Our History

The history of Catholic education in the Bathurst Diocese can be traced from the mid-1850s, when Bathurst was simply a ‘church district’ and its Catholic schools had a roll call of 90 boys and 130 girls.

The Bathurst Diocese was created in 1865, with the first Bishop, Dr Matthew Quinn, appointed in 1866.

Today the diocese covers 103,680 square kilometres and includes 19 parishes from Coonamble in the north to Cowra in the south, Lithgow in the east and Eugowra in the west.

In 1973 the Catholic Education Office Bathurst was established to administer a system of parish-based schools throughout the diocese.


Timeline of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Bathurst


  • First Bishop of Bathurst appointed – Dr Matthew Quinn
  • Denomination schools – Bathurst, Mudgee, Orange, Wellington, Sofala
  • Features - Lay staff and some state aid – government restriction on curriculum (similar to public schools)



  • 8 Catholic schools staffed by lay teachers 
  • 14 Catholic schools staffed by religious teachers (8 by Sisters of S.t Joseph and 6 by Sisters of Mercy)



  • Public Instruction Act – removal of State aid to denomination schools
  • Movement to parochial system
  • Movement to all Catholic schools being staffed by religious teachers
  • Dependence upon financial support by parents



  • Wyndham Scheme (meant need for greater diversity of subjects and teacher training in the secondary schools)
  • Large class sizes (some extremes of 100+ students)
  • Reintroduction of State aid
  • Decrease in number of religious schools



  • Establishment of Catholic Education Office to administer a system of parish-based schools



  • 34 schools
  • 9075 students
  • 3 teaching religious sisters
  • Approximately 800 teachers



  • 33 schools
  • 9350 students
  • 1 religious principal
  • Approximately 800 teachers