools today. This innovation sought to alleviate the burgeoning stress on principals and to delegate decision making amongst staff.

Timeline

1935
  • St Jerome’s Primary School first established, corner Rockingham Road and Edeline Street, Spearwood, next to the old St Jerome’s church where classes were conducted in the church.
  • The School was run by the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition and the sisters generously shared whatever they had with the children. There was no running water or electricity but despite the hardships, the school progressed well.
  • It was documented that the first school was very culturally mixed. Parents paid sixpence a week for their child’s education but fruit, vegetables, milk, meat or bread were accepted in lieu of school fees.
1939
  • There was confidence among the local community with enrolments growing to 71 students.
1950
  • The church verandah was converted into a classroom to accommodate growing numbers.
1951
  • Archbishop Prendiville visited the school, accelerating progress towards building a new school next to the church.
1955
  • St Jerome’s first school was built next to the church and opened with 131 students enrolled.
1955
  • First lay Principal was appointed, Mr Eric Chidlow and developed today’s school motto based on the sisters; emblem of wisdom, fortitude and charity.
1978
  • Due to growth, a new site was chosen and site works on a new school began. That site is St Jerome’s Primary School current location, the corner of Troode Street & Rockingham Road, Munster.
1979
  • Senior students moved to the new location.
1980
  • All students co-located to the current site.
  • A Year 5 student Gino Landro won a school design competition. His design is today still incorporated in St Jerome’s Primary School crest.
1986
  • Enrolment numbers of 214 in 1981 blossomed to 423 by 1986.
  • Principal Chidlow moved onto CEOWA and Mrs Patsy Runge took up the principalship.
1988
  • First pre-primary class opened.
1990
  • St Jerome’s became a second-stream school.
1991
  • A further pre-primary class takes St Jerome’s to a three-stream school.
  • Under the new administration structure, Principal Patsy Runge was joined by Mr Brendan Spillane (Assistant Principal – Administration) and Mr Mark de Kluyver (Assistant Principal – Religious Education).
1995
  • Mr Martin Loney was appointed Principal.
2001
  • Mr Tim Emery was appointed Principal.
2012
  • Mrs Helen O’Toole appointed and current Principal.

Further historical reading is available: Cosmopolitan Catholics: A History of St Jerome’s Primary School by Michael Murphy