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Home | Catholic Life and Religious Education | Our Catholic Identity

Our Catholic Identity

The first Catholic Primary School in Dapto was established at West Dapto in 1839 when Fr Petre the Parish Priest, received Government authorisation to begin a school. Mr Hayes was the teacher followed by Mr T Fawley, Mr L McGuinn and Mr J O’Neill. The Sisters of St Joseph arrived in 1880.  

The School was then known as St Joseph’s School and remained at West Dapto until 1900. With the coming of rail to Dapto, Mary MacKillop, now formally known as St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, purchased a parcel of land in Jerematta Street, Dapto in January 1899. In 1900 she decided to move the convent and school closer to town and establish the school on its present site.

In 1965 the present site of classes, Years 4, 5 and 6 was a Secondary School for girls and the school was known as St Anne’s College. By 1980 St Anne’s catered for 220 girls in Years 7 to 10.

The rapid growth of areas south of Wollongong required the building of a new coeducational High School at Albion Park. In 1983 St Anne’s College closed and St John’s was able to expand into the St Anne’s buildings, thus occupying two sites. Now as a three-stream school, St John’s presently accommodates 575 students.

Dapto is a rapidly growing area 15 minutes south of Wollongong and covers a wide range of socio economic groups from varied cultural backgrounds.

St John’s is a Catholic systemic coeducation school catering for students from Kinder to Year 6. The school has 43 staff including members of the leadership team, classroom teachers, resource teachers, school support officers, office staff and cleaners.

At present Kindergarten, Years 1, 2 and 3 are located on the Werowi Campus, now known as MacKillop Campus and Years 4, 5 and 6 are located on the Jerematta Campus, now known as Evangelist Campus.

St John’s School is an integral part of the Parish and the Parish Priest, Fr Francis Tran has an active role in the school caring for the spiritual and pastoral needs of the school community.

As a Parish School, initiated by the Parish community, it is intended that our school should be an integral and vital part of the whole Parish and, indeed, of the wider Church community. It is intended that the spiritual growth and welfare of the students be carefully integrated with sound, general and needs-based education which will be the shared responsibility of the Parish Priest, Principal, staff and parents, under the supportive direction of both Catholic and Government authorities.

As a Catholic school, St John’s comes under the general administration and responsibility of the Catholic Education Office of the Diocese of Wollongong, Market Street, Wollongong.

The finance and management of the school is controlled and supervised by the Catholic Education Office of the Diocese of Wollongong, the Parish Priest and the School Principal, all of whom act with the permission and blessing of the Bishop Peter Ingham, the Bishop of Wollongong.

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