St Anthony’s School was established in 1959 at 473 West Tamar Road with 24 pupils. In 1954 Riverside Primary School was opened and Cormiston School closed, so St Anthony’s was able to obtain the building, which also served as a Mass centre for St. Francis’ parish during this time.
The Presentation Sisters were in charge of the school from its inauguration with Sr. Clare the first Principal. Many of the first students are still involved with St. Anthony’s school.
In 1961 the Poor Clare Sisters arrived and in 1962 a new school block was completed. When the Poor Clare Sisters withdrew (due to lack of Sisters) in 1971, the Presentation Sisters agreed to return.
They continued in charge of the school until 1982 when Mrs Therese von Samorzewski was appointed as the first lay Principal. The school is proud of the connections it has with the Franciscan Friars, the Presentation Sisters and the Poor Clare Sisters.
- Mrs Therese von Samorzewski 1982-1995
- Mr Tony Claessens 1996-1999
- Mrs Carmel Baumgartner 2000-2006
- Mr Mark Workman 2007 - 2014
- Mrs Mary Wall 2014 Term 4 (Acting)
St Anthony’s initiated the concept of introducing Kindergarten in the Catholic School system in Tasmania. As a pilot scheme, St Anthony’s and St Thomas More’s commenced their kindergartens in 1983, Mrs Elizabeth Heckscher being St Anthony’s first kindergarten teacher.
As the school population increased, new buildings were added, stage 1 in 1987 and stage 2 in 1989. In time, however, lack of space and localised land-slip became problems and recreational activities were hindered by the steepness of the site.
The new school, the building of which began in 2001, is located on the northern side of Riverside High School and is superbly located on a gently eastern sloping, grassy meadow overlooking the Tamar River, providing spacious and flat areas of ground for the children’s play and sporting activities. The children have a great feeling of freedom and space to run and play.
On Monday 29th October 2001, at 10.00 am, our school community, together with invited guests, gathered on the new green-field site to bless the land for our new school buildings. Invited guests included Indigenous elders Alma Stackhouse and Delia Summers who spoke as “Welcome to Country”, the Director of Catholic Education, Mr Paul Stevens and the Archbishop of Hobart, the Most Rev. Adrian Doyle, who blessed the land and, together with the school Principal, Mrs Carmel Baumgartner, turned the first sod of soil in preparation for the foundations.
The staff and students prepared a special ceremony for the occasion. The students made and flew peace kites. The children were excited to run free in the wide expanse of green under a huge dome of blue that lifted their spirits.
The relocation of the whole school facilities occurred in the September 2002 school holidays and St. Anthony’s opened its wonderful new facility at 382a West Tamar Road on September 24th 2002, at the beginning of Term 3.
The building of the new school was made possible by grants from the Commonwealth Government, the State Government and by loans from the Catholic Development Fund as well as from fund raising by the school community.
The new buildings, designed by Andrew Floyd of Philp Lighton Architects were erected by Stubbs Construction Pty Ltd. Careful consideration was given to the layout ensuring the separation of vehicle and student circulation, with an access road, car park and lay-by zones providing easy and safe access to all.
On the first day, September 24th 2002, our 200 students participated enthusiastically in ceremonies to celebrate our new school. These included a “Raising the Flags” ceremony, a Mass of celebration in our new hall and afternoon fun activities – “Celebrating the Space”.
The official opening was held on 18th October 2002 with Senator John Watson representing the Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training. The Archbishop of Hobart, the Most Rev. Adrian Doyle, blessed the new buildings as the whole community rejoiced. The expressions of the spirit of the school within the ceremony were a highlight: the transfer of the statue of St. Anthony, by two of the original students of St. Anthony’s from the old site to the new in a 1950’s Holden, a symbol of the era in which St. Anthony’s School was founded; the liturgical dance of welcome following the recognition of the site by Aboriginal elders; the presentation of a cross (designed and made by Leo van Tienen from the wood of a boat in the former school yard) made by the Principal, Mrs Carmel Baumgartner to kinder student, Joshua Facchin, (the cross then passed from child to child); the presentation of a granit Tau cross, representing the involvement of the Franciscan Friars by Religious Education Coordinator, Mrs Catherine Dunn and a time capsule to be opened in 43 years time, signifying the current age of the school; and finally the release of a peace dove by Mr Roy Mason, a past parent of the school, combined with dancing by Caitlin Turner and Nicole Dobber.
St Anthony’ s School is a state of the art primary education facility with a community committed to the whole development of its children based on a developing spirituality in the traditions of the Franciscans, the Poor Clares and the Presentation orders.
St Anthony’s has predominantly been a single stream school with a double stream grouping entering in 2005. As such, the school provides a close-knit family environment for the education of children. Our new school incorporates a compact and integrated classroom design with buildings clustered around a courtyard, which enhances the community feel of the school. The courtyard has linking covered ways and shade sails for extended learning and play opportunities.
