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School History

School History

1969 - 1974


On 28 January, Holy Spirit School is established in the foyer of the Redemptorist Monastery in Cranbrook, with 39 Year 1 students. Marie Arnold is the school’s first principal and only teacher. Then on 2 June, the school relocated across the road to a dedicated school built on land donated by Ron and Pat Lynch.

Supporting the newly established Association for the Welfare and Education of Deaf Children in North Queensland, the Nurrungar Hearing Unit is opened at Holy Spirit School, catered to helping children with hearing impairments.


On 26 January, the parents of the children at Holy Spirit School attend the school to meet with Principal Marie Arnold and the new teacher Ellen Lennon, who had just transferred from the staff of St Joseph’s School in Mundingburra. There are eighty-two pupils at the school in its second year.


The Sisters of Mercy take over the care of Holy Spirit School in Aitkenvale. The school is coeducational from Years 1 to 3, but from Years 4 to 7 it is attended by girls only. Year 4 boys attend St John Fisher’s Christian Brothers College.


On 17 June the first fete is held at Holy Spirit School.


On 9 September, Bishop Leonard Faulkner blesses extensions at the Holy Spirit School. The new wing is officially opened by Kim Beazley, the federal minister for education. The shelter shed has also been enlarged and the tuckshop incorporated into it.


On 10 February, a new classroom for deaf children is added to the Nurrungar Hearing Unit at Holy Spirit School.

After the little church on the Redemptorist Monastery grounds was destroyed by a fire on 8 December, Mass is held at Holy Spirit School on Sundays.

During 1974, work commences on the next stage of extensions at Holy Spirit School. Six new classrooms are added to the school, as well as quiet areas, a storeroom, covered teaching areas, covered play areas and staff accommodation. These developments are completed between March and September 1975.

1976 - 1989


Due to increasing enrolments at Holy Spirit, some classes are re-located to the Redemptorist Monastery building while two demountable buildings are built by to help accommodate the school’s growing population of 517 students.


Further extensions are made to the Nurrungar Hearing Unit at Holy Spirit School. To enable this expansion, the school’s netball courts are relocated. The Sisters of Mercy teaching at Holy Spirit move from the convent in West End to a residence at 2 Canara Street to be closer to the school.


A Rose Garden is established at the Holy Spirit School by Greg Lavell. It is blessed by Fr Peter Kerwick and dedicated to Sr Stephen Thomson, a former principal.


Holy Spirit Primary School student, Caryn West, puts her school into the Australian swimming record books when she wins gold, silver and bronze medals at the Australian championships.


The Holy Spirit Convent is built in Hatchett Street and Sisters of Mercy teaching at Holy Spirit School move into their new accommodation.


With far fewer children requiring special education due to hearing impairments, the Nurrungar Hearing Unit is closed. The Association for the Welfare and Education of Deaf Children in North Queensland handed over its buildings for use as extra classrooms.


The first Holy Spirit School Board was commissioned.


Renovations were made to one of the demountable buildings at Holy Spirit School to convert it into a parish meeting room and it was shared between parish and school.


Cathy Day is welcomed as the first lay principal at Holy Spirit School since the school came under the administration of the Sisters of Mercy in 1971. She serves as acting principal at the start of the year, before becoming principal in September.


At the Australian National Primary Athletic Titles in Melbourne, Michael Ryan puts Holy Spirit Primary School into the record books again when he wins a bronze medal for shot put.

1993 - 2003


A car park for the Holy Spirit Catholic School is constructed in Hatchett Street, Cranbrook, Townsville.


Ross Horner succeeds Cathy Day as principal of Holy Spirit Catholic School.

On 22 May, Holy Spirit Catholic School celebrates its silver jubilee, the official opening and blessing of extensions to administration and the library, and a new pre-school and after school care unit.


Paul Lucas is welcomed as principal at Holy Spirit Catholic School this year.

During Catholic Education Week, Holy Spirit Catholic School rebuilds its assembly shed stage and invites the Sisters of Mercy to rename the stage area “Mercy Place.” More than 1000 years of collective teaching experience gather at Holy Spirit School to celebrate the strong bond between the school and the Sisters of Mercy.

In November, Holy Spirit School Principal and environmentalist Paul Lucas takes a position on the Catholic Earthcare Australia Advisory Council.

2005 - 2012


Holy Spirit School in Cranbrook launches a new “Black Ink” press production at its NAIDOC Week liturgy. Biddy’s Fishing Line is an early childhood story, illustrated by Robbie Paul, an Indigenous parent at the school. Robbie also works with Year 4 students to produce a mural as part of their Natural Disasters Learning Unit.


To mark its 40th anniversary, Holy Spirit Catholic School held a week of celebrations including a reunion Mass at Holy Spirit Church on 8 August and staged the musical, Billabong Prank, at the Townsville Civic Theatre on 10 August.


The student council of Holy Spirit Catholic School holds a disco and “Swim for a Cure” event to raise funds for their sister school, St. Clare’s in Tully, after it is damaged by Cyclone Yasi.


After Cyclone Yasi damaged the grounds at Holy Spirit Catholic School in February 2011, North Queensland Dry Tropics comes to the school’s aid by drafting a plan to restore the school’s trees and gardens. With the involvement of the groundsman and one of the parents, the new gardens are established early in 2012. The school now boasts a lizard garden, a dinosaur garden and a sensory trail.

On 28 March, Bishop Michael Putney solemnly blesses the Holy Spirit Catholic School Family Hall. Past principal of Holy Spirit School, Ross Horner, performs the official opening ceremony with the assistance of the current principal, Paul Lucas, and the Lynch family siblings, Annemarie and Simon. The school’s new hall was named in recognition of the generosity of Ron and Pat Lynch who donated the land upon which Holy Spirit Catholic School is built.

The Holy Spirit School Student Environmental Council introduce the daily removal of food scraps to a special machine which the children renamed “Homer.” The food scraps are mulched into a bio-liquid which is purchased from the school and sold as fertilizer to north Queensland banana and sugar cane farmers.

A Holy Spirit Catholic School student shares first place in the Year 4 competition. The other winner is from St Francis School in Ayr. Another Holy Spirit student wins second place in the Year 4 competition.

2013 - 2014


From 14 to 19 September, work is undertaken to restore and upgrade the Second World War hospital site memorial garden on school grounds, which had been destroyed by Cyclone Yasi.

On 18 September, the Sisters of Mercy bless a new mural on the outside wall of Mercy Place and the Mercy Place Conference Room which was built into the stage section of the Lynch Family Hall. The mural is designed by Liz Tillack.

During the school holidays, Holy Spirit Catholic School in Townsville is connected to the National Broadband Network. Electronic Message Boards on Hatchett Street and Ross River Road are also completed during the holidays and a new air conditioning system is installed in the front office.


Holy Spirit Catholic School welcomes school principal. Students learn about the role of Apostolic Nuncio when Archbishop Paul Gallagher visits Holy Spirit Catholic School.



Holy Spirit welcomes Kath Tarttelin as Principal.



Holy Spirit welcomes Mr Paul Martin as Principal.