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St. Patrick's (Catholic) College, The Strand, Townsville, was acquired by Hirings Section, No. 1 Lines of Communication (No. 1 L of C) of the Australian Army for use as barracks accommodation for the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) during WW2.

The school was surrounded by barbed wire. The primary school students at St. Joseph's, North Ward, located on the same property as St. Patricks would normally have to leave the school by the normal front gate. Some enterprising youngsters would find various short cuts under the barbed wire which often led to mother's having to carry out running repairs to torn school uniforms.

Little Flower Academy, St Patricks College, The Strand

The Sisters of Mercy from St. Patrick's and the Good Samaritan Sisters from St. Margaret Mary's ended up being scattered across the Diocese of Townsville to:-

- West End Convent
- Belgian Gardens Convent
- South Townsville Convent
- private homes
- cattle stations near Charters Towers, Hughenden, Julia Creek and Winton
- "Ladycliff", a private premise in Townsville (was this in Victoria St., Stanton Hill?)

Day students from St. Patrick's continued their studies at West End and the Boarders were relocated to Winton and Ravenswood.

The WAAAFs eventually left St. Rita's Hostel section of St. Patrick's in January 1945 while the rest of the school was vacated by June 1945. The Boarders who had been sent to Winton were the first to return to the school followed by the boarders from Ravenswood in September 1945. Like many other schools used by the military, St. Patrick's College was badly damaged by the military occupation. The Sisters of Mercy receive no cash compensation form the Government for this damage. They did however acquire an extra building which was later turned into an Art Room.

On 5 December 1944, His Lordship, the Bishop of Townsville, the Most Rev. H.E. Ryan, D.D. presided over a large gathering of Catholics at the Sacred Heart Presbytery in Townsville to discuss the future of the buildings owned by the Sisters of Mercy which had been occupied by the military for about three years.



"And all this shall be added"
Catholic Education in Queensland - Volume VI
by Susan Mary Tobin


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This page first produced 22 June 2002

This page last updated 29 October 2004