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Church of Christ the King: Local History
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Christ the King School
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As far back as 1888, His Lordship, Bishop Gibney expressed his wish to have a Convent School erected in Beaconsfield, that might serve as a Chapel on Sundays, with an accompanying residence for the three teaching nuns who would staff the school on weekdays.

For a time, the immense work involved with building the new church of St Patrick at Fremantle, prevented his dream from becoming a reality. Over a period of four year the Catholic people of Beaconsfield worked together with the Oblate Fathers to raise funds necessary for the establishment of their own Church/School. They knew the task would be a long and difficult one, as the cost of the building alone would be six hundred pounds, not taking into account the cost for furnishings, equipment, the altar and so on.

After many months of preparation, they began a series of highly successful Bazaars and Concerts at the Fremantle Town Hall . The results exceeded all expectations, and with additional contributions from various sources, work commenced on the construction of a weatherboard building on the corner of Lefroy Road and Livingstone Street .

On a hot January day in 1903, two Sisters from the religious order of St Joseph of the Apparition, Sister Camillus and Sister Alacoque, walked from Fremantle, along a dusty road to Beaconsfield , to set up classes in the new weatherboard building. They had an enrolment of 75 students.

Within a few weeks, this number had grown to 150. The original group of four sister of the order of St Joseph of the Apparition had arrived in Fremantle in 1855, to take up education and missionary work. This was just one year before the death of their Foundress, Emilie de Vialar. In those early years they took up teaching positions in Parry Street , Fremantle and Victoria Avenue, North Fremantle.

From 1903 through to 1934 the weatherboard building in Beaconsfield served as a school on weekdays, and as a Church on Sundays.

The main building ran from West to East, with a verandah on the North side. At one end was a Sanctuary, equipped with an altar, which was separated from the school by a curtain. At the other end was a raised platform, which was used for concerts and public displays. A folding partition divided the Infants School from the Mixed School . There were twenty-six wooden desks, long and solid, made especially at Glendalough Industrial School .

Running at right angles to the building was the Convent, with suitable accommodation for the small group of teaching sisters.

When Father John Ryan was given charge of the Beaconsfield District, the site for a new Church was leveled and work was started on the building. The completed Church, costing four thousand pounds was blessed and opened by Archbishop Prendiville on January 3 rd 1937.

The people of Beaconsfield were justifiably proud of their new Church, dedicated to Christ the King. The site, once a quarry, was a truly superb one. The graceful lines of the Church could be seen far out to sea. The building was worthy of such a commanding site, and the high purpose to which it was intended.

There was no doubt that this building was the culmination of much sacrifice and generosity on the part of the people of Beaconsfield, the Oblate Fathers and of course, Father Ryan, whose combined efforts helped to bring this task to completion.

In November 1953, the first section of our brick/tile school, as we knew it, was blessed and opened by Archbishop Prendiville. There were three classrooms. By 1969, enrolment had grown to 265 students, and there were four teaching nuns, with an additional lay teacher, Mrs Olga Drane.

That same year, Father Edward Donovan, SMA, was appointed Parish Priest and continueduntil his retirement after his Golden Jubilee in 1994. Father Liam Keating, SMA, joined us in 1981 and is now Parish Priest. Father Michael Evans, SMA, assists him. Both Father Keating and Father Evans play a vital part in the religious life of the school.

Today, more than ninety years since that day in January 1903, we can proudly say we've been part of the Catholic Education in this State for a very large part of the 150 years since it first started in W.A.

Throughout its 99 years of history, Christ the King School has provided a positive educational and spiritual environment in which children have developed their academic and physical potential, as well as a loving relationship with God and their fellow students.

In April 1997, the school relocated from the Lefroy Road site to York Street Beaconsfield, and from 1999 has encompassed a Learning Centre for children with Special Needs.

Since 1988 Christ the King School has been an Intensive Language Centre for newly arrived migrant children of primary age, who came to Australia from countries where English is not spoken. In recent years, due to decreased ESL students, assistance for learning English is through classroom support programs. All staff members, with the help of specialist English teacher, support these children in a stress free settlement into their country.

This multicultural mix has created a rich cultural atmosphere within the school where each child's unique heritage is understood and appreciated.

 

Christ the King School Mosaics:

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1910 - Sisters walk from Fremantle 1920 - Classrooms are built on Hill

1910s:

Three sisters walk from Fremantle to open the school in January 1903. They make the round-trip each day to hold lessons.

1920s:

Three classrooms are built on the hill for use by Years One through Seven. Basketball courts are also built (located where the Church carpark is today). The first Annual Bazaar is held for fundraising.

1930 - Church of Christ the King is built

1930s:

Church of Christ the King is built and consecrated on 18 th August 1936, Father Ryan OMI is the priest. The altar boys walk from Christian Brothers College in Fremantle to serve at mass.

A Nun's residence is built on the property. On very hot days Sister holds lessons under the large pepper trees on the hill.

1940s:

School land is cleared and the remaining limestone used to build a wall around school grounds. The School begins commercial classes.

1950 - Newly built school buildings are opened.

1960s - The priests of the African Mission Order replace the Oblate Fathers of Mary Order of the church

1950s:

Newly built school buildings are opened. Brick classrooms are replacing the previous corrugated iron classrooms. Annual Bazaar continues, successful as ever.

1960s:

The priests of the African Missions Order (SMA) replace the Oblate Fathers of Mary order at the Church. Fr Edward Joseph Donovan SMA arrives in January 1969 to become Parish Priest of Christ the King Church .

1970 - 1978 sees the 75th anniversary of the school 1980 - School enrolment numbers grow rapidly.

1970s:

1978 sees the 75 th Anniversary of the School. Sr Zoe Milne SJ is the last Sister of Joseph of the Apparition principal, leaving in December 1974. First lay principal is Mr John McTavish, he is appointed in January 1975. The house next door to the school is purchased in 1977 and becomes the first Pre-Primary Language Centre.

1980s:

School enrolment numbers grow rapidly, double-stream throughout the school. A demountable is used for the second Pre-Primary class. The New Arrivals Program begins in 1988 with Commonwealth funding aiding its operations. Enrolment numbers swell with the arrival of 80 refugees from El Salvador, Poland and other countries. New school buildings are completed and Bruce Lee oval is used for children to play during lunch.

1990s - Kindergarten classes commence in 1996. 2000s - School celebrates its Centenary year in 2003.

1990s:

Kindergarten classes commence in 1996. Soon after, in May 1997, the School relocates to the previous Seton Catholic College site in York St (buildings were completed in 1964 for St. Brendan's College).

2000s:

School celebrates its Centenary Year in 2003, the celebrations are held in November to coincide with the Feast of Christ the King.

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