St Joseph’s Riverwood
The suburb of Riverwood (then known as Herne Bay) developed rapidly after World War II as a haven for refugees from Europe. Because there were many Catholics amongst these,the parish of St Joseph, Herne Bay, was established in 1949, with Fr Patrick Kerwick as the first parish priest. There were no parish buildings, and the first church was Hut 120, one of the army huts located near Washington and Roosevelt Avenues. These huts would also accommodate St Joseph’s school in its early years.
The Sisters of St Joseph, who already had some nearby schools, such as at Punchbowl, agreed to staff the parish school, which began in 1949 in the former army huts. Because the huts were also used as a church, they had to be cleared each Friday and made ready for Sunday Mass.
In 1950 the present school site in Thurlow St was purchased and construction of a permanent school building began. This required parish funding and much voluntary labour, in a period when there was no government assistance for private schools. The Foundation Stone shows that the school was blessed and opened by His Eminence, Norman Thomas Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney, on September 27, 1953
- 1949: The Parish of St Joseph, Herne Bay, was established in 1949, with Fr Patrick Kerwick as first parish priest.
- 1953: The current Church of St Joseph’s Riverwood was consecrated.