History of Star of the Sea Primary School
In the year of 1948, the sisters of Our Lady of the Missions arrived from Busselton to Peron House in Rockingham. Peron House consisted of 44 acres and was purchased for the sisters by His Grace the Archbishop Most Reverend Dr Prendiville. It was originally a turtle-canning factory. Turtles were penned at the factory from the North West for meat and soup at the beginning of the 1900s. The enterprise fell through and Peron House was abandoned and used as a guest house prior to the sisters moving there. From 1928-1948, the turtle factory became a visitors’ guest house.
In May of 1948, Peron House opened with the celebration of Holy Mass at the parish church by Reverend Father Holohan. The first pupils of Star of the Sea attended school in July. The students at Peron House or the turtle factory, as it was locally known, used to swim in the water on the waterfront at Point Peron during lunch and often after school. The school was only 50 yards from the water. Railway tracks, which were used at the turtle factory, were left at Star of the Sea and Peron House as part of the decor.
In 1972, the convent at Point Peron became too small for the use of a school and the new Star of the Sea School was built in Swinstone Street. Three sisters went to live in a house in Hillman and continued teaching at Star of the Sea Primary School. Mr Kim Beasley, Federal Minister for Education, officially opened Star of the Sea School. It was blessed by Archbishop Goody and the first Principal was Sr Catherine Brabender.
The first teachers were:
Year 1 : Sr Margaret Mary Doherty
Year 2 : Mrs Jackie Thomson
Year 3 : Mrs Emily Mull
Year 4 : Sr Catherine Brabender
Year 5 : Sr Mary O’Sullivan
Year 6 : Mrs Lyn Levien
Year 7 : Mrs Lyn Levien
Mrs Bee was the remedial teacher who taught one day per week.
Mrs Wendy Dobra taught on a part time basis per week.
There was a very small population of boys in the upper class. Boys from Year 4 left to go to Christian Brothers College in Fremantle. There were no male teachers. Stage One of the school was built purely with parish money and with no government help. With no church, school Masses were held in the existing Year 5 classrooms.
When Star of the Sea School was built in 1972 a bank loan was raised and all available parish funds were used to help with repayments. The school provided for a total of 210 pupils with 30 children in each grade. Class size was increased to 35 pupils to accommodate enrolments. The staff was small and there were open learning areas for the children in single stream classes. There was no security needed and worksheets were duplicated on a gestetner machine.
Parents cleaned the windows and the floors. Confirmation was celebrated in the school library. Bingo was held in the school each Wednesday and funding from this event greatly benefited the school. It was the only Catholic school in the Rockingham shire. The children at Star of the Sea were deprived of a lot of aids due to the number of students attending the school.
A new Administration block and Special Ed Unit was blessed and opened on 17th September 1989. In 1993, the Pre Primary section was blessed and opened for the children of Rockingham.
Gradually the school has been extended and modified to cater for the increased enrolments, now having three classes in each grade.
Star of the Sea School in Rockingham carries out the maxim of St Iranaeus, “The Glory of God is Man Fully Alive”. It is in thanksgiving for the dedication and the missionary spirit that teachers or both lay and missionary have given to the education of the Catholic children of Rockingham.
Acknowledgement of the school logo is made to Mrs Karen Daughenbaugh who designed it in 1979.