Sporting and physical education classes have been enhanced by level, grassy and extensive playing fields which stretch beyond the courtyard.
This design has greatly enhanced the sense of community and enabled a more effective use of resources. Classrooms are grouped in banks of two around the courtyard to maximise flexibility for teaching and supervision while retaining a small-scale development.
Each classroom has extensive areas of windows and high ceilings to maximise natural light and ventilation together with a creatine use of colour to enhance rooms that will be vibrant, warm and welcoming. The state of the art data cabling provides for an efficient use of information technology.
The school currently has 9 classrooms including a separate kinder and preparatory area. It has a separate kinder playground, school playground consisting of netball/basketball court, 2 ovals for football, soccer and cricket, Ausplay playground and large undercover sandpit, an administration bock, library block, an art/music block and a multi-purpose hall. The introduction of a computer lap-top lab commenced for all classes in 2008 with further renovations to the library.
Further to this, in 2008 commenced Out of School Hours Care program. Programs offered include; before and after school, vacation and pupil free school day care. The programs are held in the school hall with students utilizing the school grounds for outdoor recreational activities.
2008 marked the 50th anniversary of St Anthony’s School. Many activities and celebrations for both students, staff and parents were enjoyed the most memorable the Dinner held at the Riverside Golf Club accommodated over one hundred past and present school guests including Catholic Education Office employees.
In August the school farewelled Patricia Mason who had served the school as Office Manager for 24 years, totalling 35 years association with the school.
In March we farewelled Fr. Bryan Lester who transferred to Queensland and was replaced by Fr. Allan Hartcher.
2009 saw the installation of a second playground for senior students at a cost of $21,000 and the upgrade of the ovals for $70,000, ably assisted by a systemic school grant.
Early March the Federal Government accepted the building plans as part of the Governments Recession Stimulus Package for Schools. 2009 also marked the 800 year of the Franciscan Order established in 1209.
The biggest gain for the students was the completion of the $1.8 million building project funded by the BER (Building Education Revolution) Federal Government stimulus package. The project saw an Arts/Language Centre, including an amphitheatre, built to the existing hall, all creating a stimulating learning environment for the Music, Arts and LOTE Programs. The hall extension provided much needed additional space for larger gatherings such as assemblies and community functions.
With the inclusion of a kitchen facility, cooking activities can now be incorporated into the curriculum. Classrooms were extended by 7 sqm with an additional outdoor learning area, creating flexibility to learning arrangements.
The roof over the adventure playground provides all year round weather protection and the flexi-paved basketball/netball court increases recreational choice for the students.
The stage in the hall has been re-designed for multi-use – now providing a “Sacred Space” for prayer, reflection and liturgy. The stained glass window a major feature. Archbishop Adrian Doyle, accompanied by M.P. Jodie Campbell, officially opened and blessed the buildings on the 13th July.
At the same time, the school launched its School Improvement Plan 2009 – 2013. Archbishop Adrian mandated the school as an authentic Catholic school.
Parish-School relationships remained strong with Fr. Allan Hartcher offering weekly class Masses in the school hall and an increase in the students’ involvement in weekend Parish Liturgies. The Vision and Mission Statement of the Archdiocese of Hobart was launched in a special Parish Liturgy on Sunday 4th July, held in the newly renovated school hall. This was the very first Parish Mass held at the school! Numerous school liturgical celebrations were held throughout the year with feast day celebrations of Anthony, Clare and Francis, Fathers, Mothers and Grandparents day and the Canonization of St. Mary Mackillop, Australia’s first saint, were most memorable.
The school theme was titled, “staying connected” with a strong emphasis placed on strengthening the unity that exists in our school community, the relationship between Parish-School-Family and the sense of belonging and identity.
The completion and opening of the Sacred Space featuring a glorious two framed stained glass window of St Francis amongst the beauty of God’s creation occurred in March. At the same time the official naming of the new Arts/Language Centre “The Assisi Centre” after patron saints Francis and Clare of Assisi was complete with signage and motto “Walking in the footsteps of Christ”.
Once again we have been most fortunate to have Fr. Allan lead the students and school community in prayer and liturgy throughout the year, with most school/class liturgies held in the Assisi Centre. In August the whole of the West Tamar Parish gathered at St Anthony’s to celebrate Eucharist and lunch. A terrific occasion where all of the parishioners could join as one! The launch of the Archbishops latest document, “Family-School-Parish Relationship” was held with an acknowledgement of all activities the parish and school have achieved together. One most memorable celebration for the year was Father’s Day. An enormous number of fathers and grandfathers gathered for the ‘tribute to fathers’ liturgy followed by BBQ and games with the students during lunchtime. This was the second largest attended liturgical celebration of the year, remarkably outnumbering mothers day and matching attendance for grandparents day.
