A Brief History of Mater Dei Primary School Wagga Wagga
When Sacred Heart Primary School Kooringal, started to expand into three streams of classes in 1989, a decision was made to set up another school elsewhere. A site was selected south of Lake Albert on land which was willed to the late Bishop Henschke and had initially been reserved for a boarding school. Mr Henk Perey was the first architect. Bland Brothers were the builders. Mr Alan Bowyer was appointed foundation Principal.
The first intake of students began on 30th January 1990 using four portable classrooms in the car park at Sacred Heart School. These were later set up on the new site and bricked in. Two classrooms were also leased from nearby Sturt Public School. Classes were to begin on the Mater Dei site after Easter 1990 however the trucks carrying the portables to the new site became bogged, due to heavy rain, so the pupils had an extra weeks holiday. Mater Dei Catholic Primary School was the first school in the Wagga Diocese to be staffed entirely by lay teachers. The initial student population was 130 from Kindergarten to Year 4 and a staff of 9. Sacred Heart Parish Kooringal became very unique in that it supported and funded two separate Catholic Primary schools (being Mater Dei and Sacred Heart Schools).
Mater De Catholic Primary School was officially opened on 12th May 1990 by the then Governor General Sir Bill Hayden, and the new classrooms were blessed by Bishop Brennan.
The building process continued as the number of pupils increased. Another classrooom was built in 1991 to cater for Year 5. In 1992 the building of Mater Dei Catholic Primary School was completed with another classroom, library, administration block, canteen and extension to toilet facilities. Sports fields were developed, sprinkler systems installed and playgrounds set up. Trees and shrubs had been planted, and watered with a drip system.
In 1999 Mr Michael McGowan came from the Archdiocese of Canberra and was appointed and remained Principal until the end of 2002.
Mater Dei remained a single stream school for over a decade. In 2003 Mr Danny Malone was appointed Principal. This was also the year that our applications for enrolment into Kindergarten far exceeded the places available. A decision was made to build two new classrooms for a second kindergarten class. The first double stream intake commenced in 2004. The growth in population coincidently occurred at the same time that Mater Dei Catholic College and the Child Care Centre opened.
Further building took place in 2005 with the construction of three new classrooms on the western end of the campus. The school was then double stream in Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2. The building of 2 more classrooms and a teacher's utility room concluded our building program in 2007. The latest and unexpected building project is our wonderful Multi-Purpose Centre that was completed in May this year.
Now in, 2010 the second stream is complete. We have a school population of 402 students and a staff of 28, comprising 20 full and part-time teachers and 8 ancillary staff. Mrs Susan Bradley is the only member of the original foundation staff member still at Mater Dei.
After 20 years of development Mater Dei Catholic Primary School is an institution that Sacred Heart Parish and our school community can be justifiably proud.