On a sunny spring day in Adelaide, there was a celebration of the sixty years of St.John Bosco School, Brooklyn Park, South Australia, on 21 September. The school was founded by the Salesian Sisters as their first work in Australia, and staff by the sisters for most of its life. The current leadership team consists of the principal is Mr Paul Murphy, deputy principal Mrs Mia Harms, and R.E. Coordinator Mrs Catherine Birchmore.
The school invited the Parish of St.John Bosco and St.Aloysius at Brooklyn Park and Richmond to be involved. The day began with the usual Parish School Family Mass on the third Sunday of the month, followed by morning tea organised by long time parishioner Mrs Eva Cooper and other parishioners. The Parents and Friends Association organised activities after Mass. This included a BBQ, a jumping castle and a fairy floss machine, “which was a hit with the kids (and some adults),” as Ms.Linda Piszcyk, Chair Person P & F noted.
We understand that the Salesian Sisters been delayed in their departure from the USA. Father John J. Ryan SDB, first parish priest of the new Brooklyn Park Parish, or St.John Bosco Parish, had already begun the school with some lady teachers, retired teachers, in the Garfield, that dormitory building which used to stand in the paddock behind the former Salesian College. The school began on 10 February 1954.
Four Salesian Sisters, Sr. Cecilia, Sr. Elisa, Sr.Giuseppina (Sr.Josephine Bargigli), and Sr. Lina, sailed from New York to Sydney. They then travelled by train to Adelaide. Writing to Fr.Ryan from Houston, Texas, the sisters said, “We are very anxious to reach our destination, to start under you direction our work for the benefit of Australian children – to the greater glory of God – to honor Our Lady Help of Christians.”
In 1956 the school was known as Mary Help of Christians School. The Salesian Sisters administered the school until 1996, and some sisters remained at Brooklyn Park doing other work, e.g. involvement with Don Bosco Youth Hostel, the parish, the Salesian Cooperators, and other ministries. The distinguishing feature of the school is that it is animated by the charism of St.John Bosco and St.Maria Mazzarello. We thank God for all labourers in the vineyard of 60 years.