In 1983, Sister Colleen O'Sullivan RSJ wrote in All Who are Witnesses that until 1914 life had been placid in Glen Innes... but this was to end in 1914 when war broke out.
A wave of patriotism swept all of Australia. In Glen Innes at least 16 members of the Parish were to die.
Those who remained at home worked with the whole community for the war effort.
The Catholics were no exception to the people engaged in this effort and yet they found time and finance to continue their Parish development as well.
When Monseigneur Tobin arrived in Glen Innes, he was faced with the difficulty concerning the limited space of the boarding school and convent. The sisters and boarders were living under very crowded conditions.
A public meeting was held in time of crisis for everyone.
It was a step of faith for the parishioners and Monseigneur to contemplate building a large boarding school.
The war was dissipating energies to a great extent and in many directions and people's resources were constantly on call.
Nevertheless the effort was made, and made to such an extent that when the foundation stone of the new convent and boarding school was laid by his Worship Bishop O'Connor in 1916, a cheque for £1,000 was laid on it.
1916 was a very successful year for St Joseph's school. The Convent obtained the highest marks for proficiency in New England and number of pupils increased to 300 with 40 of these being boarders.
The new school came at a very propitious time.
The plans for the new building were prepared by architect JF O'Connor and the builder was JF Nott.
The convent was completed and opened in 1917.
The total cost of the building was £15,000. This amount included the furnishings of the convent except for the boarder's study.
The boarders of the time contributed to that with their parent's help.
For the boarders, the opening of the building was the most important day on the calendar.
Every girl picked up her bed and walked. The new convent was a heaven-sent gift to the sisters and the girls.
The new building was erected on the site of an old windmill standing in the convent grounds. The main music room today stands where this once was.
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