School History

​St Matthew's: ​Past, Present and Future

Sig​​nificant Milestones in the School's History

St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School was opened in 1984 to serve the families in the growing area of Loganholme (now Cornubia). The school was built on bushland with a creek flowing along one boundary.  There were only 57 students in Years 1, 2, and 3 and just one building.

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© Brisbane Catholic Education, St Matthew's Catholic Primary School (N.D).

Father Bill O'Shea was the Parish Priest at St Patrick's Beenleigh. He was asked to oversee the building of this new Catholic Primary School. He invited the Sisters of St Joseph to help establish the new school. Sr Mary Sheridan, a Josephite nun, was asked to take on the role of foundation Principal at St Matthew’s. Sr Mary had no idea where St Matthew’s was, but soon discovered its position when visiting it for the first time in the Christmas holidays in 1983. Sr Mary known for her caring heart and wicked sense of humour, loved the children and set about building the school.

In 1988, Sr Brenda Keogh was appointed as the second principal, a position she held until her retirement in 1993. She was known to say, “leave it in God’s hands” and in God’s hands, St Matthew’s continued to grow. Sr Brenda was the last religious person to hold this position. St Matthew's was fortunate to have members of the Josephite congregation as part of the staff until 2008 when Sr Marguerite Liddy, our much-loved music teacher, retired. St Matthew’s still carries the tradition and ethos of the Sisters of Joseph and thus their founder, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, today. Their values of compassion, community and reaching out to those in need continue to be instilled in students, staff, and families today.

© Brisbane Catholic Education, St Matthew's Catholic Primary School (N.D).​

When St Matthew’s School opened in 1984, there was no church. People travelled to Beenleigh to celebrate mass. After a short time, the decision was made to conduct Mass in one of the classrooms. People in the community gathered in the Year 3 (Learning Support) classrooms in St Matthew's School to celebrate Mass on Sundays. In 1987 St Matthew's Church was built and Fr Gary Russell was appointed Parish Priest. Fr Gary spent the next fifteen years at St Matthew’s, and it was his vision and creative flair that shaped its development both materially and spiritually.  Chisholm Catholic College opened in 1992 and became part of the St Matthew’s Parish Community. We value the connection between our Church and our school communities. Sadly, Fr Gary passed away in February 2007 but his legacy lives on in the enthusiasm and commitment of the community today. 

Originally, the back of the school was bush and there was one small wooden fort for the younger children to play on. St Matthew’s also did not have an oval and the very first Sports Day was held in the Daisy Hill Forest. Over time the bush was cleared, and the 2 ovals formed, along with various playgrounds. 

1990 heralded the completion of several new buildings, including the Preschool, and the Library. The buildings continued and as the dawn of the 21st century approached St Matthew's took up the challenges of using and embracing new technologies. In 2004, because of Government funding, MacKillop Place was built along with the current staffroom, PE office, Music, Spanish and Instrumental rooms. In 2019 the original netball courts along with MacKillop Place were upgraded and resurfaced with funding from the P &F. More recently classroom blocks have been built and renovated to include modern technologies and air conditioned, flexible and open learning spaces.  

Special places in our school include our St Matthew’s Memorial Garden with St Mary MacKillop Mural where we reflect on and remember loved ones, as well as our “Wall of Belonging”, designed and created by our First Nations students and families to welcome all who become part of the St Matthew’s story.  

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© Brisbane Catholic Education, St Matthew's Catholic Primary School (2021).

St Matthew’s has a proud history of fostering the many talents of it's students. In the past students have taken part in events such as singing in the mall, performing spectacular performances in the JRock and Wakakirri competitions, representing the school at interschool and interstate sporting events, participating in Tournament of Minds and ICAS competitions. Many past students have achieved wonderful things, but 2 stand out. Alicia Coutts, who attended St Matthew’s from 1992 until 1999, represented Australia at many Commonwealth and Olympic Games, winning gold, silver and bronze medals in both arenas. James Donachie, another past student, has represented Australia for soccer many times both overseas and in Australia.

St Matthew's is one of the largest Catholic primary schools in Queensland with a current enrolment of over 570 students.
In the tradition of St Mary MacKillop, St Matthew's will continue to be a place where students are nurtured and encouraged to fulfil their potential and become lifelong learners.

Father Gary left the St Matthew’ community with the phrase  "St Matt's is SIMPLY THE BLEST". 
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© Brisbane Catholic Education​​, St Matthew's Catholic Primary School (1996).​​