St Joseph's Catholic Primary School opened its doors in 1876. It was founded by two sisters of St Joseph, an Order founded by Mary MacKillop in 1866.
The sisters opened St Joseph's as a convent school on their own, on a thoroughly independent basis, free from state aid or government patronage.
St Mary's Church of the Holy Rosary was used as a classroom. During its first year, enrolments reached 60 students.
In 1881, a room was built to accommodate 200 students. By this time enrolments had increased to 103.
The three sisters charged with the education of the children were consistently acknowledged and credited with excellent results reflected in demonstrable progress in writing, reading, arithmetic, geography, and grammar. The latter one obtaining results well above average.
Hierarchical interference resulted in the regrettable withdrawal of the sisters of St Joseph by mid 1880. However, several ex-sisters of St Joseph returned to Bundaberg to continue their work late in 1880. When Father Mimnagh was appointed in 1893, he made life difficult for the sisters, who eventually left permanently in 1897.
The sisters of St Joseph were replaced by five Sisters of Mercy from All Hallows in Brisbane. They taught in the former wooden church building. They reached an enrolment of 333 by the end of 1897.
The steady increase in enrolments resulted in a new move in 1908. This time to the site where the current IGA Supermarket car park is located. Ten years later, the school moved again, this time to Barolin Street, beside the Holy Rosary Church.
In 1926, extensions to Holy Rosary resulted in a remodelling of the school. In 1974, a government grant made possible the redevelopment of the school to its present form.
The Sisters of Mercy ceased running the school in 1981. In 1985, the first lay principal was appointed.
In 1990, St Joseph's was the first to offer Preschool education in Bundaberg.
Since 1876, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School has been providing a sound education grounded on Christian values to the children of Bundaberg.
St Joseph's facilities offer a safe, happy learning environment to children attending school. Over the past few years, improvements have been carried out on a continuing basis with the building of MacKillop Hall and upgrades to classrooms and amenities. Most recently, the redesign of our Library/LS area is resulting in the building of a Learning Hub – a flexible, inviting, engaging learning environment.