St Patrick’s School was first established in 1854. Fr Smythe was the Parish Priest of the district. He was based in Beechworth which was a progressive community due to the discovery of gold in the area At the time, the school was run by lay teachers. Originally, it ran two schools, the first being a day school and the other a night school for students who could not attend during the day due to working on the family farm and for adults who wanted to learn to read and write.
St Patrick’s School was first registered in 1858. It was opened by Fr Kums, the Parish Priest of Beechworth who administered to the Wangaratta District at that time. Mr and Mrs Michael Toohey were the day teachers.
In 1862, Wangaratta was declared a separate Mission and the Parish of Wangaratta was established. Fr Devitt Galen was the first Parish Priest.
During this time, the school was a small wooden building that was located beside St Patrick’s Church in Ford Street.
In 1877, Government Aid was withdrawn from denominational schools and, despite this, St Patrick’s Primary School struggled on for the next ten years through the dedication and charity of the parishioners of Wangaratta.
In 1887, Reverend Dr Crane (the first Bishop of Sandhurst) sent a request to the Reverend Dr Lynch (Bishop of Kildare – Ireland) for Brigidine Sisters to be sent from Goresbridge, Ireland, to take control of St Patrick’s School. The Brigidine Sisters arrived in 1888 and assumed the running of St Patrick’s Primary school as well as establishing a finishing school for girls (St Joseph’s College – later to become part of Galen College).
The Brigidine sisters impact on Catholic Education has been enormous. Their charism of strength and kindness is reflected within the culture of St Patrick’s Primary School and it is the centrepiece of their association with the Parishes of Wangaratta for well over one hundred and fifty years.
In 1921, a new school was established on the current Ovens St site as Catholic Education continued grow. The new school was officially opened by Archbishop Mannix.