Blessing and Opening of McAuley Catholic College Grafton

The Tradition Continues

The Blessing and Opening of McAuley Catholic College on 11th June 2004 will continue a tradition of Catholic Education, not only in St.Mary’s Parish Grafton, but also in the Diocese of Lismore.

The first Catholic School, north of Newcastle, was opened in Grafton in 1860.

The first Principal was Edward Tracey, whose name is perpetuated in the naming of one of McAuley’s sports houses.

The new college is a brave and inclusive step to be taken by the Catholic Community of Grafton. The college architecture represents not only a definite statement of practical design and utility, but also indicates from its student body, outreach to unify the communities of the Clarence Valley.

The school is a microcosm of amalgamation. Enrolments are drawn from Grafton, South Grafton, Copmanhurst, Pristine Waters, Maclean and Yamba.
Commenting on the completion of stages 1 and two, Parish Priest Father Michael Roohan said, “ It is pleasing to see eight years of hard work and planning at last coming to completion. This new school has come about because of the strong willed determination on the part of many dedicated parishioners at St. Mary’s.”

Mr Mark Dougherty, Chairman of the Grafton Parish Finance Council, said: “ Isn’t it great. We are all very proud of our new school. It is the culmination of many years of work by many people, and all who have been involved need to be thanked for their contributions. The Parish of St. Mary’s and School Community look forward to starting work on the next stage.”

Currently at the school site there are 280 pupils comprising years 7, 8 and 9.

Year 10 joins the campus in 2005, and years 11 and 12 in 2006.

Further development includes stage three to be constructed in mid 2004 and stage four commencing early in 2005.

The overall education strategy for the parish includes revitalising primary education with the amalgamation of the Infants and Primary departments onto one site

The total cost of project stages 1 and 2 (including road works) is $6.3 million.

Of the $6.3million, $3.62 million has come from the Australian Government and the balance of $2.69 million is the responsibility of the Grafton Parish. The road works cost of $958,500.00 is also a parish responsibility.

In future development, the estimated cost of stages 3 and 4 will be $2.5million each.

The completed project has been costed at $13million and will include an assembly hall and chapel.

On June 11 at 10.30am McAuley Catholic College will be blessed by the Bishop of Lismore The Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, and opened by the Member for Page The Honourable Ian Causley.

Architects for McAuley Catholic College are DRA Architects of Grafton.

Supervising Architect is Mr Warren Steele.

Builders for the project are F.E. Marsh of Kyogle.