The order of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart was founded in Penola, South Australia in 1866 by Father Julian Tenison Woods with Mary MacKillop, our first Australian Saint. These dedicated Sisters devoted their lives to God and the service of others, bringing love, support and Catholic Education to communities across Australia.

Our strong connection to the Sisters of St Joseph and their service and involvement in the Port Macquarie community dates back over a century. Sisters from Adelaide made a foundation at Perthville, near Bathurst. From there a foundation was made at Lochinvar. In 1913 four Sisters of St Joseph of Lochinvar opened a convent and school at Port Macquarie. They were Sisters Rose, Dorothea, Dominic and Alacoque. These women and those who followed brought Catholic Education to the children of the Hastings and touched the community with their warmth and interest in family wellbeing.

The founding St Joseph’s Primary School was located in an old printing office in Horton Street with thirty-one students enrolled. Our current site, opened by Bishop J Satterthwaite in 1980, with Sister Peter Julian the Principal, now has approximately 400 students.

Over the last 100 years Catholic Education in our Parish has grown to include two Preschools, three Primary schools and three Secondary Campuses, all of which are linked proudly to our humble beginnings. Our teachers continue the mission of teaching and care begun by the Sisters.

Today the Josephite spirit lives on in our St Joseph’s School community guided by the loving example of St Joseph, Saint Mary of the Cross and Father Julian Tenison Woods.

We are only instruments in the Hands of God and should never act as if we were more.
Father Julian Tenison Woods

Let us help one another, and bear with one another
And ever strive to become what we should be,
And what with God’s help we can become.
Mary of the Cross - MacKillop
(Letter to the Sisters 23 March 1878)