In the mid 1970s, 5.974 hectares of land had been bought by the Archdiocese of Brisbane. This was to be the site of St Anthony's Catholic Parish Primary School. In mid 1979, plans were announced for the school to be built for the start of the 1980 school year. Work started on Stage 1 on September 27th after a Federal Government grant of $280,000. The school consisted of two blocks containing six classrooms, one for possible use as an administration office. Grades 1-5 were catered for with a maximum of 150-160 children. The first Principal appointed to St Anthony's was Presentation Order Sister Kieran McNamara. Other teaching staff in that first year were Sister Suzanne Walpole, Mrs Eunice Barry, Mrs Kate Mitchell, Mrs Jan Trinder, Mr Mark Gilroy and relief teacher Mrs Kerri Hurford. The initial enrolment was 157 students.
When St Anthony's Catholic Parish Primary first opened, it had little equipment and few resources. However, it had plenty of willing parents and workers who were determined to make the school a first rate place for the parish children. St Anthony's first Parents & Friends Association President was Peter Tanner. At the time the P&F was formed, the school consisted of the present covered lunch area and amenities block and the classroom blocks to the east, each consisting of three classrooms. The school was surrounded by bush and had no oval or playground equipment. Peter, Principal of Rochedale South State School at the time, says that the first two school priorities were to construct an oval and to start fundraising. A parent, Graham Ramsden, who had contacts with the Army, was able to organise Army engineers who did a lot of the work on the oval, which was a tremendous help at that stage. Graham is now a Deacon in the Star of the Sea Parish and Chaplain of the Queensland Police Force.
St Anthony's Catholic Parish Primary School's first principal, Sister Kieran McNamara, says she will always remember the pioneering feel that the school had when it first opened. The school's new buildings were surrounded by scrub country dotted with big gum trees. There was very little equipment and no playground for students. Mostly the children made cubby houses in the bush during lunch hour. "It was really lovely surrounded by the entire bush", Sister Kieran says. "The children used to make the most fantastic little houses. We really encouraged them. St Anthony's had such a lovely atmosphere then, like a real outback school." When the school opened in January 1980 it took approximately 150 students up to grade five. Sister Kieran, originally from Ireland, quickly became a much loved figure. By the early 1990's the school's enrolment exceeded 700 students in Years 1 to 7 with a further 90 in Preschool in the nineties, prior to other Catholic Schools being introduced into the Redlands.
On Sunday March 9 1980, His Grace Archbishop Francis Rush officially blessed and opened St Anthony's School. The population of The Redlands continues to grow rapidly. This is evidenced by the fact that there are currently three other Catholic primary schools and a Catholic Secondary College in the area.
The following Principals have led St Anthony's over the past 26 years:
Sister Kieran McNamara BVM
Sister Patricia Williams
Mr Neville McDonald
1987 - July 1997
Mr George Kendall
July 1997 - December 1997
Mr David Greig
1998 - 2004
Ms Judith A Seery
2005 - June 2011
Mr Martyn Savage
July 2011 - Present
Our present school enrolment stands at approximately 500 with students from Prep to Year 6. Over 55 dedicated and committed Catholic Teachers, School Officers and Support Staff, together with our present Leadership Team, Mr Martyn Savage, Principal, Kellie Jacobsen APRE and Scott Murphy APA, promote an effective, relevant and authentic transmission of Christ's message.
The history of our school has brought with it dedicated parishioners and parent bodies who have always been actively involved in community support through fund raising and implementing new ideas. When Father Paul Rooney retired at the end of August 2004, he had been Parish Priest for the life of the Parish, which extended over 25 years. St Anthony's Parish now shares a Pastor with St Luke's Parish Capalaba. (Both Parishes remain separate). This was necessary due to restructuring of parishes as a result of falling numbers and aging within the clergy ranks.