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Our School

St. Joseph's has a strong and proud tradition of providing Catholic education in Benalla for over a hundred years. The school’s Vision, Mission and Graduate Outcome statements continue to embody our commitment to Catholic Education and Gospel values.

At the heart of St. Joseph's as a Catholic school is a Christ-centred ethos and worldview that permeates all aspects of school life including relationships, structures, liturgies, celebrations, routines as well as a formal curriculum.

As a Catholic school, St. Joseph’s is committed to fostering a Christian community that is centred on the person of Jesus and guided by Gospel values.

Our History

St. Joseph’s Primary School was built in 1858 as a denominational school and cost 278 pounds. The first teacher was Mr C.J. McNeeley. The school closed in 1873, when the Government grant was withdrawn. In 1879, following the Education Act of 1878, it was re-opened by the Catholic Community and named St. Joseph’s Catholic School.

For three years the Mercy nuns from Bendigo taught at St. Joseph’s School. For some unknown reason, the Mercy nuns left St. Joseph’s in 1890. The F.C.J sisters, who had just established the new F.C.J Convent, took over the running of the school in 1901.

The FCJ order was founded in France in 1820. Sixty-two years later a group of twelve Sisters had arrived in Australia to begin their ‘missionary work’. The Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus, in the spirit of their foundress, Marie Madeleine d’Houet, established FCJ College in Benalla in 1900.

In July 1901, a new school was built. It was a brick hall, 80 feet long, lofty and thoroughly ventilated - an immense improvement on the old premises which was erected in ‘the good old days’, before the Board of Health had begun issuing decree!

In 1953, renovation and large-scale extension work was carried out. Five more classrooms were built between 1960 and 1967, together with the natural population growth, the number of pupils increased from 190 to 416. In 1964, St. Joseph’s had an enrolment of 428 and a staff of 9.

Two new classrooms were completed in 1967 and another two were completed in 1971. The building program, carried out so successfully in the days before government grants were available, speaks volumes for the generosity of the Benalla people and the courage of their parish priests.

The next building project undertaken at St. Joseph’s school was completed in July 1995. This building project consisted of the refurbishment of classrooms, administration area, a new library, staff facilities and toilet block. The project was funded through the Government Capital Grants and the support of a Parish loan.


Our Timeline

• In 2002 two new classrooms, a pergola, and a landscaped area were added to St. Joseph's school.
• In 2005 the Commonwealth Government's 'Investing Schools Grant' enabled new air-conditioning to be put in all classrooms.
• In 2006 sun shade sails and new playground equipment were installed.
• In 2007 a Master Plan for major capital works improvement was launched with a St. Joseph's Building Fund.
• In 2009 a Master Plan for major capital works improvement was launched with a St Joseph's Building Fund. Along with National Schools Pride and BER funding the following improvements were conducted:
- Installation of Solar panels and Water tanks
- Oval irrigation and Landscaping
- Extension and refurbishment of Senior and Junior wing to accommodate 21st Century Learning
- Additional Toilet Block
- Major Refurbishment of St Joseph's Hall
- Extension to staff room and library
- Fencing, plumbing and resurfacing of the playgrounds

• In 2011 the prep unit was extended to create a third classroom.
• In 2013 we commenced the redevelopment of the front of the school with new fencing, updated signage, and an extension and refurbishment to staff office space. The redevelopments were fully completed in 2017.

•In 2016 St. Joseph’s purchased additional land next to the school for future growth opportunities and developed a new Master Plan for the school’s future.

• In 2015 St. Joseph’s began the development of an interactive mathematics garden for the whole school community to play, learn and enjoy. This was officially opened in 2016 as, ‘Carroll’s Corner’. This was in recognition of the significant contribution made to St. Joseph’s Primary school by Barb and Mick Carroll.

• In 2019 St Joseph’s built a further learning building that accommodated four large classrooms with break-out areas, a theatre space, art area, staff and meeting rooms and storage area. This extension of our facilities is based on current team teaching practices, visible learning principles and future growth.

• In 2020 St. Joseph’s had new play equipment installed.

• In 2021 St Joseph’s began the extension and renovations of the Middle and Senior buildings. Also in 2021, A new covered outdoor learning area was built to offer an additional space that provided shade and shelter.

