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st. james roman catholic primary

St James Roman Catholic Primary is the oldest school on the False Bay coastline and over many years of existence has maintained its distinctive character as that of a community school, serving its people. Our school has a unique and interesting history, tracing its roots back to Father John Duignam.


A mosaic on the present post office of St James depicts the arrival of a group of Filipino fisherman, survivors of a shipwreck, who settled there in 1840. Being devout Catholics, they needed a church closer to Simon’s Town, to which they were obliged to

sail every Sunday for Mass, weather permitting.  On the 5th of October 1858, the foundation stone of the first church was laid and named St James in honour of the Apostle and Fisherman, and also the Patron Saint of Spain from where the Filipino’s mother tongue came. 


There is evidence that a school for the fisherman’s children existed in Kalk Bay, but when Father Duignam arrived in 1874 the school was transferred to St James, renamed St James Mission School, and erected behind the church. Due to the need to build a railway line and from Muizenberg to Kalk Bay, the original school had to be demolished so that a station could be built in its place. Due to the efforts of Fr Duignam, the station was named St James.


The school continued to grow and opened its doors to all race groups, despite the government’s effort to segregate schooling. The school served not only the local residents, but learners and parents from other areas, as well as Vrygrond, Glencairn, and Noordhoek. It also served the community by providing classrooms for Mass, catechism and saying the Holy Rosary. St James has played an important role in keeping the community together in the face of adversity.


Today, over 120 years later, St James ironically faces its greatest challenges in striving to continue to provide many more underprivileged and impoverished students with a decent quality education, in the hands of an unsympathetic, bloated state bureaucracy that it dreamt would provide relief and no further agony. 

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Principal: Lynette Saunders

Phone: 021 788 7064

Fax: 021 788 6469


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2 Barton Road

Kalk Bay


Western Cape

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2 Barton Road

Kalk Bay


Western Cape

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