Girrawheen Catholic Primary School functioned for the First Term of 1975 in two rooms at Mercy College, Koondoola. The Principal and staff of Mercy College supported our teachers during this time. Father Tim Corcoran and members of the Balga Team, drove the children by bus to Mercy College each morning, and returned them to Girrawheen each afternoon.
Many good days were spent travelling to school at Mercy College, but everyone looked forward to being in their new school in Hudson Avenue. The teachers watched the four rooms being built with tremendous excitement.
The building of any school takes a lot of work; loans had to be applied for, grants had to be obtained. Sister Barbara Lee and the Board, which worked for three primary schools (St Gerard’s, Majella Primary and Girrawheen Catholic Primary), worked tirelessly to plan the new school. They successfully received a grant of $125,000 and the building began.
The blessing and opening of the school was on 28th September 1975 at 3.30pm. by the Rev J.L.Goody, Archbishop of Perth.
The team of teachers for this school began with Sr. Barbara Lee (Principal and Grade 2/3/4 teacher) and Mrs Carlton (Grade 1.) As student numbers increased, Miss P. Smith, Mrs C. Domahidy, Mrs M. Box and Mrs S. Pascoe joined the staff.
No school is able to function without the aid of dedicated parents. Many of whom assisted with the early establishment of the school. Mrs White was the first librarian assisted by Mr. P. Daniels. Mrs Jill Daniels was the first secretary for two days of the week.
The school grounds had to be cleared, trees planted, some type of schedule set up for the watering – until the school could finance reticulation, which did not occur for many years. Mr T. Murray and family were faithful to the moving of hoses nightly for years.
The open area type school functioned until 1979 when the school numbers had reached 148 children in Grades 1, 2, 3 and 4. It was at the end of this year that Sr. Barbara Lee moved on to a new position at St Brigid’s College in Lesmurdie.
In 1980, Sr. M. Agnes Ferrie, R.S.M., who had been Principal of St Lawrence Primary School, Balcatta, became the newly appointed Principal of Girrawheen Catholic Primary. At this time, Mr William Russell became the first Board President.
The school began to move along with our own Board and the wonderful bursar, Mrs A. High. Mrs High had worked for several years on a voluntary basis before commencing employment as the school bursar.
With Government funding further building reconstruction was undertaken on the existing four classrooms. The four classrooms were updated and re-coloured to provide better lighting.
Another four classrooms were built, the office area was altered and the small staffroom was made into the Principal’s Office. Additionally a new staffroom, inside toilets and two storerooms were built. Two existing classrooms had a wall removed and became the library.
In 1983 we were able to commence Stage 2 of our building with a Grant of $75,000. Another classroom was added, toilet facilities improved, circulation area completed, ground levelling, parking and fencing completed. This stage was finished in 1984.
In 1985 one demountable classroom was purchased from ATCO at a cost of $25,000. This demountable then became the eighth classroom in the school. The school had now become double streamed to year four.
In 1986, 1987 and 1988, funds raised were used for works on the car park, establishing the grounds and reticulation, adding shelving and cupboards to the library. The Parents and Friends worked tirelessly with all these projects.
In 1988 a grant enabled the school to apply for the Pre-Primary Centre. We were granted permission to build and our drawing was sent to the Ministry of Education in June 1989. The architect was Mrs Iris Rossen. Our beautiful Pre-Primary Centre commenced in 1990 and has functioned wonderfully since commencement.
Also at this time, at the request of the school staff, parents, parish and community, approval was given by Archbishop Foley for the school name to be change to Our Lady of Mercy Primary School.
In the early 1990’s the Resource Groups at the Catholic Education Office examined the school to assess Future Development.
Two options were put forward:
a) Two streams to Year 7
b) Three streams to Year 4
The School Board preferred the first option as over the years, the school had been unable to participate in many activities such as Special Education, Sports and Cultural Activities because the oldest children were only Year 4.
In 1992, due to the hard work and commitment of the Parents and Friends Association three classrooms and the demountable were air-conditioned during the annual holidays.
In 1994, the two Pre-Primary Centres commenced part-time for Term 1 and then full time in Term 2.
In 1995, the first Year 5 Class commenced. These children had been our first Pre-Primary group. They were also the first group to go through our school for their entire primary education from pre-primary to year 7.
Since the school has become double streamed there have been many great changes. The buildings have continued to ‘grow’ as our classes grow. The final stage of building was concluded and officially opened in 1999. The older children have enabled the school to participate in interschool activities such as sports, cross-country running, singing and dance festivals.
At the end of 1997 Sister Agnes retired and Mr Stan Grabski commenced in 1998 as the new principal of Our Lady of Mercy Primary School. In 2008, Mr. Andrew Jago took over the reins of Principal after the retirement of Mr. Stan Grabski.
In 1999 the four faction colours were given names in honour of people who were significant in the formation of the school’s ethos and history. Learn more...
In 2009 – 2010, the school is going through a refurbishment and build with a brand new library, enclosed undercover area, land scaping to the oval and Pre-Primary, refurbishment to the main building and hall, and refurbishment to the existing computer lab.