Our History


School's Tradition

Holy Name Catholic School has a proud and rich Mercy tradition and is Toowoomba's second oldest Catholic primary school.  Many students are the third generation of their family that attend the school.  We acknowledge and thank the fine work of the Sisters of Mercy in our past and we wish to carry on their influence with instilling the values of hospitality, commitment, excellence and justice for today and in the future of our school community.

The Site of Holy Name Church and School

The land where our present Church and School stands was once part of the Mort Estate, which was surveyed by J.C. Burnett in 1849.  Over a hundred acres of this land in 1857 had been owned by: T. Agerst, T.S. Mort and A.C. Brown.  The purchase of land for worship and education was thought to have been made by either Father O'Connell or Father Fouhy for the Toowoomba Parish.

Click to enlarge - First Church/School openinged in January 1905
First Church/School opened in January 1905

Early Days and the Sisters of Mercy

The Sisters of Mercy first arrived in Toowoomba on 23rd July, 1873 to teach at St Patrick's Church/School, now known as St Saviour's College.  Later, in 1904 the sisters began teaching at the site of Holy Name what was known as the Mort Estate.  Daily, the dedicated Sisters would travel by horse and buggy from St Saviour's to teach in the Church which was a solid timber building.  The children of the Holy Name area studiedtheir lessons with a curtain drawn across in front of the Altar. 

In 1905, an extract from, The Toowoomba Chronicle reported the dedication and opening of the original wooden Church and School by Archbishop Dunne.  The church was blessed and dedicated for worship on Sunday, 22nd and the school was formally opened at 10am on Monday, 23rd of January.  The newly established school began with no less than 81 pupils present.

Eleven years later in 1916, a house in the area was purchased to be used as a convent.  This house eventually became part of the presbytery and the presbytery was built where the convent use to be.

On August 4th, 1919, The Church/School was destroyed by fire - the cause was not known.  At the time, there were 320 children on the roll.  The School was then conducted in the house belonging to Mr and Mrs Hannant on the corner of West and Norwood Streets, near the present tennis courts.  This house had been a private hospital for years and was a large rambling place with lots of verandahs.

School Building opened in 1921

New Church/School Built

The Foundation Stone of the present Holy Name School and Church was laid by Archbishop Duhig on 23rd November, 1919.  At this time, Monsignor Fouhy referred to the generosity of Mr Peter Venaglia loaning the parish the sum of 5,000 pounds which allowed for the early commencement of the new building which was to be brick with cement ceilings and tiled roof.  This present church/school building with its Gothic style architecture was opened on Sunday, 23rd January, 1921 by his Grace, Archbishop Duhig.

A New Convent

In 1926, the Sisters moved further down Bridge Street into the convent which had been the family home of Mr and Mrs Pat Horan.  After purchase, a chapel was added on the eastern-side of the building.  Since this time, the building had been occupied by the Sisters with the exception of one year during which time it housed youth studying at the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education (now USQ).  Under the name, "Sentosa" it was occupied by Sr. Cecilia O'Sullivan and Sr. Sue O'Neill, who offered a quiet setting for women in various situation of illness and needing hospice care.

School Motto
Nec aliud Nomen
No other name 
click to enlarge - School Motto
For of all the names in the world given to men, 
this is the only one by which we can be saved.
(Acts 4:12)

School Badge and Motto

A school badge was implemented as part of the school uniform by Sister Mary Sylvester who was principal in 1948.  The badge was worn in the middle of the tunic and helped to keep the tie inside the tunic.  The badge had the words, "Toowoomba, Holy Name" and the school motto,"Nec Aliud Nomen", which means, "No other Name."  Here reference needs to be made from the Bible to the particular verse in Acts, "For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved."  (Acts 4:12)

Holy Name students

When the uniform changed to the standard green tunic of the Mercy schools in Toowoomba, the badge did not remain.  It was revived again in 1987 when the uniform changed away from the Mercy green to the navy and white now worn.  The badge became the emblem on the sports shirts and later on school hats, stationery and banner.  The replica which was kindly made and donated by Mr Bryan Kenny hangs over the door in the Church foyer.


More Building and Maintenance

In 1956, the infant school was built by parishioner builder, Mr Jack Fitzpatirick, with the Pre-school being added in 1963.  A Federal Government grant was successfully applied for and the library was furnished and the book stock replenished in 1976.  In 1977, further upgrading was carried out when the western verandah was glassed in.

