St Mary of the Angels Guyra

About Us

St Mary of the Angels School (previously called The Convent) was established in 1919 with the Ursuline Sisters in charge.

No premises existed and the opening was effective after some 10 years. The school provided education for primary schooling and lessons commenced in the old Convent. The original blue-brick building was is use by the end of 1919. In 1921-22, another small timber building was erected enabling students to be education to Intermediate standard (Ursuline Convent High School). It provided the only opportunity for secondary education in Guyra with many non-catholic pupils enrolling. Three years later the first intermediate certificate group was presented for the then “Public Examination”. All 9 candidates were successful.

The Ursulines, up until 1919, had resided in Armidale for nearly 40 years and were no newcomers to education. In a short time, under the leadership of Mother Augustine McCarthy, the Sisters received the wholehearted support of the of the community.

The Sisters cared for the needs of Kindergarten to Year 9 children in every way possible. Their daily efforts concentrated on the three R’s for the Infants and Primary departments and English, Maths 1 & 2, Latin, French, Art, Music and Business Principals for the Secondary. Paramount and the whole reason for their existence, was the emphasis on Christian Living, Catholic Faith and Doctrine. As extra curricular activities, the Sisters taught Music, Typing and Shorthand.

Generally, it was the fees paid for these extras that kept the Sisters livelihood somewhere up near the poverty line. This broader education was available to the children of any family and not restricted to the pupils of the ‘Convent.’ Many of the parents of these children could not afford the extras. Cultural events in the life of the town were few and far between but in every one of them the influence of the Sisters was evident.

In 1936 another timber building was erected in the north-eastern area of the playground to be used for the High School. In 1958 the school reverted to a primary school. This decision was made by the Ursuline Sisters because of the changes which would need to be made as a result of the introduction of the Wyndham scheme.

In 1960 the first lay teacher was appointed. In December 1969, the Ursuline Sisters departed Guyra and the late Cardinal Freeman, then Bishop of Armidale, invited the Sisters of Mercy from Monte St. Angelo, North Sydney to succeed them. The Sisters remained here teaching until December 1979. During this time the school became part of the Disadvantaged Schools Program.

In 1980 the first lay Principal was appointed and the two buildings were joined together on the present site after the demolition of the small timber building. The canteen area and the cement playground were added with finance from the DSP. St Mary of the Angels commenced with 40 students. The number has fluctuated with the present enrolment being 82 (@31/9/1998) pupils.

This school was an ‘outpost’ as no Parish existed in Guyra until 1930.

 

 


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