Our school has its early roots in 1880 as a temporary school established in the old St Joseph's Church at the corner of Richmond Terrace and Grenfell Street by Lismore Parish Priest Father Doyle. Father Doyle, who would later become the first Bishop of Lismore, carried with him a dream to establish schools throughout the Lismore Diocese staffed by religious communities.
In 1886 a delegation of Presentation Sisters arrived from Ireland and established a community in Lismore and aimed to turn the Church into a school.
On 10 January 1896, Coraki's first Catholic School commenced. From its inception, the school aimed to educate children academically and instil the Catholic faith in them.
Pupils came from Coraki and the surrounding districts of Swan Bay, Codrington, Ruthven and Tuckurimba. The school operated in the church building, with classrooms packed up on Friday for services and re-organised again on Monday.
The first Church was destroyed by fire on 5 July 1904. The Sisters continued teaching in temporary classrooms that were set up in the Odd Fellows Hall. Later that year, new land was purchased in Adam Street, and a new church was blessed and opened in 1905.
In 1923, a third church was built next to the convent in Adam Street, thus designating the second church as the school which we have continued to use to this day. You can find one feature of the second Church in our Library, a stained glass window, one of three added to the Church as a gift from Bishop Doyle.
Throughout the years, St Joseph's has been renowned for excellence in teaching. The Presentation Sisters set the standards with students achieving remarkable success in music, elocution, sport, needlework and painting, and their excellent academic records. Before long, they held regular concerts, entered Music Festivals and presented students for music examinations.
The Presentation Sisters served the parents and students of St Joseph's from its foundation in 1896 till their departure in 1986, when the first lay principal was employed. The decision to withdraw the Sisters from Coraki was painful and only because of the declining numbers in the Congregation. The school will always be indebted to the Sisters for their work and gift. The spirit they first brought to St Joseph's is still today's guiding force.