The present school property was originally known as “Corumbene”, and was owned by the Shoobridge family, pioneers of the hop industry. Early in 1925 the Catholic Church bought Corumbene and, in the same year, Archbishop Delany approached the Sisters of Charity to administer a school to be developed on the site.
The beginning of Catholic education in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley was marked by the setting and blessing of the foundation stone of St Brigid’s Convent School on 4 October 1925. His Grace, the Archbishop of Hobart, Most Rev. P Delany, DD opened and blessed the modest two-classroom block on 27 December 1925. One week later on 4 January 1926, 80 students commenced their schooling at St Brigid’s. The January commencement of the first term was necessary because at the time all hops in the valley were picked manually and the month of March was “Hop Picking Holidays”. Classes were conducted in the two new classrooms as well as in the Convent itself (Cill Dara).
The first 25 years of St Brigid’s School saw the Sisters of Charity at the helm. In 1950, a new chapter in the history of St Brigid’s began when the Presentation Sisters assumed the running of the school which catered for both secondary and primary students. Gradually new buildings were added including an extension to the original classrooms and later the addition of two new brick classrooms in the early sixties.
In 1966 it was decided that secondary students would attend Catholic Colleges in Hobart and that the school would cater for primary students only. This move was deemed necessary in order to meet the greater needs of secondary students in specialised subjects and made possible by improved transport options.
Further growth in school facilities commenced in April 1978 when under the guidance of then Parish Priest, Fr. Peter O’Loughlin, two new spacious rooms with all the latest educational facilities were constructed. The classrooms were officially opened and blessed on Sunday 3 December 1978. In 1984 the St Brigid’s Building programme was extended with the completion of a new multi-purpose room, administration area and staff room. Refurbishments to the original building as well as additional building works were completed in 1987 including the incorporation of a special education area and new library.
In 1992 the Presentation Sisters ended their role as administrators of the school. The people of New Norfolk will long remember the warmth and dedication of the Sisters who followed their commitment to Christ while educating hundreds of students between 1926 and 1992. The first lay Principal, Mr Sean Gill, was appointed in 1993.
2000 saw the school administration area moved to historic Cill Dara, which had been extensively renovated to accommodate offices, a staff room, a meeting room, and a staff preparation area. During 2001 an application was made for a grant to build two new classrooms for Prep and Grade One, to refurbish the Grade Six room and to demolish two classrooms and renew this space as an outdoor assembly area. Work on the new building and refurbishment began in August 2001 and was completed in February 2002. The new classrooms were officially blessed and opened on 22 May of that year by His Grace Archbishop Doyle and Senator Guy Barnett.
In 2002, Mr Peter McBain (2002 - 2007) commenced his principalship at St Brigid’s. Change, development and modernisation continued. The beginning of 2004 heralded the commencement of the first Kindergarten Class. The year 2006 saw the celebration of Eighty Years of Catholic Education in the Derwent Valley and also the 100th Anniversary of the Cill Dara building. In 2007, the Investing on Our Schools Program funding allowed the grass resurfacing of the oval and the bitumen resurfacing of the hardstand play area thus greatly improving the condition of play areas for the 200+ St Brigid’s Catholic School students.
In 2008, Ms Joy Matar assumed the principalship at St Brigid’s Catholic School. Throughout 2008 the focus was very much on improving educational outcomes for all students and, with the support of the school community and the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office, developing a comprehensive Capital Works Master Plan. This plan proved to put St Brigid’s in a very timely position when in early 2009 the Australian Government announced its Nation Building Economic Stimulus Package which included considerable funding for primary school capital works programs.
Mid 2010 saw the exciting completion of major capital works made possible through the Australian Government’s Building the Educational Revolution (BER) program. $2,420,000 allowed the construction of a multipurpose hall with kitchen, toilet, staging and storage facilities and an Early Childhood learning area, the extensive redevelopment and extension of three general learning areas and a new library area and associated groundwork, Kindergarten playground, courtyard and travel areas. The facilities provide modern learning areas, which foster current trends in learning and teaching and community involvement. The Australian Government’s PRIDE in our Schools program provided funds ($125,000) to establish double netball courts on river flats below the main school site and supported the installing of wireless technology throughout the school. Both BER and PRIDE works, which were official opened and blessed by the Director for Catholic Education, Dr Trish Hindmarsh and Archbishop Adrian Doyle DD on 8 April 2011, were welcomed by the school community.
Following the completion of the major works a Reconciliation Garden and Reflection Area was established at one end of the playground court area and students’ vegetable gardens positioned at the other. The river flat area thus became a multiuse area catering for various aspects and a focus area for school learning programs.
During 2011 a State Grant of $305,000 was utilised to complete the upgrading of the remaining general learning areas at St Brigid’s. The Kindergarten / Prep classrooms were extended and modernized and the original 1926 school building underwent another transformation to establish it as the Grade 5 & 6 learning area.
The two years of facilities building and upgrades at St Brigid’s Catholic School has matched and complemented the vision for a collaboration learning community, utilising spaces which are agile and transformable.
In October 2015 St Brigid’s Catholic School commenced celebrations for its 90th anniversary. The highlight being the late October 90th anniversary Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Hobart, His Grace Julian Porteous and the 90th anniversary fair attended by the Governor of Tasmania, Her Excellency, Kate Warner and Archbishop Porteous. At our celebrations we remembered and honoured our past as we looked to the future with pride and confidence. In the time since we have continued to fulfil our 90th anniversary aspirations.
In 2019 Mr Stuart Kelly commenced his Principalship at St Brigid's, a new appointment and a new perspective on our history and future. And so, while remembering and honouring the past, the St Brigid’s Catholic School Community continues to look to the future with pride and confidence as we realise our Vision and live out our Mission.