7 News Sydney recently visited St Patrick's Primary Parramatta as part of its coverage of the bicentennial celebrations of Catholic Education in Australia.
The bicentenary commemorates the anniversary of the first official Catholic school in Australia, founded in October 1820 by Irish Catholic priest Fr John Therry. The school, which Catholic historians believe was located on Hunter Street in Parramatta, taught 31 students. Parramatta Marist High School, now located in Westmead and St Patrick's Primary, Parramatta both have connections to this first school.
The Channel 7 story featured some St Patrick's students and Principal Bernadette Fabri reflecting on historical images of the school. These included staff photos featuring Ms Fabri early in her teaching career at the school.
Today, there are over 1,750 Catholic schools in Australia educating more than 760,000 students and employing almost 100,000 staff.
Executive Director Jacinta Collins said the bicentennial celebrations recognise the enormous contribution of Catholic schools in Australia.
"Over 200 years Catholic schools have educated millions of Australian students," Ms Collins said. "We have grown alongside the government sector in ensuring the education of generations of young people, and have contributed to the development of individuals, local communities, and the economic and social fabric of this nation."