GOULBURN STRIKE 50 YEARS ON…..
In July 1962, a meeting of Catholic parents in Goulburn voted to close the doors of all schools in the parish as part of a funding dispute with the State Government. About 1350 students flooded government schools with only some being enrolled before the protest was called off after one week. The July 1962 Catholic School ‘strike’ as it came to be known, has gone down in history as the catalyst in winning state funding for non-government schools.
Some 50 Years later over 160 Guests attended an anniversary dinner of past students, clergy, educators and community leaders, at the Great Hall at Trinity Catholic College. Memories of July 1962 came flooding back at the celebration where the Guest speaker for the evening, executive director of the NSW Catholic Education Commission Dr Brian Croke said “the legacy of Goulburn is to remind us not to lose sight of the underpinning principles of fairness, justice and parental rights. “They must never be taken for granted,” he said.
A number of guests participated in a panel discussion about the historic events, hosted by ABC 666 Canberra radio presenter, Genevieve Jacobs. Panel members included Sr Kerrie Cusack, congregational leader of St Joseph’s Convent, Goulburn, Catholic Education Office staff member Sr Frances Fitzpatrick, Mary Queen of Apostles Parish Priest, Fr Dermid McDermott, former Catholic Education Commission chair, Ray Storrier, current Principal in the Archdiocese Mr Mick Lowe, Mrs Mary Haigh (Mother of 5 children attending Catholic schools in Goulburn at the time ) and Trinity Catholic College captain, Nicholas Campton-Smith.
The Following Day about 700 students representing every school in the Archdiocese walked from a nearby oval to Sts Peter and Paul’s Old Cathedral to celebrate the jubilee of the Goulburn school “strike” and the annual NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Mass. They joined the invited guests to see the cathedral filled to capacity. The Mass saw the return of Emeritus Archbishop Francis Carroll return to the Archdiocese to celebrate the special occasion.