Catholic Schools in the Kimberley

Catholic Educatioin in the Kimberley depended much on the generosity of Reliigious Orders providing personnel, particularly the Sisters of St John of God, the Sisters of St Joseph and Our Lady of the Mission Sisters. Bishop J Jobst (Bishop of Broome: 1959-1995) was very active and influential in setting up schools throughout the Kimberley.
Here is a link to a List of Principals of Kimberley Catholic Schools

The banner photo above is of the original boughshed school at Red Hill (Lundja) near Halls Creek. The school became Warlawurru

1894 › First Catholic School


Sacred Heart School, Beagle Bay

Founding Religious Order: Trappist Fathers.  It was a bilingual school where instruction was given in French and Nyulnyul! The Pallottine fathers took charge of the mission in 1901. The St John of God Sisters arrived in 1907 and taught in the school until the 1970s. Later, Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition, Infant Jesus Sisters and the Our Lady of the Mission Sisters (1987-1996) taught in Sacred Heart School. Over the past decade, there has been a transfer of leadership from religious orders to lay leadership.


St Mary's Primary School, Broome

Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St John of God.



Djarindjin Lombadina Catholic School

Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St John of God. For some years the Presentation Sisters provided a Principal. The Our Lady of the Mission Sisters provided a Principal 1999-2001.
In 2012 the School name was changed to:

Christ the King Catholic School


Holy Rosary School, Derby

Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St John of God. Founding Principal: Sr Mary Ignatius Murnane SSJG. The Sisters remained until 1988

The De La Salle Brothers assumed leadership of the school in 1989 until the end of 1993.
Our Lady of the Mission Sisters provided a Principal or leadership position 2001-2005.


Balgo Schools

There was a classroom for teaching at Old Balgo mentioned around 1954, in the time of Fr Kearney sac. However schooling was not regular before the Sisters of St John of God arrived in 1956.
February 1956: Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St John of God. Founding Main Teacher: Sr Angela Moroney ssjg - 32 pupils

In February 1961 the school became a Government School with founding Staff: Mr MJ Browne and Sr Therese Doolan ssjg:

Balgo Mission on its current site had its formal opening on May 15th, 1965. The new Government school being opened by Mr Lewis, Minister for Education and Native Welfare. These school buildings later became Luurnpa Catholic School.

Luurnpa Catholic School (1984)

Founding Religious Orders: De La Salle Brothers and the Sisters of Mercy. Founding Principal: Br Leo Scollen FSC


St Joseph's School, Wyndham

Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St Joseph.


St Joseph's School, Kununurra

Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St Joseph


Nulungu College, Broome

Broome Boys School with boarding facilities for Indigenous boys from the Kimberley. Founding Religious Order: Christian Brothers. Founding Principal Br T Roberts CFC

From 1995 was amalgamated with St Mary's Primary School to become St Mary's College.


Nulungu Girls College, Broome

Official Opening Friday September 13, 1974
Broome Girls School with boarding facilities for Indigenous Girls. Founding Religious Order: Sisters of Our Lady of the Mission. Founding Principal: Sr Patricia Hogan OLM. Staff: Sr Pauline Pratley OLM, Sr Patricia Rhatigan SSJG. Later amalgamated with Nulungu College a gradual process completed for the start of the 1985 School Year..


Kururrungku Catholic School

Founding Religious Order: Sisters of Mercy. The school was started in a corrugated iron shed. School later renamed:

Kururrungku Catholic Education Centre.


John Pujajangka-Piyirn

John of the Desert. Founding Religious Order: Sisters of Mercy. Founding Principal: Sr Colleen Kleinschafer RSM assisted by Sr Bernadette Mills RSM. The school and community were both established in 1979. The Sisters of Mercy continued until 1994 when a lay principal was appointed. Secondary and Adult Centre officially opened Mon August 11, 1997


Ngalangangpum School

Mother and Child. Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St Joseph. Founding Principal Sr Clare Ahern rsj


Luurnpa Catholic School

Existing Government School became part of Catholic Education. Founding Principal Br Leo ScollenFSC. Founding Religious Orders: De La Salle Brothers and Sisters of Mercy. The De La Salle Brothers provided the School Principal and some staff until Dec 2015 (Principal) and May 2016 (Staff).


Birlirr Ngawiyiwu

Founding Religious Order: Sisters of St Joseph. Founding Principal Sr Ann Boland assisted by Sr Naomi Smith. Schooling began in a bough shed in 1986 and the following year the first part of the present school buildings arrived.



Founding Religious Order: Canossian Sisters of Charity. First Principal Sister Lucy Kert FdCC. First classes began February 2 1987. Plaque at school dated November 11 1989. The school is located 2.5km from Halls Creek in the Kimberley. It was established in 1987 following a request to the Bishop from the members of the Lunja Community (Red Hill) for a Catholic school. The school is situated adjacent to the Lunja Community.



Founding Religious Order: Sisters of Our Lady of the Mission. Founding Principal Sr Margaret Scott OLM with Sr Frances Wilson the other staff member.  The Our Lady of the Missions Sisters first commenced lessons in an old corrugated iron station shed, which was replaced by excellent facilities in 1993. The new School Buildings were blessed and opened on May 24th 1993 beginning with a procession from the old school tin shed to the new buildings. The Sisters remained at the school for ten years; the first lay principal was appointed in 2001.


St Mary's College

St Mary's College was the result of the amalgamation of Holy Child Kindergarten, St Mary's Primary School and Nulungu Catholic College.


La Djardarr Bay Catholic School

Opened in 1996. Founding Principal Sr Nola Goodwin, a Josephite Sister. 1999 became part of Sacred Heart School Beagle Bay and then closed..


Kutjungka Trade Training Centre

Followed on from Wirrumanu Adult Education Centre, providing trade training for Balgo, Mulan and Billiluna. Administered by Luurnpa Catholic School (1984).


Christ the King School

Lombadina Djarindjin Catholic School (1913) renamed as Christ the King School, 23 June 2012..


A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine.

I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image.

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