• In 2022 the extensions and renovations of the Middle and Senior building continued and were to be completed mid-way through Term 2 2023.  A new landscaped outdoor space was established behind the Hall / next to the Junior learning area. A new government-funded shade sail was erected over the landscaped outdoor space.

In 2023 we officially opened and blessed the New Middle and Senior Learning Centre. This includes 10 classrooms and break-out areas for the Middle and Senior area as well as our wonderful Art Room.

Identity Statement

St. Joseph’s is a welcoming, Catholic, child safe school community, that nurtures and values each person,  knowing God lives in all of us.

Vision Statement

St. Joseph’s strives to:

Provide a safe, inclusive environment that fosters hope, respect, responsibility and reconciliation. Promote shared partnerships between home, school, parish and the wider community. Educate the whole person - spiritually, socially, emotionally, academically and physically. Provide a challenging, innovative and comprehensive curriculum that encourages life-long learning.


Gratitude Outcomes

At St. Joseph’s we strive to educate students to:

Grow in their personal relationship with God and others
Values the beliefs, rituals and traditions of the Catholic faith
Be committed to social justice
Be engaged and resilient
Be life-long learners, open to challenges and opportunities
Be safe, respectful and responsible for themselves, others and the environment 

Achieve curriculum standards reflective of their individual ability


Meet Our Team

St Joseph's Benalla



Mary Dunstan



Hayden Reeves

Learning Diversity / Pastoral Wellbeing Leader


Sam Kerlin

Deputy Principal -

Learning & Teaching Leader / Catholic Identity Leader


Jade Humphrey

Literacy Leader / Mental Health and Wellbeing Leader


Maria Pomponio

Curriculum Leader

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Lisa Kennedy

Digital Technology Leader


Heidi Perry

Indigenous Education Leader



Dianne Muller

Administration Officer/Finance 


Rhonda Ward

Road Safety Officer / Lollypop Lady


Louise Hayes

Administration Officer


Steve Hart


Father Vijay Bandanadam

Parish Priest

Foundation Unit


Ally Ellis

Room A Teacher


Alicia Kempton

Room A Teacher


Nathan Buhagiar

Room B Teacher


Erin Boulton

Room A Teacher /

Unit Leader

Junior Unit


Kaitlin Kaine

Room Q Teacher


Meagan Griffiths

Room R Teacher


Georgia Hooper
Room S Teacher


Bonnie Evers

Room T Teacher/

Unit Leader


Hannah Clough

Room U Teacher

Middle Unit


Heidi Perry

Room L Teacher


Peta Welsh

Room L Teacher


Jane Hawkins

Room M Teacher


Natalie Challis
Room M Teacher


Brendan French

Room N Teacher /

Unit Leader


Jake Tunks

Room O Teacher

Senior Unit


Bryan Piccolo

Room F Teacher


Craig Clelland

Room G Teacher (Semester 1)


Elisha Ross

Room G Teacher


Tammie Gawley

Room H Teacher

Leanne Honybun

Room I Teacher


Brooke Robertson

Room I Teacher


Kristy Anderson

Room J Teacher /

Unit Leader


Peta Welsh

Room J Teacher


Jacqui Creamer

Room G Teacher (Semester 2)

Specialist Unit


Yuko Sasaki

Languages: Japanese Teacher


Sharon Mellington

Physical Education Teacher

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Deborah Pasztor

Performing Arts Teacher


Ann-Maree Challis

Visual Arts Teacher

Learning Support Staff


Marg Briggs

Learning Support


Julie Sheehan

Learning Support


Leanne Pritchard

Learning Support


Monique Milner

Learning Support


Janine Lewis

Learning Support


Kristy Fry

Learning Support


Tanya Johnstone

Learning Support


Leanne Trotter

Learning Support


Rachel O'Brien

Learning Support


Megan Bamford

Learning Support


Ashleigh McDonald

Learning Support


Bre Ackerly

Learning Support

Spaces to Learn & Play

Each of our learning areas have open plan learning spaces for small and independent learning instruction. Students are able to work on small projects allowing for interaction and collaboration with peers from other classes.


School Assembly

Each Monday at 2:45pm, our whole school gathers in St Joseph’s Hall. Students participate in prayer, and are presented with awards aligned with our Learning Attitudes and PBIS values. All parents and families are invited to attend each Monday for this community gathering.

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