Our History | A Brief History: 1882 - 1996 ( The Mill Hill Era 1882 -1949)

1882 April -Father Aloysius Goossens, a 28 year old Mill Hill Missionary of the Roman Catholic Church, set up St. Joseph's School for boys in a small wooden shack measuring 60 feet by 20 feet. The school began with 20 students.

Featured in this picture is Father Aloysius Goossens, founder of St. Joseph's School Kuching.

This picture, from the Archives of the Sarawak Museum, shows the original St. Joseph's School building on the right and St. Joseph's Church on the left.

1883 March - Father Anthony Haidegger became the Principal, a post he held for a remarkable period of 48 years.

1886 A two-storey wooden building, popularly known as "Noah's Ark" was built to house the school.

1887 Enrolment increased to 40 students from all over North Borneo, Kalimantan and Singapore. The curriculum included the three Rs as well as vocational training (carpentry, shoe-repairing and tailoring) and gardening.

1894 December - A new three-storey brick building, designed by Fr. Haidegger and built under his supervision, was declared open by Rajah Charles Brooke. The 1895 Sarawak Gazette described it as "the biggest building in Sarawak at that time". This building is now known as the Mill Hill Block.

This picture, shows the Mill Hill Block soon after it was built.

1897 -The School Band made its debut on Prize-Giving Day. The band was a big hit wherever it played and in 1907, it toured Mukah District where it played before large, appreciative audiences. 1910 October - The first annual St. Joseph's School Athletics Sports was held. 1926 - The first Inter-School Sports was held. St. Joseph's emerged as champions.

1927 - Two new wings were added to the Mill Hill Block. This is what St. Joseph's looked like in after the wings were added.

The first three students from St. Joseph's sat for and passed the Cambridge Junior Examination.
1933 January
Polycarp Sim, a former student, joined the staff and went on to serve the school for 37 years.
1934 - Fr. John Vos became the Principal.

1935 - Mr. Poh Chin Hang, another former student, joined the staff and served for the next 35 years.

1942 - 45 During the Japanese Occupation, the Mill Hill Fathers were interned in the Batu Lintang Concentration Camp. St. Joseph's School was taken over as an office and living quarters for the Japanese navy and army. Almost all written records, books and documents were destroyed.

1945 October St. Joseph's was the first school to reopen after the war.

1948 - Fr. Adrian De Vos became Principal. He was the last Mill Hill Father to administer the school. It was decided that St. Joseph's be handed over to the La Salle Brothers, who since the 1840's, had set up schools in West Malaysia, and were involved full time in the business of education. This would enable the Fathers to concentrate fully on mission work.

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