Sydney Architecture Images- Western Suburbs

St Mathew’s Windsor (RC)




Tebbutt Street Windsor NSW 2756




Old Colonial Gothick Picturesque


Rendered brick


The first Catholic services took place in Australia on the 15 May 1803 when Father Dixon officially celebrated Mass in Sydney. The Sydney Gazette records that a service was held at Parramatta the following week and in the Hawkesbury on the 29 May 1803 and "in which succession the meetings are to be held at these three principal Settlements". Less than a year later permission for these services were withdrawn as a result of the Castle Hill uprising in March 1804.

It wasn't until 1820 that Father J. J. Therry arrived in the colony and was authorized to attend to the Catholic population celebrating Mass in Sydney, Liverpool, Parramatta and Windsor. The Convict Barracks (later known as Windsor Hospital) were originally used for services then later Patrick Garrigan's house.

Rev. C. Dowling arrived in NSW in 1831 and came to live in Windsor. Shortly after services commenced. The congregation had outgrown the Garrity house and a barn had been constructed in Macquarie Street, possibly opposite the Windsor Public School, Dight Street and Cemetery area.

Land was donated for the use of a church, cemetery and school in 1833 although the cemetery has been recorded to be in use in the 1820s. On the 28 December 1836 Archbishop Polding blessed the Foundation stone for the St. Matthew's Catholic Church. The church registers commenced in January 1835, some earlier events were recorded in the St. Patrick's Catholic Registers of Parramatta. Most of the congregation were impoverished farmers, some ex-convicts and had little spare cash to donate to the funds to build a church and it took some time to raise the money. Fortunately a bequest from James Doyle added to the local public subscription allowed the construction to commence. St. Matthew's Catholic Church in Tebbutt Street Windsor was officially opened on the 21 October 1840 by Dr. Polding & Rev. W. Ullathorne and the 80th Regiment band played at the official ceremony. The church has been administering to the Catholic community ever since.
Established in 1832, St Matthew's Primary is the oldest Catholic school in Australia. 

In 1835 when Mr & Mrs Cassidy began teaching the Catholic children of Windsor, it probably never occurred to them that they were beginning a great tradition of Catholic Education in the historic Hawkesbury region.

A record can be found of a Catholic School in Windsor in the Australian Catholic Directory, 1841, which states:
"At Windsor there are from 90 to 100 children in daily attendance; the school is conducted on the Irish system by Mr J Cassidy & Mrs Cassidy".

The Catholic tradition was carried on by various other laity, notably William Langton from 1863-82. Mr Langton distinguished himself as an earnest educator and School Inspectors commented very favourably about him. 

The Good Samaritan Sisters continued the fine work of the laity, bringing to the school their own unique spirit. The Sisters had a continuous association with St Matthew's from 1882 until 1990. 

The history of St Matthew's school is also the human story of a wonderful parish, the region, of pupils past and present and the dedication of those who served the school, often against adversity. 

St Matthew's has grown to a two-stream school with 21 teachers, 6 non-teaching staff and a current enrolment of over 400 students.