In response to the needs of the growing Catholic community of South Tamworth, St Mary’s Church School in Robert Street was blessed and opened by Bishop Doody in 1954. While the Parish Priest was Monsignor Dunne of West Tamworth, the school itself was staffed by two Sisters of St. Joseph who “true to the spirit of Mary MacKillop made the best of inadequate facilities and worked wonders with the children” (A Rich Harvest) in the two classrooms at their disposal. In 1958 the entire enrolment was 78.
In 1961, the Parish of South Tamworth was created, with Father Meehan as its first Parish Priest. It was named in honour of St. Edward, King and Confessor. Sixteen acres of land on Hillvue Road was acquired and with the Sisters now living in the Parish, the Robert Street site soon doubled its capacity.
In 1970 the Primary was established on Hillvue Road with the building of two classrooms, while at Robert Street four classrooms were added. The Schools operated under the control of the Sisters as two separate units.
Throughout the 1970’s the Schools prospered with each expansion crisis being met and dealt with by the then Parish Priest, Father Frank Le Fevre, the Sisters, lay teachers and the increasing efforts of the Parish community, i.e. Parents & Friends, Men’s Club, Ladies’ Club and Ladies’ Auxiliary. New buildings were completed to meet the increasing School population. From time to time the possibility of resiting the Infants School at Hillvue Road was investigated but each time the exercise was found to be financially out of the question. After the formation of the School Board in 1978 the decision was then made to convert the Church building to classrooms and plans for ‘the Church on the Hill’ began to take shape.
On the 17th April, 1983 the new Church School Assembly Complex was blessed and opened by Bishop Henry Kennedy, just twenty one years after the inception of the Parish. The new Church was dedicated to Mary Help of Christians, while the Parish and School remained under the patronage of St. Edward.
The Josephite Order provided Principals for both Schools until 1986 when the first lay principals were appointed. There had been lay teachers for many years.
In 1989 the staff, parents and Parish community were involved in meetings with the Catholic Education Office to discuss the issue of amalgamation. In 1990 the two Schools, while remaining on separate campuses, were amalgamated under the Principalship of Mr. Jim McGrath, the incumbent Principal of the Primary School.
Over the years the School has sought to keep abreast of educational trends and, after consideration, to select and implement those changes seen as beneficial to the specific needs of the students, constantly updating resources and equipment. Wet weather sheds were constructed in 1994 and 1995. The School has also considerably broadened its public image by its participation in many interschool, regional and state events in sport, music, art, dance and English to name but a few. The student population includes children from all around Tamworth and the surrounding district as well as children of other denominations.
The support and involvement of the whole Parish community has always been an important feature of St. Edward’s School, and remains today an integral part of the School ethos, as does the commitment and dedication of the staff who have followed so well and faithfully the earlier example of those Sisters of St. Joseph whose vision and dedication brought our School into being.
We look forward with faith and confidence to the future.