Friday, 24 July 2020

Westview

In August 1888 the Sisters of the Order of the Good Samaritan purchased land for a college. The college, to be known as St John's Preparatory College, "Westview", was situated on a hill to the east of Campbelltown. The sisters came to Campbelltown in 1887 where they took over the parish school and established St Patrick's school for girls and is the current Campbelltown Tourist Information Centre.

The building that was used for the college was thought to have been an existing building on land that was owned by John Kidd and included part of George Carr's grant. It was partly bordered by Aston and Bayle's farms. A newspaper article describing extensions made to Westview in 1954 identified the building as "Hillview", however there is no evidence to support this. George Carr is likely to be the convict listed in the Campbelltown Pioneer's Register who was a labourer at Airds and died in 1940.

"Westview", St John's Boarding School for Boys around 1900. (Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)

In an article written by Robert Parkinson in volume 11, issue number 4 of Grist Mills: the journal of the Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society, the author writes "It is not clear if the sisters actually erected the cottage and called it Westview although Sr Claudia has spoken of "the old homestead where we (the sisters) had our dining room".

The buildings were added to in the following years, although they were inadequate for the college's requirements. The sisters had to make do for too long and it was decided to build substantial additions which were officially opened in 1922. The college became known officially as St John's Preparatory College, Westview. It cost £5000 and much of it was funded by parishoners. In 1954 a ceremony marked the laying of the foundation stone for further extensions and they were opened by Bishop McCabe on 2 December 1956.


Garnet Jennings and Frank Monaghan at the college in 1926 (Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)

In 1969 St John's closed to be re-opened in 1970 as St Patrick's School for girls. This school had moved from the old St John's church in George Street.

I visited the school a few weeks ago and met one of the teachers and the school archivist. They showed me the excellent archives collection, including many objects and documents related to the school's history. I was also directed to the site of the original building that housed the college when the sisters moved there in 1888. The building was still standing in the 1940's but it is unclear when it was demolished. I hope to have an answer for this in the near future.

The area in front of the yellow signs marks the site of the original Westview building 

Sources:

PARKINSON, Robert
St John's College Westview Campbelltown, NSW
In Grist Mills Vol. 11, No. 4, December 1998

Campbelltown Pioneer Register

Campbelltown-Ingleburn News, 4 December 1956

5 comments:

  1. My name is Attila Joseph Flink and I boarded at St John's College from 1959 to 1964 my teacher's were sister Dorothy who I loved very much sister Damien sister Claudia ran the refectory sister Geraldine I think these sisters for their wonderful education and start to life that they gave me

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    1. I was at Westview for 3 years, beginning 1965. I remember Sister Dorothy, she was an Angel. However I cannot relate to Your comments on wonderful education nor a start to life. Maybe You have forgotten the beatings we received, both in an out of class room which was not an one on, but was routine. Question ? Who is faithful to Religion and beats on 6 year old kids. Only turnips for dinner several times a week, visitors only allowed seldom and much more. Good start to life, well that is an individual opinion

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  2. Thanks Attila. They are really nice comments.

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  3. I'm writing a book about a family in Australia and have found another record that indicates some children I'm writing about were at the school in 1924. Is there an archivist that you can direct me to that has records from the 1923-1925 period? The surname is unusual, Ritson. Possibly started at the school in 1923. Definately there in 1924. Cheers Travyn

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  4. Hello Travyn, we haven't records here at the library but there is a great archivist at St Pat's that may be able to help you. www.saintpatricks.nsw.edu.au/
    Wishing you well in writing your book.

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