Our Story

Our History

Our School, initially named St Anacletus School, first began in 1884 in an old wooden and iron building situated between the Broken Hill and Terowie train lines, opposite the Church. The Sisters of St Joseph with the guidance of Mary MacKillop began classes in January 1897. At the time the school name changed, but remained at the above site until 1926 when the John Henry Norton Memorial School building was opened. Up until the early 1970's the school taught all classes up to and including secondary.

The Sisters at that time cared for boarding students, firstly boys and then girls. The story of St Joseph's continues to evolve as we journey together. At all times from the early days in 1884 until now, the staff strive to provide the children with every help they need to develop to their full potential, an important individual in our school, in our world. 

History of our House Teams

Our School has three house teams: Norton, Lonergan and MacKillop. 



The red team is named after Bishop John Henry Norton.

In 1884 a parish was formed in Peterborough with a population of about 300. On January 19th the then Rev. Father J. H. Norton arrived as the first resident priest of the new parish.

Bishop Norton, who was elected Bishop of the then Port Augusta Diocese on the 18th August 1906,  was responsible for the original plans and later extensions to St Anacletus Church, as well as the building of the magnificent two-story Bishop’s House, the foundation of which was laid in 1912. By his efforts churches were also erected at Dawson (opened 1887), Nackara (opened 1896), and Catholic schools maintained at Peterborough, Dawson, and Lancelot.

On Thursday, March 22nd, 1923, the Diocese was greatly saddened by the death of Bishop Norton who had resided in Peterborough for 40 yrs.



The green team is named after Fr Lonergan who was a long-serving Priest in Peterborough from 1953 – 1984.

Fr Lonergan is fondly remembered for doing morning yard duty every morning at the school, chatting and interacting with the children as they began their school day.

He died on the 16th of March 2000.



The blue team is named after St Mary MacKillop who is Australia’s first saint. Under the guidance of Mary MacKillop, the Sisters of Saint Joseph began working in Peterborough at our school in the 1890’s. Her legacy is strong and at the heart of the Catholic story. She plays an important role to us at St Joseph’s with the opening line of our school mission statement outlining this:

At St Joseph’s School, our mission is to embrace the Catholic ethos and build on Mary MacKillop’s legacy to provide opportunities for everyone to be creative learners and develop to their full potential in this ever changing world.