School History


We pride ourselves on our rich and significant history.

St Mary's School, Williamstown, is the oldest continuously operating school in Victoria. School commenced at St Mary's in May 1842 in a timber chapel. Mr. John Wilson was the first teacher/principal. The earliest available record of enrolment figures is six boys & eight girls in July 1844.

For the first time in the school's history, a religious community took charge of the school when the Sisters of the Faithful Companions of Jesus arrived on 1 September 1897. Blessed Mary MacKillop was known to the parish and school community in these later years of the 19th Century and in 1900, the task of continuing the education of Catholic children of Williamstown was taken on by the Sisters of St Joseph.

Since the school opened in 1842 there have been three school buildings erected. The present building was officially blessed and opened on 19 January 1926. A major refurbishment of the school was completed in 1994, with a further extension of the administration building in 2007. An extension to the East Wing, with the addition of three classrooms was completed in 2010 as part of the Australian Government's Building the Education Revolution.

A brief history of Williamstown.

A party explored Point Gellibrand in 1803. Later in 1835 John Batman explored the area up to the mouth of the Yarra River, the same year the first settlers arrived with 1000 cows and sheep. In 1837, Governor Bourke named the point Williamstown after King William IV. By 1839 the town had large shipping facilities including a pier and government stores all built by convict labour.

By 1841 there were three hotels in the town and population was about 300 people, and in 1842, the St Mary's School commenced before a Parish was established.

118 Cecil Street Williamstown 3016 Victoria Tel: 9397 7926 Fax: 9397 7671 Send us an e-mail