St Ignatius’ Parish School Bourke

Welcome to St Ignatius Parish School Bourke

We would like to acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional lands of the Aboriginal people and their many custodians. We pay our respects to both present and past elders and the continuing custodians of this lands. May we listen with great care to the heartbeat of Aboriginal lands and to its people who have cared for it so well and for so long.

Be inspired by the possibilities in Wilcannia-Forbes

St. Ignatius Parish School belongs to the Bourke Catholic Parish. The school provides a Catholic education for children who live in the town of Bourke and its surrounding area. Bourke is a service town for the surrounding villages and is situated on the banks of the Darling River in far north-west NSW. It has a population of about 2 200. The main employment opportunities are with the cotton industry, fruit growing or sheep, and cattle. There is a large number of people who move to Bourke for employment in education and other government departments. The closest major town Dubbo is about 4 hours drive east.

Catholic education in Bourke was started by a group of local Catholics in about 1871. In 1881 the Sisters of St Joseph were invited to the town. They used the church as the classroom while the school, named St. Joseph’s Convent School, was built. From 1891 to 1988 the Sisters of Mercy took over the operation of the school. In 1961, on completion of a classroom block, the school was renamed St. Ignatius Parish Primary School. In 1988 the operation of the school was taken over by the Marist Brothers who remained until 2004. The Mercy presence ended with the retirement of the last Sister in 2005. Since 2005 the school has been administered by lay staff.

The school, with a backdrop of the heritage listed, wrought iron convent building, built in 1896, has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. St Ignatius Church, the oldest building in town, stands on the school grounds.

The school has a student population of 100 with approximately 50% identified as indigenous.

The children participate in athletics, swimming, rugby league, cricket and netball carnivals at local, Diocesan and State levels. The students support the community through Meals on Wheels, ANZAC celebrations and combined NAIDOC Day activities with other local schools. In addition to government skills testing the children participate in University of NSW School competitions each year.

The students are well known for their generosity, especially to those most in need, and regularly raise money by organising and taking part in fundraising days for charity and the missions.

Principal’s Welcome

Bouke principal
John Cowan

St Ignatius is a remote, Catholic, K-6 school situated in the Outback of NSW and part of the St Ignatius, Bourke Parish. It currently has 89 students enrolled. Our parish community is led by Father Magnus Kobbi, AJ. As a Catholic school in the Diocese of Wilcannia- Forbes we commit ourselves to:

  • Be true to the message, teaching and witness of Jesus.
  • Be sustained as a faith community into the future
  • Be one as community, with close connections between families, school and parish, and
  • Provide students with a faith-based, high-quality education- academically, physically, culturally, socially, spiritually, in catering for their diverse needs ( Catholic Education Office: 2015).

At St Ignatius, we work to co-create a Catholic community of 21st century safe, respectful learners who build, maintain and restore healthy relationships and enable all to contribute positively to the world. Through a focus on teaching and learning, opportunities are provided to develop children’s literacy and numeracy skills, engage in sporting and artistic endeavours and develop their sense of wellbeing. Staff are deeply committed to the children in their care and work with families to enable the children to achieve their best.

Yours in partnership,

John Cowan.