No. 1347 - South Hobart - St Francis Xavier Catholic School (1965)

This article is one of a series about buildings associated with Tasmania’s historical churches and religious orders. These buildings include Sunday schools, parish halls, convents, schools and residences of the clergy. Ancillary buildings are often overlooked and rarely feature in published histories. My aim is to create a basic record of these buildings, including those that no longer exist.

The presence of the Catholic Church in South Hobart dates back to 1863 when Bishop Willson sponsored the establishment of St Luke’s Ragged school. (This will be the subject of a future article). The opening of St Francis Xavier Church in 1933 and the formation of the South Hobart parish opened the way for the establishment of a new school attached to the church.

In February 1965 Archbishop Guilford Young officially blessed and opened St Francis Xavier School. With the opening of the school the Sisters of Charity returned having departed South Hobart in 1947 following the closure of St Luke’s school.

The school closed in the 1970s and the building was rented until 2018. In 2019 the South Hobart Parish community converted the school into eight single bedroom affordable housing units. The complex was named Buenos Aires Apartments in recognition of Pope Francis, a former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who showed particular concern for the poor and the marginalised.

A plaque on the former school commemorates 175 years of service by the Sisters of Charity. The Sisters of Charity arrived in New South Wales in 1838. In addition to their vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, the Sisters of Charity also took an extra vow of service to the poor which saw them earn the name of the ‘walking nuns’ due to their work on the streets with people in need.

The Sisters of Charity arrived in Tasmania in 1847 and worked in jails, asylums and the Female Factory. They have significant historical connections with St Joseph’s School in Hobart (and St Joseph’s Orphanage), St Joseph’s Child Care Centre in Taroona, St Francis Xavier’s School in South Hobart, Mount Carmel College in Sandy Bay, St Aloysius Catholic College at Kingston, St Brigid’s School in New Norfolk and St Vincent’s Hospital in Launceston.


Southerwood, W. T. Planting a faith : Hobart's Catholic story in word and picture / [by] W. T. Southerwood [Hobart] 1970


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