The first Catholic school was established in Gympie in approximately 1872. In 1875, the Josephite Sisters opened a school at Monkland. After only a few years, the school was accidentally burnt down. A Lay school then operated for some years under the direction of Mr Johnny Bohan.
At the personal request of the Parish Priest, Fr. Matthew Horan, the first group of Sisters of Mercy arrived in Gympie by coach from Maryborough on 29th March 1879. They had travelled from Brisbane to Maryborough by boat. Fr. Horan had expressed his desire to develop a Catholic school for his people and had made a trip to Europe and Ireland to approach a religious order to send some nuns to join his Gympie mission.
© BCE, St Patrick's Catholic Primary School Gympie (2023)
On arrival in Gympie, the Sisters of Mercy conducted school in the home of Pat Lillis and later opened a one-storey wooden school with an attendance of 173 girls and 101 boys on the site of the present Heritage building. Monkland had a population of 10000 at the time and in 1897 the Gympie population grew to 30000 with the interest in gold mining.
Numbers soared to 600 in 1897 and this created the need for a new school. This was completed in 1899 when the present two-storey building was built for approximately 2000 Pounds ($4000).
The Christian Brothers arrived in 1904 and both orders operated separate schools from Grade 5 onwards. Students in Years 1 – 4 were educated at the current Primary School site, in the current Heritage building. After Year 4, boys attended school run by the Christian Brothers in the current College buildings and girls attended school run by the Sisters of Mercy in the current MacKillop and Mercy Wings..
In 1982 both boys and girls schools amalgamated with the formation of St Patrick’s College, Years 8-12 and St Patrick’s Primary, Years 1-7. In 2015, Year 7 became the first year of secondary schooling and the current Primary school site is home to Prep to Year 6 students.
Our school history is richly blessed by the dedication and hard work of the Sisters of St Joseph, the Sisters of Mercy and the Christian Brothers.