St Finbarr’s School was originally named St Joseph’s School when it started in 1950 and was run by the Sisters of St Joseph. Sr Macrina, Sr Carmel and Sr Magdalen arrived in Quilpie by train in January 1950 to teach in the school after it was constructed by Parish Priest Fr Michael Cronin under the direction of Bishop Roper, the then Bishop of Toowoomba.
By the end of the first year, there were more than 60 students enrolled. The convent and boarding facilities were completed in 1951, which enabled children from outlying areas to attend school. This service continued until 2008.
The year 2009 marked an important milestone in the history of St Finbarr’s School as the responsibility for leadership of the school was handed to the Catholic Education Office, Toowoomba, under the principalship of Mr Aaron Wells.
The first full time ‘lay teacher’ Michael West began teaching at the school in 1983. Following which sisters and staff worked side-by-side until 2018.
In 2018, Sr Margaret Andersen responded to a call of the sisters of St Joseph to take up a leadership position at Nundah in Brisbane. Sr Marg had served in the school for 33 years as a teacher, principal and assistant principal religious education. This marked the end of 68 years of Josephite presence in the community.
The Spirit of Mary Mackillop and the traditions established by the Sisters of St Joseph remain strong in the school and community.