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The Parish of Chiltern was created in 1876 and included Rutherglen.
Chiltern continued as the centre until 1923 when due to the death of the then Parish priest Father Dean Gaffey and economic changes in the district the focus of the Parish moved to Rutherglen.

It was in 1901 at the request of Father Michael O’Connor the parish priest from 1895-1905 that a group of Presentation sisters left the Star of the Sea, Elsternwick to open a new Convent in Chiltern and teach in the two schools of the Parish, Rutherglen & Chiltern.

St Joseph's Chiltern was opened on 8th March 1901 and the founding Sisters were

  • Mother Francis Buckley
  • Sister Joseph Buckley
  • Sister Clare Conway
  • Sister Veronica Keating
  • Sister Anthony Byrne
  • Sister Sebastian Lardi

The original convent and boarding school was a rambling weatherboard building situated on the Howlong road (near the existing Golf course). It housed the sisters, several boarders and the secondary school.

Boarding Scholl

The sisters were driven from the convent to the primary school in a horse-drawn cab, closed in, according to the custom of the time. Most of the pupils came on horseback and turned their horses loose in the paddock.

In 1913 a new brick school was built beside the Catholic Church

In 1924 the Sisters moved into the vacated presbytery on the same site as the church and primary school.


During the years the numbers at the school have varied. As mining prospects decreased and mines closed numbers decreased however as post-mining pursuits of grazing, agriculture, vines and wine making expanded so did the school numbers.

The Presentation Sisters continued with their dedication of teaching the children of the area from 1901 until the 1970's.

In 1961 Chiltern once again became a parish in its own right and the convent reverted back to a presbytery. Therefore from 1961 the Chiltern Presentation Sisters moved to Rutherglen and drove back to Chiltern on a daily basis to fulfil their teaching commitments.

With the commencement of Commonwealth funding for Private Schools in the 1970's lay teaches were being employed. It was in 1973 the Presentation Sisters withdrew from Chiltern and in 1974 the first lay principal was appointed.

Lay principals from 1974

  • Miss Sue App - 1974
  • Mr Michael O’Riley 1975 - 1976
  • Mr Bruno Caruso 1977 - 1979
  • Mr Michael Glass 1980 - 1983
  • Mr Terry Scanlan 1983 - 1984
  • Mr Paul McEntee 1985 - 1988
  • Ms Frances Walsh 1989 - 1995
  • Mr Adrian Cheer 1996 - 2000
  • Mr Paul Maher 2001 - 2004
  • Mrs Helen Ramsdale 2005 - 2008
  • Mr Paul Jackson 2009 - 2009
  • Mrs Maryanne Saxby 2010 - 2017
  • Mrs Jennifer Hogan 2018 -


In 1984 major renovations and refurbishment of the school building were commenced. This included the addition of a classroom/multi-purpose room at the rear of the building.


In 1998 to accommodate the increased numbers at St Joseph’s a portable classroom was situated on land at the rear of the school.

It’s colour scheme was selected to reflect the heritage value of the school.

Portable Room

November 2001 saw the completion of a walkway between the main building and the toilet block and the construction of a well needed storage shed which was positioned next to the portable classroom at the back of the school.

Storage Shed
Over the years many hours of volunteer work has been carried out at the School to enhance and maintain the school surroundings.

It is the dedication and vision of parents and staff members over many decades that has provided students with such fantastic assets found at St Joseph’s today.


St Joseph’s school will continue to provide an example of Christian living using the life of Jesus as a model.

Children will be encouraged to take an interest in the concerns and needs of their school community, individuals and the wider community.

The environment of St Joseph’s will provide children with a safe and challenging atmosphere to develop and succeed in a variety of learning experiences within the guidelines of the curriculum.

The education of an individual is a partnership between parents, teachers and the child.