OUR EARLY SCHOOL HISTORY
Taken from “FROM THE GRASS ROOTS:WE GREW” on the occasion of Blessing and Official Opening of Lumen Christi by Most Rev. A.F.Fox DD Bishop of Sale on the 18th June 1978.
Lumen Christi Parish, comprising the areas of Boolarra, Yinnar and Churchill, grew out of the Sacred Heart Parish, Morwell, as a result of the rapid development in Churchill in the mid 1970’s.
The new parish was declared effective from January 1977, and Fr Jeremiah Coffey was appointed parish priest.
However, prior to this development a good deal of work directed towards the establishment of a Catholic Primary School in Churchill had taken place.
An excellent site comprising 5.4 acres had been obtained from the HCV through the efforts of Mgr N Daly and the late Bishop Lyons.
In November 1973 in co-operation with the then Parish Priest Monsignor N Daly, a Parish Development Committee was formed to prepare a submission to the Australian Schools commission. Prior to making this submission, the committee carried out a comprehensive survey of Churchill and District to establish the need for a Catholic Primary School.
At the same time, the firm of architects Mcarthy & Collings was engaged to prepare a plan for a school in conjunction with the committee and the diocesan Education Office. Considerable discussion took place among parishioners as to the style of school that was needed for churchill.
His Lordship Bishop Fox gave his approval and support to the move to obtain a grant for the erection of a catholic Primary in churchill and in December of that year the initial submission was lodged with the Interim Schools commission.
After discussions with the architects and members of the Victorian Priorities committee, a further more detailed submission was made in February 1973. The concept of modern flexible teaching areas was incorporated into the school plans.
In June the Catholics of Churchill received their first temporary setback when grants amounting to $6 million were announced by the Schools Commission but did not include this town among their allocations.
During 1975 the committee continued to press for Churchill to be given priority in the next allocation of funds. Meanwhile activities and fundraising are organised with considerable success and lns were developed for beautification of the site. Tree planting and site levelling was undertaken.
The long awaited advice notifying a grant for a Catholic Primary School in Churchill was received in July 1976 when it was learnt th Australian Schools Commission had allocated $144 480 on a 3 for 1 basis.
After finalisation of plans, tenders were advertised for a block of four classrooms and a toilet block.
The successful tenderer W G Campbell Constructions Pty Ltd began work in October, and did a remarkable job in completing work for the school to begin classes on 14 February 1977.
The school began with a total enrolment of 95 in classes from preparatory to Grade 3. Sister Maureen O’Kelly became the school principal, and with her small staff operated under trying circumstances in the initial stages.
By the second term an administrative building including a staff room had been completed as part of the original grant.
Planning for the second stage of four classrooms and resource area proceeded immediately and a number of modifications were incorporated as a result of experience in the first block of classrooms.
A second grant of $112 000 was made available in July 1977, and tenders were immediately advertised.
It was pleasing that a local fir, Fowen Homes were the successful tenderer and commenced work on the site in October.
The new school year saw enrolment of 195 and classes from preparatory to 6th Grade. The new block was completed shortly after the beginning of school and was occupied by the 4th, 5th and 6th Grades.
Since then enthusiastic parents and other parishioners have spent a good deal of time providing fences, concrete, paths, play equipment and lawns as well as planning trees and shrubs and establishing gardens. The fruits of our labour are beginning to emerge but there is still much growing to be done. Let us do it together
Principals of Lumen Christi
Sr. Maureen Kelly SFJ 1977-1982
Mr. Michael Dyson 1983-1992
Mrs. Pat Bateman 1993-1994
Miss. Denise McKenna 1995-2006
Mrs. Catherine Blackford 2006-2012
Mrs. Joanne Brewer 2013-2016
Mr. Dave Cooper 2016-2022
Mrs. Sally Darby 2022-Current