The history of our school is a unique story of 68 years of education. Over that time, the school has continually changed and adapted to meet the ever-changing educational needs of children in the Belmont area.
Situated close to Belmont Lagoon, an important site for the Awabakal people, St Francis Xavier’s Primary School was officially opened on 31 January 1950 as St Joseph’s Primary School by Rev. Eris O’Brien, Auxiliary Bishop to Cardinal Gilroy. Belmont was originally part of the parish of Swansea, a parish of the Archdiocese of Sydney until 1966.
The Sisters of St Joseph from Lochinvar staffed the school – Sisters M Virgilius, and Callista were the first teachers. They lived at Swansea Convent and travelled to Belmont each day crossing Swansea channel in a rowboat to catch the bus to school.
The original wooden ‘L’ shaped building consisted of three classrooms and a verandah. The original school cost £5200 to build, which was £2000 over the original estimate. This was a huge financial commitment for such a small parish. As the numbers of Sisters increased it was decided that a permanent residence was needed, with a new cottage acquired on 25 January 1951 to serve as a Convent on the Belmont site.
In the 1960s, a two-storey high school was built next to the primary school, however as the primary school grew it was decided to close the high school and use the building to accommodate the increased numbers of students attending the primary school.
During the 1990s, the school went through a series of changes. In 1996, the name changed from St Joseph's to St Francis Xavier’s, the name of the Belmont Parish, to reflect the strong link the school had with the church community. Then in 1997, a $1.2 million construction and refurbishment program began. The original wooden buildings were replaced with a brand new administration area. In addition to the administration area, additional classrooms, a library, canteen and toilets were built. The old high school building was also refurbished and the playground was updated and resurfaced.
The limited and sloping site and the existing parish facilities limited the school’s ability to expand, therefore with the BER funding it was decided to undertake refurbishment of the library and classrooms and significantly enhance the playground area.