The bi-annual P & F School Fair took place on Sunday 13th November. An outstanding community event with a remarkable profit of over $15,000 that will be of great support to supporting additional educational resources for the students. Such financial self-help in times of an economic recession and Government funding cuts to the Catholic sector is a credit to the committed and united school community.
The 2012 yearly theme, Growing in Harmony” was chosen from one school improvement goal; to enhance community culture of inclusiveness and connectedness and as a result a variety of programs and celebrations were enjoyed by all.
The year also marked the 10th anniversary of the school site having opened in September of 2002. We celebrated in style, viewing historical moments and memories via powerpoint and hearing in person from past students, staff and parents about the school’s 10 year development. This wonderful celebration truly brought to life the growing harmony of the school community.
New initiatives included the expansion of student leadership teams to include all 60 grade 6 students in SRC, Mini Vinnies, Media Club, Aussie Sport Leaders and Garden Club.
The $65,000 Kindergarten yard re-development now provide students an explorative, environmental, play base experience of outstanding quality. Rolling grass hills, a variety of ground textures, play equipment, road tracks, a creek bed with recycled water and bushes creates the ultimate outdoor learning experiences catering for all interests and the development of human senses. Congratulations to the School Board and planning committee, especially Groundsman Luke van Tienen, for all their hard work.
The sustainable vegetable garden was developed with the garden club providing much of the maintenance, love and care throughout. An old shipping container was purchased and repainted into a magnificent landscape feature of forests, waterways, birds and wildlife work carried out by Aboriginal artist Judith-Rose Thomas. All students played a part in the design and painting under Judith’s care. The container is used to store garden equipment with the garden program ready to be further expanded to all classes in 2013.
The LOTE program expanded to 3 languages, Indonesian (Prep-2), French (Gr3-4), and German (Gr 5-6). The program led by bilingual LOTE teacher Mrs Liz McLean.
School sport carnivals were once again a success with House team Francis taking honours for the second year running in all 3 carnivals: - Swimming, Cross Country, and Athletics.
The 2013 yearly theme, “Proud to be …. St Anthony’s” was chosen to emphasise one of the yearly goals ‘to build a sense of identity and pride within the school community and across the wider community’. In bringing this goal to fruition a number of initiatives and activities were undertaken and promoted. Some of these included an upgrade of the school front foyer which clearly depicts the school’s catholicity, Franciscan tradition and welcoming environment.
The school website was updated, newsletters distributed electronically, and a range of events connecting the school to the wider community. Some of these events included student involvement in the Launceston Competitions, Singfest, excursions to the West Tamar region churches, Age Care home, communal tree planting at tailrace, northern primary schools basketball competition, National Walk Safely to School Day, footy colour days, Bravehearts Program to name a few.
This year we have had many changes in the area of ICT and these changes have greatly benefited our students. 1:1 iPads were introduced in Grades 3 and 6. This proved to be a very successful learning tool with the educational benefits exceeding our expectations.
School sport carnivals were once again a success with House team Francis taking honours for the third year running in all 3 carnivals: - Swimming, Cross Country, and Athletics.
This year we farewelled Fr. Allan Hartcher OFM and Sr Frances McShane MSS to retirement and the Franciscans from ministry in the West Tamar region and St Anthony’s School (1956 – 2013).
2013 also saw the retirement of Archbishop Adrian Doyle, and the installation of Archbishop Julian Porteous.
At the end of the year, the Northern Regional Catholic Education Office relocated to the school grounds.
The 2014 yearly theme, “St Anthony’s…… in the Franciscan way” was chosen with a deliberate school improvement plan in mind in keeping the Franciscan tradition and history alive. With the departure of the Franciscan Order at the end of 2013, this years theme and goals become very much a sustainable approach for future years.
This year saw the opening of the Early Learning Program for 3 – 5 year olds in conjunction with Centrecare Childcare Services. We also commenced ‘Little Stars Playgroup’ for 0-4 year olds. These programs are a great addition to the wonderful educational services we offer at St Anthony’s.
We welcomed Fr Martin Aye Ngwe from Sydney to his new parish home of St Francis. His warm and approachable nature has made him very popular with our students. We had an exciting announcement from Fr Martin that a new church will be built on our school grounds. This project is planned to commence in 2015 and will live out a long term dream of the school and parish to physically be reunited as one.
We celebrated the opening of the Sacred Indigenous Garden during NAIDOC Week and it has been used for reflection and prayer by classes and individual students.
At the end of Term 3, we said goodbye to Mr Mark Workman and welcomed Mrs Mary Wall as our Acting Principal for Term 4. Mrs Anita Cunningham was appointed Principal commencing in 2015 and we look forward to her presence next year.
Mrs Anita Cunningham commenced as Principal.
Introduction of Loose Parts Play and the Bush Kitchen.