Hunter Catholic schools celebrate over 180 years of offering "more than a great education"

A full colour, 120 page architectural booklet celebrating the history, development and growth of the Hunter, Newcastle and Manning’s 55 Catholic Schools will be launched by Bishop Bill Wright and Director of Schools, Ray Collins, at Sacred Heart Cathedral Hamilton on Tuesday 11 March at 11am.


The booklet is being launched by the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle as part of a Catholic Schools Week Mass which will be attended by hundreds of students and Principals representing all 55 schools as well as clergy, parishioners and government and religious representatives.


Director of Catholic Schools, Ray Collins, said the theme for CSW 2014 ‘more than a great education’ provided the perfect opportunity to launch the booklet which showcases the rich educational history that has existed, and continues to exist, in the diocese.


“The story of the construction of school facilities in the various parishes of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is one built on the generosity of parishioners, the selfless support of the religious congregations, the commitment of parents and the vision of parish priests,” Mr Collins said.


“This booklet records the co-operative undertaking by the Catholic Schools Office, schools, parishes and diocese, particularly over the last ten years, highlighting construction and maintenance work funded through Building the Education Revolution, Australian and NSW Government grants and the Diocesan Family and School Building Levy (DF&SBL).”


“I am pleased that this booklet showcases a brief history of each of our 55 schools whilst featuring current photos so that all those who have contributed to, or been a part of, our educational story, can see how the schools have developed over the years,” he said.


Bishop of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Bill Wright, said one of the aspects of the diocese that has impressed him since arriving in 2011, is the integrated and co-operative nature of the system of schools.


“In historic terms, this owes much to the vision of religious sisters and brothers of various congregations, committed parishioners and parish priests who placed Catholic education high on their list of priorities,” Bishop Bill said.


“Those men and women would perhaps be surprised that these days Catholic schools appeal to a wider demographic than the one that established, funded and supported them. The BER funding has not only boosted significantly the capacity of individual schools and parishes, but also fostered a climate of encouragement and optimism.


“Ultimately, what we do in Catholic schools is not dependent on buildings, technology or equipment, but on the God-given gifts evident in our students, families and staff...” However, there is no doubt that ‘bricks and mortar’ can enhance teaching and learning, provide a welcome boost, an occasion to gather and celebrate and a point of connection with the wider parish and local community.


“BER was a bold move and I am grateful, personally and as a voice for the diocese, for the largesse of the federal government led by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.”



“Our Catholic Schools: A decade of growth and change: A summary of Capital Works Projects undertaken in Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle”


Where: Sacred Heart Cathedral

When: Tuesday 11 March, 2014 from 11am

Photo opportunities: Bishop Bill Wright, Director of Catholic Schools Ray Collins, Member for Newcastle Tim Owen MP, Member for Wallsend Sonia Hornery MP, principals and student leaders of all 55 catholic schools from across the Diocese. 


Media contact: For more information, please contact Communications Manager, Kate Bennett on (02) 4979 1183 or 0419 263 901