St. Joseph’s Primary School has a very long history of serving the Malvern Community, beginning in 1889 with the establishment of a primary school in a weatherboard building behind the old church. During the past 130 years, St. Joseph’s has had various incarnations, providing, at various times, single-sex education and co-education for the children of Malvern. The original weatherboard school was replaced in 1917 by the current main building, and the Brigidine sisters took responsibility for the school, which later became an all girls’ school. In 1941 the current administration block was constructed by the De La Salle brothers, to form St. Joseph’s Boys’ School. Both schools were merged in the 1970s to form the current, co-educational, primary school.
In 2009, the BER grant allowed the construction of a second storey to the main building, in conjunction with a ground floor Art/ Multi-Purpose room. In 2018, the school has had major upgrades to its technology and classroom furnishings.
The following is a brief timeline of St. Joseph’s Primary School:
1889 - 1897 In a weatherboard building to the east of the St Joseph's Presbytery was the St Joseph's School conducted by Miss Ardagh for both girls and boys.
1897 - 1916 In the weatherboard building the Sacred Heart Sisters ran the St Joseph's Primary School for both boys and girls.
During 1912 - 1917 a primary school for boys was conducted by the De La Salle Brothers in Stanhope Street West ie. De La Salle School.
In 1917 the St Joseph's Primary School was conducted by the Brigidine Sisters. During the same year, the red brick building adjacent to the presbytery was opened and replaced the weatherboard primary school building.
In 1917 the Brigidine Sisters also opened Kildara College on the former site of the Sacred Heart School 'Clifton' on High Street. Kildara College was a secondary school for girls. It is unclear as to whether they had primary students at that stage.
During 1917 two additional rooms were added to De La Salle College, Stanhope Street West and the secondary school was begun.
In 1941 the new St Joseph's School for Boys was opened on the former site of two Victorian-style homes at 49 Stanhope Street. The Boys’ Primary School was conducted by the De La Salle Brothers and owned by the Vincentian Fathers, similar as to how the Brigidine Sisters conducted the Girls’ Primary School.
In the 1970s the schools were merged and conducted by the Brigidine Sisters until the mid-1990s.
In 2010, the school undertook a major building project, with the completion of a second storey and multi-purpose room in the main building.