MEMORABILIA: St Joseph's School, Alstonville, students (from left) Claudia Barnes, Jasiah Murgha, Felicity Bultitude and Fergus Woolley check out the memoriabilia display ready for the school's centenary celebrations, including a photo of a class from 1985 (left).
MEMORABILIA: St Joseph's School, Alstonville, students (from left) Claudia Barnes, Jasiah Murgha, Felicity Bultitude and Fergus Woolley check out the memoriabilia display ready for the school's centenary celebrations, including a photo of a class from 1985 (left). Graham Broadhead

Alstonville school centenary uncovers historic irony

HISTORY can sometimes throw up some quirky ironies.

St Joseph's Catholic primary school at Alstonville will be celebrating its centenary from Friday, August 30, through to Sunday, September 1.

The first principal of the school, for a short time known as St Laurence of O'Toole School, was a Sister of St Joseph, Sr Marie Therese.

She oversaw the education of the first 22 pupils at the school -- and urban legend has it she went to the public school next door to ensure all the Catholic students came across to the new school.

Fast forward 100 years and the school now has 180 students.

But, the irony is that today the school is led by a principal with the same name as the original, Marie-Therese, but this time with the surname Seymour.

However, that was a fun fact not obvious to the teaching staff as preparations for the centenary celebrations began as Ms Seymour is known by the second of her hyphenated names, Therese.

She did say she has been copping some friendly stick from her colleagues -- but she is owning it, and will on the Friday of the celebrations dress as her namesake from all those years ago.

One of the features of this weekend's celebrations is the display of the contents of a time capsule which was buried for the school's 75th anniversary.

Ms Seymour said it was planned 25 years ago that the capsule would be opened for the centenary, and reburied with new pieces of memorabilia.

Included in the 75th anniversary capsule were letters from students of 1994 written to students of today.

One of those students, Elizabeth McMahon, is today a teacher and assistant principal at the school.

The letters and many other pieces of memorabilia, including photos, will be on display for Friday's family day and will remain on display for Sunday's open day.

Bernie Scanlan, at 96 years old, is believed to be the oldest former student, and is expected to attend the centenary celebrations.

Friday's events begin with a Liturgy in McCarthy Hall from 9.30am, followed by student displays of "School through the decades”.

On Saturday, a centenary dinner will be held at McCarthy Hall from 7pm, with tickets costing $45 available from the school.

A centenary mass will be held on Sunday at 10am. The school then will be open to the public.