St Mary's School, Dandenong

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St Mary's School, Dandenong

Principal:  Mr Terry Gardiner

E No.  E1080

Year Levels:  P to 6

Phone Number:  9791 7650

Email Website


St Mary’s Convent School (as it was previously known) was founded in 1912 with an enrolment of 73 pupils. Presentation Sisters ran the school and continued their presence until 1979 when the school’s first lay Principal was appointed.

With post-war migration enrolments increased and peaked at 738 in 1957. The school was renamed St Mary’s Primary School in 1958. St Mary’s relocated from McCrae Street to its present site in New Street in 1968, taking over buildings occupied by St John’s Boys School (later to become St John’s Regional College). At this time Grade 5 & 6 boys from St John’s were transferred to St Mary’s.

Between 1971 and 1988 changes in St Mary’s parish boundaries resulted in the formation of new parishes: Resurrection, Keysborough; St Paul Apostle, Endeavour Hills; and St Kevin’s, Hampton Park. Consequently St Mary's parish decreased in size and population.

Over the past 10 years enrolments have been in the mid 300s and are currently about 325. The school motto 'Aeternia Non Caduca' comes from Latin, meaning 'Eternal, not Transient'. The fact that St Mary’s has been a landmark in Dandenong for the past 85 years bears testament to this motto.


St Mary's School is located on 1.8 hectares and is bordered by New Street, Power Road, McCrae Street and Wilson Street. This site is generous in space, and is well equipped and maintained. The school shares the site with the Parish Community Centre which boasts a main hall/gymnasium, a fully equipped commercial kitchen, and a Conference Room. The Parish Tennis Club also shares the site with a clubhouse and four en-tout-cas courts. The school is on a separate site from that of the Parish Centre and the Church, which are located two blocks away at 160 Foster Street, Dandenong.

The school consists of three main buildings: a two-storey block housing administration, a staffroom, and five general purpose learning areas; a single-storey block consisting of seven general purpose learning areas connected via a central corridor; and a Library Resource Centre which is connected via a foyer to the single-storey building. The playground comprises a paved quadrangle, a large asphalt playing area with two basketball and two netball courts, junior and senior adventure playgrounds and a large grassed area.


Mary’s is a multicultural school community with 78% of its families from non-English-speaking backgrounds. Approximately one third of the school population was born overseas, representing some 40 different nationalities. The largest groups of families come from India (32 families), Sri Lanka (27 families) and Sudan (26 families). Other countries represented by smaller but significantly large groupings are China, Vietnam, West Samoa, Chile and Mauritius.
We currently have 11 classes with an average of 30 children per class. The classroom structure is made up of 2 x Prep; 3 x Years 1/2; 3 x Years 3/4 and 3 x Year 5/6.

The school offers a comprehensive, well-coordinated curriculum and is in the process of implementing all areas of the Victorian Essential Learning Standards. Special programs from Prep to Year 6 include Information Technology, Human Sexuality, Library, Music, Italian, Swimming and an Outdoor Education Program.

Sacramental Programs are conducted in the school as part of the Religious Education program. Children are eligible to receive First Eucharist in Year 3, Reconciliation in Year 4/5 and Confirmation in Year 6. Parents are expected to participate in the preparation of their children for reception of the sacraments.

The school curriculum is supported through a modern, well-resourced and fully automated library as well as an extensive computer network of 90 computers across the school.

School location

Address:  20 - 24 New Street
Dandenong VIC 3175

Diocese:  Archdiocese of Melbourne

Region:  Southern

Parish:  St Mary's