St. Margaret’s school is located in the suburb of Maribyrnong in the North West of Melbourne, 8.5kms from the Melbourne GPO.
The school is situated at 67 The Esplanade, just a stones throw from the Maribyrnong River, significant to the history of the area. Originally home to the Woiwurung people many thousands of years ago, the river was the area around which the Marin Bulluk people built their lifestyle. This group of people concentrated their lives around a small area very much like the people of Maribyrnong today. The area is still seen as a small community because of the physical boundaries enclosing it. The River, Highpoint City and the Defence buildings have formed a fencing effect for many years.
The suburb of Maribyrnong, because of its close proximity to Melbourne and the release of large pockets of land, has seen a change in the last two years with a greater potential for change just around the corner. Estimates by council planning authorities, predict up to 5,000 new dwellings being built in by 2020. This fact alone has particular significance for the school as we are the only primary school in the area. The local government school was closed in 1993.
As mentioned previously, Highpoint City is very close to the school which means the area is very well serviced by public transport. Bus services stretch in every direction and is complimented by a tram service that services Maribyrnong, Footscray, Moonee Ponds and the City.
Our children have tremendous access to secondary schools stretching from Niddrie to Caroline Springs, right through to Toorak. This public transport factor also accounts for some of our families continuing to attend our school once they have moved from the area. Maribyrnong has an extremely rich history dating back to the Woiwurung people through to recent times where it was a rich farming and horse racing area owned by the Fisher Family, then as a major supplier of ammunition to the Federal Government. Many of the surrounding streets are named after famous racehorses from the Fisher family. One of the more interesting facts is that Maribyrnong Remount Stables were responsible for sending horses to World War One.
Of the 169,000 horses sent overseas only one horse ever returned. Sandy as he was known, retired to Maribyrnong where he died in 1918. Some people have likened the suburb of Maribyrnong to that of a small rural community, which is a great compliment to any area. It is a very quiet area with our school acting as a centre for the whole local community, not just the parents and parishioners.
On any weekend or weeknight people are found playing and relaxing within the school grounds. The school also prides itself on knowing many of the people in the community who have no direct link with the school. Maribyrnong has been home to a varying number of refugees over the years and has been a major influence in making St. Margaret’s the place it is today.
Initially the Maribyrnong hostel was home to many hundreds of refugees in the early 1980’s, which had an enormous impact on the culture of the school with high enrolments and a Language Unit being attached to the school.
The school of St. Margaret’s is part of the Parish of St. Mary’s, Ascot Vale. The Parish Priest resides in Ascot Vale and administers the parish from there. The church of St. Margaret’s is unique in itself due to its design, simplicity of religious decorations, yet absolute warmth in character. The church building is an army hut left over from the World War Two settlement at Royal Park that housed the American Forces. The hut was later transported to its present site by parishioners, and maintained by them until now. Mass is currently celebrated in our Church on Friday mornings and on Sunday mornings.
In recent years, with the closure of the Government factories, and accessibility of public transport, the employment demographics of the area have changed. There is an enormous diversity in occupations within the parish and a large variety within the region.
In the past 5 years enrolment numbers have increased as a flow on effect of the new housing estates in the Maribyrnong area.