history of st francis xavier's urana
The Presentation Sisters
The sisters had originally come from Ireland in the late 1800s to assist in the formation of the Catholic Faith amongst the families who made their lives in this vast land. The first school was in Richmond in Tasmania. From there they travelled to New South Wales and opened a school in Wagga—Mt Erin, from where our nuns came.
It wasn’t until 1939 that works got underway to secure a Catholic education for the children of Urana. Prior to that, a building fund had been set up and was added to as the years went on. Then War broke out and it was put off until some time later when finally the new school and Presbytery were built and opened in 1941. Meanwhile, the old Presbytery was refurbished to make a home for Sisters Magdalen, Monica and Paschal who were the first teachers.The opening ceremony included a speech by Fr Hartigan (John O'Brien) who praised the people of Urana for their dedication to the idea and completion of the new school.
The First Day
Thirty nine students started on the first day but by the end of the year there were 63 students, 5 of whom were boarders. Of the 63, 32 were girls and 31 boys. By 1950 new accommodation was built for the boarders as the number had risen and in 1953 voluntary labour built the infant room.
By 1972, the boarding school closed and the nuns reluctantly left the school in 1979 when Mrs McFarlane, the present principal, became the first lay principal as Miss McPherson.
The school has undergone many changes over the years in the buildings and in the approach to education and has been affected by the myriad problems that have beset Urana due to climate and economic problems. But it is still a great school and a great community and the families who have contributed to the school and the community are still represented as either students or parents.