From the Sisters to Lay Principals

1985, sadly saw the Sisters of Mercy withdraw from the school. Here, we now pay tribute to the Sisters of Mercy by listing those who were in residence at Holy Name from 1929-1985.

1929-1931:  Sr. M. Annette Kinnane & 7 in community. 
1933-1937:  Sr. M. Borromeo Cogan & 8 in community.  
1937-1938:  Sr. M. Sebastian Barry & 8 in community.
1938-1942:  Sr. M. Annette Kinnane & 8 in community.  
1943-1944:  Sr. M. Gilbert Collins & 8 in community.  
1944-1950:  Sr. M. St. Margaret Evans & 8 in community 
including Sr. M. Helen as Principal in 1946 and Sr. M. Sylvester as Principal in 1947.
1950-1951:  Sr. Agnes Mary Thompson (Music Teacher) & 8 in community. 
1951-1955:  Sr. Ancilla Mullan & 8 in community 
including Sr. M. Joseph Xavier as Principal in 1951 and Sr. M. Helen as Principal in 1953. 
1955-1959:  Sr. M. Malachy O'Reilly & 8 in community.  
1960-1966:  Sr. M. Protus Garvey & 9 in community. 
1966-1971:  Mother M. St.  Paul Battagelene & 7 in community. 
1972-1974:  Mother M. Monica Brosnan & 5 in community including Sr. Josephine Fitzpatrick as Principal.
1974-1985:  Sr. M. Gildas; Sr. M. Finbar;  Sr. M. Josephine Fitzpatrick and Sr. Sue O'Neill.

Mr Kevin Roche became the first lay principal who commenced in January, 1986.

During 1989/1990 extensive work was carried out on the school buildings.  It included complete electrical rewiring, permanent partitions between the upstairs classrooms, new windows, lowering of the ceilings, heating and painting.  New toilets were installed in both buildings, allowing children to use these facilities without being at the whim of the elements.

In January, 1991 a second lay principal, Mr Phil Cash was appointed to Holy Name.  A community kindergarten was established in 1992 from an unused and converted building in the grounds facing Rosewood Street.

In 1994, the Parish Hall was relocated and lowered to the ground allowing for easier access.  A new lower primary classroom block of four classrooms and a covered eating area was established.  The funding for this came from a combination of Federal and State Government Grants and the continued sacrifice of parishioners of the area.  At the same time, the former Block (Maria Goretti Building) was remodelled to an administration area, staff-room, new library and extended Pre-school.

Another significant educational addition was the commencement of the Out of Hours School Care (OHSC).  This provides professional support for children whose parents require qualified care for their children after regular school hours finish.

2002/2003 saw some further changes to the sports uniform and girls' winter pinafore.  The current style may be seen on this website.  The present uniform features the school colours of navy blue, yellow and white.

Click to enlarge - plans

100th Birthday!

2005 was a celebratory year for Holy Name School for it had reached its 100th birthday.  Many past and present pupils, staff and parishioners celebrated with Saturday Race Day, dinners, and Holy Mass during the May Labor Day long week-end.

In July of 2005, we bade farewell to Mr Phil Cash as principal and wished him well in his retirement.  The last six months of this year was lead by the very capable Acting Principal, Mrs Annette Grimshaw.

In 2006, we welcomed Mr David Adams-Jones who was appointed to be the present school principal.  As a community, we looked with hope to a future of continued growth and nurturance of all who belong in the "family" of Holy Name Catholic School.

2007 was the Year that saw the introduction of the Preparatory Year being the first year of school.  Mrs Logan and Mrs Lacey were the teachers who took on the task.  In November, Bishop William Morris and Mr Kerry Shine opened the Prep facilities in the presence of the whole school community, parish, CEO representatives and wider community supporters.


This history was compiled by Elizabeth Klimkowicz.

Information was sourced from the following:

  • Holy Name Catholic School, Holy Name Church School Toowoomba, 1919-1994 Anniversary Weekend, 4th 5th 6th November, Toowoomba Education Centre, 1994.

  • Older Parishioners, A History of Holy Name Parish, A Personal Experience of Some of Our Older Parishioners,Toowoomba, June, 1985. 

  • Wiemers, Rev. Fr James Joseph, West of the Range, Fifty Years of the Diocese of Toowoomba, Toowoomba, Year Unknown.


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