Fun For Everyone!

The History of Our Lady Star of the Sea Terrigal Parish, School & the Fair by the Sea

‘Our Fair was born from humble beginnings and thrives on community spirit.’

Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish was inaugurated in 1961 on a magnificent site overlooking Terrigal Haven.  The Fair by the Sea originated in 1977, before the school was built in approximately 1979.

At that time the parish and school was jointly located on the relatively small site where the Star of the Sea Apartments now reside.  Until the early 2000’s Catholic Parish’s were responsible for funding and building their local schools.  The Fair by the Sea was established by the parish to strengthen community bonds and raise much needed revenue to fund the construction, resourcing and expansion of Our Lady Star of the Sea Primary School.

After construction of the school was completed (accommodating a single class in each year), school and parish facilities and resources benefited from the increasing success of the Fair by the Sea with ongoing community support. As the school grew each year, new school families joined with the parish families to improve the Fair by the Sea system.

Over time, the Fair by the Sea outgrew the school and parish site, and moved down to the oval at the Haven.  Set-up of the Fair by the Sea on the Haven oval would commence after the last ball of the local cricket match on a Saturday afternoon, with all equipment, tents, and donations being delivered to the oval over the course of a hectic afternoon and night. Adults from the school and parish (and some children) would camp on the Saturday night to keep security-watch.

The original school continued to expand with new enrolments, and was bursting at the seams by the 1990’s. The school and parish site was relatively small and land locked in a residential area. The concrete carpark doubled as the playground, and not much grass existed once the school was built.  In the late 90’s, the Parish made a decision to gain approval for relocating the school and parish to a new larger site that would accommodate a larger school. The purchase of an acreage at Erina fell through at the last moment, and other available sites in the area were deemed unsatisfactory.  Fortuitously, Fr Carol Grew stumbled upon the Serpentine Rd site at Terrigal while out for a walk and within a matter of days, the deal was sealed.

At the time of construction, the parish was still responsible for the financing of school buildings, so the Parish took out a loan to finish the school and parish complex.  The school was completed first, with Mass services conducted within the classrooms while the hall was being built.  Then the hall was constructed and Mass services were held in the hall until the Church, presbytery and administration offices were built.  The carpark was then completed and the school oval started to take shape.

The final part of the design was the memorial garden and shrine in front of the Church.  With finances stretched from the construction and loan repayments, this was not completed until 2016 including a contribution from the Fair by the Sea.

When the school and parish moved to the Serpentine Road, the Fair by the Sea found a new site.  With brand new classrooms, the Fair by the Sea was not allowed to use inside the classrooms.  Luckily over time, this rule was relaxed.  We are now very fortunate to have access to a wonderful mix of classrooms and external area’s to run the Fair by the Sea.  As our event continues to grow, we use much of the site for stalls, amusements and parking.

During recent years there have been numerous projects that have been partially or fully funded by the Fair by the Sea proceeds.  Projects such as new playgrounds and playground equipment (numerous projects over the years as the school expanded), seating and covered area’s, library upgrades and resources, IT equipment, ipads and related equipment, wifi networks, Defib equipment, security camera’s, air conditioning, audio visual equipment, electronic whiteboards, electronic sign, portable partitions, classroom furniture and more.

All of this can only be achieved because of the wonderful partnership and community spirit of the school and parish families.  The Fair by the Sea is a joint venture, with shared efforts and shared rewards.  We are very proud to be the longest running annual Fete within our region.

‘Our Fair was born from humble beginnings and thrives on community spirit.’