Sacred Heart Sandgate celebrates 130 years with past pupil and new Principal

Sacred Heart Primary School in Sandgate has celebrated 130 years, welcoming alumna and former teacher Dell Rutherford to join the festivities. There was plenty of old-fashioned fun, including egg and spoon races, dance and band performances, and a bake sale.


Past Sacred Heart Student Dell Rutherford and Husband

Past Sacred Heart student Dell Rutherford and husband


Dell reflects on her time at Sacred Heart Primary School in Sandgate, saying the former boarding school has changed significantly over the years.

“When I was little, we had a large playground of grass and stones with just two swings and some balls and skipping ropes as our equipment, but we had so much fun,” Dell said.

The Sacred Heart Primary School playground of the 1950s is a big contrast from today’s, which houses a smaller but very colourful playground, a tennis court, basketball and netball courts, an adventure playground, a treehouse play area and a vegetable garden.

Dell explained that her father attended the school in 1910, and she began aged four in 1948.

“My children also attended the school, and this year my granddaughter Imogen began Prep at Sacred Heart,” she said. “It is quite special having four generations educated at Sacred Heart, and I love sharing my school memories with Imogen.”

Dell worked at Sacred Heart Primary School for 33 years as a teacher, teacher’s aide, and administration officer.

“If you add my time as a student and parent, I have been involved with the school for 68 years,” she added.

Students in the Library at Sacred Heart School in Sangate

Students in the library at Sacred Heart School, Sandgate


A new Principal at Sacred Heart Primary School, Sandgate

New Principal at Sacred Heart Primary School Sarah McDonald described the school as having a ‘generational history’.

“It’s great to have this beautiful history at our school and be able to share it for our 130th anniversary,” she said.

“We love welcoming back families and enjoy new families joining our school community and creating new family traditions.”

Sarah McDonald was announced as the new Principal at Sacred Heart Primary School in May after acting in the role since October 2022.

“I was keenly aware of what a great school Sacred Heart is after being a staff member there,” she said.

“Sacred Heart is an amazing school, and I want to share that with our community here in Sandgate.”.

Sarah has been teaching for almost 20 years, including in Maryborough, Mt Isa and Townsville, and moved to the Sandgate area in 2010 with her family. However, she has always had a close attachment to the area.

“My mother grew up in Sandgate, and I spent many school holidays here with my nan when I was younger, so moving here in 2010 was a dream come true,” she added.

Sarah said her focus at Sacred Heart Primary School is building community partnerships and developing the school’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programs, especially in the senior primary years.

Students Learning About the World at Sacred Heart Sandgate

Students learning about the world at Sacred Heart, Sandgate


Sacred Heart Primary School in Sandgate is a Catholic primary school with heart. A Sacred Heart education ensures that students graduate primary school well-prepared to commence their secondary years journey having experienced an exceptional primary education.

Sacred Heart Primary School is currently accepting enrolments for 2024 and beyond. For enrolment information, please visit the Sacred Heart Primary School website.

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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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