Three history walls officially unveiled at Good Counsel Primary School

Mamu Senior Elder Alf Joyce, his daughter Karen, students Mateo Budd and Mia Briggs unveiled the Mamu History Wall.

GOOD Counsel Primary recently held a whole school assembly where the Mamu and School History Walls were officially unveiled, and three new classrooms were blessed by Mother of Good Counsel Parish Priest, Father Kerry Crowley.

Special guests in attendance included Michelle Darveniza, who represented her father Mr John Walsh, the first Lay Principal (1982-1994), following the departure of the Good Samaritan Sisters; Mhornin Kerrigan, the school’s second Lay Principal (1994-1998); Rev Father Frank Gordon, Vicar General Diocese of Cairns and Mother of Good Counsel Parish Priest (1994-2011); along with Sister Ann-Maree Nicholls, Catholic Education Services Director of School Effectiveness – Primary, who represented the Good Samaritan Sisters. 

Other invited guests were Bill Dixon, CES Director; Ian Davis, CES Deputy Director; Lea Martin, CES Director School Effectiveness – Primary; Cathy Barrett, Principal Good Counsel College; Mamu Senior Elder, Mr Alf Joyce, and his daughter Karen Joyce; Lyn Callegari and Sharon Sawdy from Innisfail Historical Society; Margaret Todd, Past Parish Business Manager; community members, parents, carers, staff, and students.

After Principal Liam Kenny welcomed everyone, Brodie Masina made the Acknowledgement of Country, and the school song ‘ This is Our School’ by Peter Kearney and a slideshow were played.

Five classroom crosses were brought forward by student representatives, which were blessed by Fr Kerry.

The Mamu History wall features historic pictures and information on the Mamu people, who are part of one of the six Indigenous Australian language groups from the coastal rainforest region. 

It also documents where their tribes lived and has a list of Mamu place names and traditional words.

The Sacred Heart Convent and School and Mother of Good Counsel Church are steeped in rich history, which started in 1903.

After the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict sailed into Geraldton (as it was then named), the Sacred Heart Convent and School were built and were opened on November 2, 1903, with an enrolment of forty-two students. 

Over the years, the convent, school, and Mother of Good Counsel Church have been destroyed by fires and cyclones and were subsequently rebuilt.

In 1992, it was the end of an era, as after ninety-one years of service to the Parish, the Good Samaritan Sisters withdrew from Innisfail. 

In the late 1990s, extensive refurbishments and additions to school buildings occurred, including the Convent being redeveloped into the Administration building. 

The multipurpose Good Samaritan Hall was built in 2002, followed by the opening of a Music room and second pre-school in 2004.

GCPS received a substantial grant in 2010 – 2011, which enabled the major redevelopment of the Administration block, library, theatrette, computer laboratory, learning support area, and staff room.

An extension and raising of the covered area took place in 2013, followed by refurbishment of student amenities, uniform shop, and tuckshop in 2014. 

A new, three storey, Science and Technology Centre, Prep extension and an additional classroom were completed in 2019 – 2020.

GCPS has come a long way since its inception and, in recent years, enrolments have fluctuated between 280 – 300 students.

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