St Augustine’s Primary School celebrates 70 years!

2022 marks St Augustine’s Primary School’s 70th year anniversary. Whilst Covid restrictions might hamper any large-scale celebrations to commemorate this momentous occasion for our fantastic school, the aim is to provide some great information via digital platforms about our school’s rich history. Start exploring this site to learn more about our fabulous school and its journey. New content will be regularly added over the course of the year, together with ways that we may be able to acknowledge this special anniversary, so make sure you check back often!

Early Beginnings

The suburb of Rivervale began as a post-war State Housing Commission development. The area was predominately semi rural and consisted of dairies, pig and chicken farm-lets.

The “hut” was initially utilized as a temporary church. It was purchased from the Melville military camp for 200 pounds in 1945, dismantled and re-erected on the west side of Newey st (originally Salisbury rd). The total cost for this work together with plumbing, paint and seats was just over 650 pounds. On Sunday 12th December 1945 the archbishop blessed and opened the building as ‘St. Augustine’s church hall’.

With the urgent need to accommodate the growing catholic population in the district the “hut” then doubled as a catholic primary school, opening in 1952.

Each week, church furniture had to be removed after the Sunday masses and desks had to be re-arranged for lessons. This continued until the church and presbytery was constructed in 1955.


The Hut

In 1952 the Sisters of Mercy established the first Catholic Primary School with 40 children up to Year 3- then growing to 110. Each week, Church furniture had to be removed after the Sunday masses and desks etc had to be arranged for lessons. This continued until the church and presbytery was constructed in 1955.  In 1956 the school was passed over to the Presentation Sisters who agreed to staff the school to Year 7 (boys to Year 4).

Additional classroom areas were created using the verandas of the “HUT” to accommodate the growing number of children. A new building was needed and the construction of the ground floor of the permanent school was completed in 1956. It consisted of 3 classrooms, plus store/office with furniture made by parents and parishioners.

Original building 

Changing Times

A Second storey was added in 1959 and became a Junior Girls High School catering for girls wishing to do Business Studies.

In 1972 the school was reverted to back to just a Primary School. Girls were enrolled to Year 7 and boys to Year 5. In 1974 St Augustine’s primary school became a co-educational primary school to Year 7. 

Further developments 

Aerial view of the school before Orrong road was developed showing the wooden army styled hut, church, convent and initial playground area.

In 1977 a new Administration block, Staffroom and Classroom were constructed. The old wooden building was predominately used as the school hall. The top end was used as a classroom to teach secretarial skills- later this became the site of the regional science resource centre.

The presentations sisters lived in the convent across the road from the school on the corner of Orrong road. 

Presentation Sisters Centenary 1991

St Augustine's Church

Further developments 

In 1985 the wooden hall was demolished, and a new two storey complex was constructed. This consisted of a new library, canteen, workroom, storeroom, and under-croft area. 

During this time, the first refugee students from Vietnam were enrolled into the school

St Augustine’s Pre-Primary School

The first Pre-Primary class was located in a house opposite the Convent on the corner of Orrong Road.   

In 1995, the Pre-Primary re-located and joined the whole school at St Augustine’s where it is located today.  

The first Kindergarten Class began in 1997 and was held in the current Pre Primary classroom. Children initially attended Kindy for two half days per week.

In  2004  Mr Art  Lombardi, was  appointed  as  the  first  Lay  Principal  after  52  years of  leadership  by  religious orders.

In 2005 a building project encompassing an Undercover Area, Multipurpose Room, renovated Library, Canteen and stairwell was completed.

In 2009 the school received funding for two Commonwealth Government building grants. Firstly, The Pride in Australian School Project, enabled the refurbishment of the Administration area, and improvements were made to establish an Art room and an Italian Room. 

The ‘Building the Education Revolution program’ saw the construction  of the Multipurpose Hall. This has provided a valued space for play, assemblies, concerts and for physical education activities. 

In 2013 renovations took place to the children’s  toilets, the Teacher Resource Room and to the Pre-Primary and Kindergarten. 

The Pre-Primary outdoor area was remodelled in 2018 and again in 2022.

At the end of 2018 the area on the middle playground was resurfaced using artificial lawn.

In 2019 the Nature Playground was reconstructed and the playground resurfaced. 

In 2021 an area next to the Nature playground was set up as a meeting and eating place for the Year 6 students, complete with benches, pot plants and a shade cover.

In 2020, the house next to the school site was purchased and demolished the following year. This was then made into a new grassed playground area, ready to be used in the latter part of 2022.