Mt Carmel is a co-educational primary school currently catering for both boys and girls from Preparatory to Year Six, with an enrolment of approximately 500 students. The structure of the school has changed twice in recent history with the Preparatory year of school commencing in 2007 and Year Seven moving to high school at the end of 2014.
Mt Carmel is a school that fosters learning in a happy, caring community. This nurturing environment evolved through the dedication and energy of many people and it is important to pay tribute to their efforts by looking at the rich history of the school.
In 1937, the parish of Our Lady of Mt Carmel was given into the care of the Carmelite Friars. In the very early days of Father Bucas, there was no church or school. They lived in a house in the grounds of the Loreto Convent and Mass was said for the people on the verandahs of the house. Later, the Friars acquired the home of a Mr. Evans. Eventually, a church and a school was built on this site. From 1941 the lower storey was used as the Church while the upper storey was the school. At first, the school was run by two lay teachers, Maureen Kington and Nonie Bliss, until 1943 when the Franciscan Sisters - Sr M. Bernadette, Sr M. Leo and Sr M. Monica arrived.
In the beginning, the sisters travelled from Kedron daily, but later that year they took up residence in Marriott Street, Coorparoo. By 1944, Mt Carmel had over 100 children and this meant that the sisters had to use the two storeys, which included the Church, for teaching purposes. It was also becoming obvious that the convent really needed to be closer to the school, so work began to raise the convent and transport it to the school grounds. By June 15th that year, the sisters had settled into their new home.
With increasing school enrolments and more teaching sisters needed, the convent soon became too small to accommodate them all. Mr. T. Josephson, a parishioner, came to the rescue. He made a gift to the parish of a two and a half acre site, with an entrance off Keera Street, for a new dwelling for the sisters. In 1959, the new "convent among the gums" was opened. It was a large, solidly built brick building with wide verandahs and balconies and the latest in comfort and convenience.
The Franciscan sisters taught at Mt Carmel for three decades - until 1973. The happy, friendly atmosphere of the school during this time was certainly a gift from the sisters and is remembered fondly by many students.
To continue the dedicated work at Mt Carmel, the Loreto sisters agreed to take over in 1974. Sr Mary Morrissey was the first Loreto Principal followed by Sr Helen Maguire, Sr Jan Niall and Sr Elizabeth Hepburn. The Loreto Sisters had a close relationship with parents, students and teachers and their personal touch made Mt Carmel a place to call home - a real family learning and journeying together.
The Loreto Sisters can be credited with the building of the school library, undercroft and adventure playground area.
In 1988, the Loreto sisters left Mt Carmel and the leadership of the school became the responsibility of the laity. Mrs Maureen Thornton became the first lay Principal of Mt Carmel and has worked hard over the years to continue the great works of her predecessors. Mr Michael McCusker was appointed as principal in 1999 and was dedicated to taking Mt Carmel School into the new millennium. Mrs Margo Dixon joined Mount Carmel school as principal in 2005 to continue the faith traditions and educational practices which are the hallmarks of the school’s history. The current principal, Mr Peter Delaney, was appointed in 2012.
Throughout all these changes at Mt Carmel, the ever-present stabilising factor has always been the contribution of the Carmelite Friars. Their strength of prayer, reflection and simplicity of life has added to the Christian spirit and direction of both the school and parish. This Carmelite spirit is continued by our current priest, Fr Paul Sireh. Fr Paul is a pastoral person, very much aware of the needs of all of his parishioners. He is dedicated to keeping the teachings of Jesus alive by bringing meaning and purpose to the liturgical celebrations.
When we look at Mt Carmel today, we see a Catholic school striving to achieve the best for each individual. Its pleasant surroundings, wide range of facilities and caring, supportive community enable this goal to be realised. Mt Carmel provides a broad curriculum including specialists in many subject areas as well as a computer networked library for learning and research. It is a dynamic school that continues to bring the good news of Jesus to our young ones.