The Sandford Mission, later to be named the Casterton Mission and then the Casterton Parish, was formed on the 4th February 1875. As the population in the area grew and the Catholic congregation expanded, the need to provide a Catholic education became more pressing. The responsibility for providing this was taken on by the Sisters of Mercy who were invited to Casterton by Bishop Moore in 1901.
In 1902, four Sisters of Mercy from Yarrawonga; Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart, Sisters M. Xavier, Patrick, and Brigid, arrived by train in Sandford and travelled the remaining distance to Casterton where they were met at the parish church by a large congregation. A private residence in Robertson Street was taken up as a temporary convent and here began a primary school known as Sacred Heart School. The Sisters also began a secondary school which was to become known as the College of Our Lady of Mercy. The weight of requests from parents in the district saw three more houses taken on, one of which provided for boarders.
The primary school transferred to the Parish Hall, also known as the “Hibernian Hall”, around 1903. Additions were made to the overall length of the hall and a further room added on the south side to cater for growing numbers of children seeking places.
A new four classroom school, intended to accommodate up to two hundred children, was built in Robertson Street, directly opposite, at a cost of 24,093 pounds. It was officially opened on Sunday,14th September 1958 and on the following morning 130 pupils and three teachers occupied their new school.
Sacred Heart School was run by the Sisters of Mercy with the assistance of a number of lay teachers until the appointment of the first lay principal, in 1983. The Sisters continued on the teaching staff until 1990 when the last religious sister withdrew from teaching duties, bringing to a close an era of 88 years involvement in Sacred Heart School. We continue to promote the Mercy charism.
The school continues today staffed by lay teachers and serving the local parish as always. The parents join in the operations of the school by service through the School Community Advisory Council and generous support wherever needed, from swimming to cooking BBQs, helping out at Working Bees and classroom assistance. Our parish priest, Fr John Corrigan plays an integral role in school operations.