Our Josphite and School History


Two Sisters of St Joseph arrived from Sydney aboard the Wairarapa on 19 March 1884. They were Sister Teresa Maginnes and Sister Ignatius Griffen.  They were joined by Sister Casimir Meskill who came from the South Island.

They lived in a cottage on the site of the present St Benedict’s Convent. The first school “Butcher’s Shop School” was next to the Star Hotel which was on the corner of Newton Road. The Sisters walked the rough, muddy Newton Road each day to go to school.

198421 April Sisters began teaching – 40 pupils
May – 110 pupils
December – 200 pupils
1885June – Property bought at 2 Sussex St. Surrey Hills Church built at 3 Tennyson (now Turakina). St – still part of St Benedict’s parish.
1886Sisters moved to Sussex St. Sisters began teaching in Church / School 6 Feb 1886.
1895Mother Mary MacKillop stayed with the Sisters in Sussex St.
1900Parish of Grey Lynn was begun.
1902New 2 storey wooden convent was built in Sussex St. The Church continued to be used as a school during the week.
1917November – New brick school was blessed and opened on Great North Road site. The Convent was moved from Sussex St to a site beside the new school.
1918New school opened in February with 320 pupils. The church in Turakina St was then used as a church only.
1918Late in the year the great influenza epidemic struck the whole of N.Z. The School became a hospital and the Sisters nursed the sick and visited homes taking food and medicines, and consoled the bereaved.
1920The Church moved from Turakina St., to the Great North Road property.  It was put on the site of the present church.
1921Holy Thursday night there was a fire which destroyed the Convent. 12 Sisters and 8 boarders escaped unharmed.
1921/22The Convent was rebuilt in brick and opened on November 12 1922.
1930Newspaper ran a competition “Popular Man” and Fr Holebrook’s name was entered.  He won a considerable sum of money and used the prize to purchase a 2 storey hall which was put at the back of the new school.
1960The Secondary Department closed and the Boarding school closed.
1972/73P.T.A. paid for additions and alterations to the school so that more pupils could be accepted.
1978Convent was renovated inside and the outside painted. 2 rooms downstairs were turned into classrooms.
1983The School was integrated into the State system.
1984Sister Anne Holley became Principal.
1990The present new school was built behind the old school. Before the August holidays everything was packed into containers. The old school was knocked down during the holidays. Pupils had 2 weeks extra holiday while staff moved equipment into new school.
1990The playground and grounds of the new school were completed.  This was a very stressful term for all as the noise of heavy machinery was intense and there was no-where for the children to play.
1991Sister Anne Holley Principal – resigned.
1992Mr. Shearer assumed the principalship in May. Sister Veronica was the only Sister of St Joseph on the staff.
1992Grey Lynn Convent was sold and the Sisters moved to other communities.