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Educating for two centuries

Photo Acknowledgement: Library & Archives NT PH0112/0044  https://hdl.handle.net/10070/57843

Educating for two centuries - News article published in the NT News featuring in the Back to School publication on Friday 29 January 2021. 

In 2021, Catholic education celebrates 200 years of Catholic schooling in Australia. Today there are 1,751 Catholic schools educating 768,000 students and employing 98,000 staff.

On 18 February a national launch for the bicentenary celebrations is planned to be held in the Diocese of Parramatta, which has connections to the first Catholic school opened in Hunter Street Parramatta in October 1820. Due to COVID restrictions this event may have to be held at a later date.

Over 200 years, Catholic schools have grown to become the largest provider of schooling in Australia outside government, with one in five school age students attending a Catholic school.


National Catholic education executive director Jacinta Collins said Catholic schools have served Australian families for over 200 years.


“As we build on the rich legacy of those that came before us, we have faith in the future of Catholic education and our shared mission to both educate and enliven the faith lives of future generations of children and young people,” she said.


The bicentenary celebrations are an opportunity to give thanks for the gift of Catholic education in Australia, and to recognise the contribution of all those involved in the foundation and development of Catholic education over the past two centuries.


The celebrations are also an opportunity to look forward to a hope-filled future as Catholic education navigates new territory in schooling and the changing educational landscape and societal context in Australia.

Today nearly 40 per cent of Catholic schools are located outside of metropolitan cities in regional, rural and remote communities.

The bicentenary will be celebrated throughout 2021 with a range of national and local events which will be held around the country.

Catholic Education Northern Territory will host an official launch to kick off the 200 years celebrations on 1 March 2021. The launch will be held at St Mary’s Cathedral, which also shares the same site as the first Catholic school St Mary’s Catholic Primary School established in 1908.

A National Mass will also be celebrated in every state, territory and diocese on the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians on 24 May 2021. 

For more information visit www.200years.catholic.edu.au

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