Our History

​​​​​​​St Bernard's School and Parish

As researched by Year 4 students

With thanks to Sr Clare for being a great source of information.

Our PeopleSchool_Sketch (Custom).png

When the parish of Mt. Gravatt grew too big, Father Rosenskjar planned the new parish of St. Bernard’s in 1953. It really became a separate Parish when Father Aspinall was appointed Parish Priest in 1969.

After Father Aspinall passed away in 1992 Father Peter Meneely and his assistant Father Joseph Liem took over leadership of our parish. Since 2001, Father Dudley McMahon was our Parish Priest from 2002-2008. In 2009 Father Ian Wren came to St Bernard’s.  The current Parish Priest is Father Pat Molony.

St Bernard’s School was opened in 1955 by the Sisters of St. Joseph. The first Principal was Sister Juliana, a remarkable woman. She was followed by Sister Catherine, Sister Amata, Sister Clare, Sister Noela, Sister Jude and Sister Margaret. The first lay Principal was Mrs Doreen Bazzo. Mr Col O’Brien came to St. Bernard’s School in 1997 with Mr Richard Grajczonek Term Three, 2004 until 2010. Miss Trish McMahon the commenced in January 2011 until December 2022.  Mr Daniel Hodge current Principal commenced ​in January 2023.  

Our Buildings

The Parish Hall was the first building erected in 1953. It served as classrooms and a Church. Mr Jack Tierney built many early buildings.

We have had three Churches. The first was at the back of the Parish Hall; the second was in the building which is now the Office and Library; and the present Church is beautiful with its stain-glass windows.

The school grew quickly, so they put up D Block. Next came C Block, then E Block. Sometimes half a building was put up, then extended.

The last building was B Block. In 1997, part of this Building became the Pre-School. In 2000, the Father Kevin Aspinall Centre was completed with provides a generous hall for meetings and celebrations and the IT centre as well.

In 2004, St Bernard’s embarked on a new building phase with the demolition of the old Parish Hall​ and C Block. A new building with classrooms, library and administration was completed in Term Two 2005. Two Prep classrooms were added to B Block in preparation for the start of Prep classes in 2007.

In 2009 we moved into our new facilities which include 4 new classrooms, a Music room, new Tuckshop and Uniform Shop and a big undercover sports area.

Our school life

We think that the children learnt the 4 R’s when the school first started. The 4 R’s are Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Religion.

In 1953, 120 students were enrolled. The highest enrolment was in 1980 with a whopping 850. In the early years, there were very big classes.

Even in the 1970’s, there were 45 children in each class. The equipment they used for learning was different from now. They had slates (like little blackboards) for the younger children. The big kids got to use Pens that they dipped into little bottles of ink.

Our celebrations​

​The school was officially opened in 1953. The opening was celebrated with a blessing by the Archbishop. The school had a big celebration when B Block was built. Our Preschool had an official opening in 1997.

Over the years, there have been many celebrations like when the children made their First Communion. The old photos show big groups of children under streamers.

The Communion was followed with a “breakfast” (or Party), as the children had to fast beforehand. The girls usually wore special white dresses and veils.

Our uniform

The first uniform was navy just like all the schools run by the Sisters of St. Joseph. The boys wore blue shirts and grey shorts. The girls’ uniform was very hot, so the green sports uniform became the day uniform.

The second sports uniform was a light green tunic and the sports uniform a green polo shirt and shorts or netball skirt for the girls.

The boys uniform was changed from blue to green. Luckily, we now have a sunsafe hat. It replaced caps for the boys and little hats for the girls. In 2004 new day and sports uniforms were introduced which are both comfortable and sunsafe. You can see this on our Uniforms Page.

Our patrons and special celebrations

Our parish patron, Saint Bernard – a crusader of the Catholic Church

Contributed by Monique.

Saint Bernard was born in 1090 near Dijon, which is in France. He had a lot to do with the monks when he was growing up.

Although he was a very gentle man, he was always fearless in giving people his opinions on things.

Once, Saint Bernard was asked to lead a crusade. A crusade was sometimes called a holy war. The reason for this war was to reclaim the city of Jerusalem from the Turkish people who had captured the city.

Saint Bernard died in 1153. During his life he had established 68 monasteries. His feast day is celebrated o​n August 20.

Parish Patron:

St Bernard's Feast Day is celebrated on August 20.

Sisters of St Joseph:                                                                                                                        

St Joseph's Feast Day is celebrated March 19.

Foundress of Sisters of St Joseph:​

St Mary MacKillop of the Cross' Feast Day is celebrated on  August 8.

Combined  Feast Day Celebration is held on a day between the 8th and 20th of August to celebrate both St Bernard and St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.  Staff and students of the school gather in family groups to celebrate.​

​​©​ ​School building drawings with Thanks to class teacher Bernard Dijkmans 2000

"Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Line engraving by D. Custos, 1597. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark. Source: Wellcome Collection. https://wellcomecollection.org/works/rdcnjz9p​