Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Primary School was established by the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Alice Springs in 1938. From 1940 it provided accommodation and education for children aged 5 to 16. Children under the care of the government may also have been placed at the School. In 1983 the Marist Brothers took control of the school. In 1997 the Primary School was amalgamated with the Alice Springs Catholic High School to become Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Primary School was established by the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Bath Street, Alice Springs, in February 1938. Three sisters came to Alice Springs from New South Wales to open the school which began with 25 children.
The school started in an existing church on Bath Street until new premises, comprising two classrooms and a verandah, were built on the same street. Classes started in 1940 and from that time boarders were also taken in.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Primary School provided education and residential care for girls aged 5 to 16 and boys aged 6 to 12 years. Given the lack of residential care facilities for State children in Alice Springs in the first half of the twentieth century, it is possible that some were placed as boarders at the School.
According to a 1950 newspaper article the government contributed £30 a year for each boarder of Primary School age and £40 for each Secondary School boarder.
In 1942, when a new convent was built for the sisters in Hartley Street, the old convent was renovated and became the boarding house for the school. Girls slept on one side of the front verandah of the convent and boys slept on the other. A new wing, Gemma House, was added in 1946 to provide accommodation for girls. The old convent building became the boys' dormitory and was re-named John Paul Hostel.
In 1979 a new Hostel known as Maloney House was opened at the school and 25 boarders moved in. This new Hostel was made possible by a Federal Government grant of $190,000.
According to A Reflection: Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Central Australia 1929-2007 staff shortages led to the closure of the boarding section of the Primary School around 1980.
In 1983/84 the new Alice Springs Catholic Secondary School was opened by the Marist Brothers utilizing the former boys' dormitory, John Paul Hostel. Also in 1983 the running of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Primary School was taken over by the Marist Brothers. In 1997 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College Primary School was amalgamated with the Alice Springs Catholic High School to become Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College was still operating in 2013.
Sources used to compile this entry: "A Piece of the Story": National Directory of Records of Catholic Organisations Caring for Children Separated from Families, December 2001, https://cssa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-Piece-of-the-Story.pdf.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 27 January 2011, Last modified: 8 May 2014