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Timeline of Major Events


The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions arrive in Australia.


Springvale is part of the Parish of St Mary’s Dandenong, presided over by Father Thomas Little. Catholic Mass is held in the hall of the Springvale Mechanic’s Institute for the first time in 1932.


Father Sylvester Keane is appointed as the first parish priest of St Joseph’s, Springvale, and immediately recognises the need for Catholic education in the area. He secures the help of the Oakleigh-based order of Our Lady of the Missions in establishing a Catholic school in Springvale.


On 31 October 1937, the completed church-school building is blessed and opened by Archbishop of Melbourne Daniel Mannix.


School classes commence in February with two Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in charge, and 45 children on the official roll. The building is transformed into church for Mass on Sundays.


The parish’s new presbytery is blessed and opened by the Archbishop on 21 January and the first Confirmation ceremony is held for 62 St Joseph’s students.


Father Keane is replaced by Father Timothy O’Sullivan as parish priest. Under his leadership a house system was put in place at the school.


Father Thomas Elliot becomes parish priest and continues to maintain a strong parish community.


The three teaching Sisters are joined by the school’s first lay teacher, Miss Walker.


The school is expanded to accommodate burgeoning post-World War Two enrolments, with a new timber and glass building constructed fronting St Johns Avenue next to the presbytery.


Father Elliott is informed that the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions are no longer able to travel to Springvale from Oakleigh to run the school. He secures the services of the Brigidine Sisters to take over the running of the school.

To commemorate the silver jubilee of the Presentation Sisters in Dandenong in 1937, a grotto was constructed at the convent.


The Brigidine convent and secondary school for girls – Killester College – are opened on Springvale Road. Four Brigidine nuns begin teaching at St Joseph’s Primary School, which by this time has over 350 students on the roll.


Father Noel Coghlan replaces Father Elliott as parish priest and over the next several years the school is developed and expanded with the addition of several new buildings.


Five new classrooms are built and overshoes are introduced into the classrooms, to protect the shiny new hardwood floors.


Two new classrooms are opened, complete with a heating system, electric lighting for each classroom and a hat and a cloak hook for each student.


A new church for St Joseph’s Parish is built on the corner of Buckingham Avenue and St James Avenue.


Mazenod College starts in classrooms at St Joseph’s Primary School with 79 students, before moving into its own premises in Mulgrave the following year.


The Enterprise Migrant Hostel is officially opened on 29 October (although it has been operating since December 1969), providing the first home in Australia for many newly-arrived migrants and refugees. Buses transport children between the hostel and St Joseph’s Primary school each morning and afternoon.

Three classrooms are added to St Joseph’s Primary School.

Father Coghlan is transferred to St Mary’s Parish, East St Kilda and is replaced by Father James Shorten.


Michael O’Rourke becomes St Joseph’s first lay principal, though several Brigidine Sisters remain on staff.


The Order of Friars Minor Conventual begins to oversee religious education at St Joseph’s and the number of teaching Brigidine Sisters decreases.


Father Elliott’s wooden classrooms are replaced with a two-storey brick block, including a temporary library and an arts and crafts room.


St Joseph’s becomes the first Conventual Franciscan parish in Melbourne, with Father Karl Chesher as parish priest.


Allan Dooley replaces Michael O’Rourke as principal.


Father Leonard Testa becomes parish priest.


The construction of a new multi purpose building, including three new classrooms, is completed.
Following the departure of Allan Dooley at the end of 1983, Jenny Hamdorf temporarily takes on the role of principal.


John Campbell commences as principal, overseeing major upgrades to the school grounds.


Father Victor Bonello becomes parish priest.


St Joseph’s Primary School celebrates its golden jubilee: 50 years of providing Catholic education to children in Springvale.


Richard Hodgson commences as principal of the school.


Father John Magri becomes parish priest.


Father Vincent Long becomes parish priest.

The school is involved in its third capital grant building program, with the library refurbished and a new toilet block and physical education office built. Archbishop Denis Hart opens the Federation Mural and Memorial Garden, tracing the history of Springvale and St Joseph’s Parish.


Benedict La Volpe becomes parish priest.


Building the Education Revolution multipurpose hall opens, completing eight million dollars in new buildings over a period of 14 years.


St Joseph’s Primary School celebrates it 75 year anniversary.