St. Mary’s School was founded in 1958 after Father Gerald Payne had obtained the services of three Sisters of St. Joseph to staff it. The school was built at a cost of 29 000 pounds, with 76 students enrolled from Grade Prep to Form Three. In the same year a Mother's Club was formed. Twenty football jumpers and socks were purchased in 1959 and a football match was played against Hopetoun.
In 1969, the secondary part of the school discontinued and Grade’s Prep to Six remained. In 1971, the first Gala Day was held. Over the years, St.Mary's have competed in the Tyrrell Athletics Sports, with the school winning the shield on many occasions.
The features of Josephite schools, easily discernible in the early history of the order, are clearly in evidence in the present St. Mary’s School which works in simple, ordinary ways to bring to all the message of their human dignity and of Christ’s saving love. It serves the local church and discerns with the parent community the urgent needs of the time.
In 1994, St. Mary’s was refurbished, the Library extended, and a new Art Room built. In 1999, there were 51 pupils in Prep to Grade Six and these represent 31 families. Sr. Patricia Day, past Principal was the last Josephite to teach at the school. The majority of the children travel to school by bus while the children from the Sea Lake Township walk or ride bikes to school. In 2000, St.Mary’s Principal, Vin Butler, became the first lay Principal, ending 42 years of Josephite leadership. There were 50 children enrolled at St. Mary’s. Many of the parents are engaged in farming; cereal crops and sheep being the major products.
St. Mary’s offers a wide curriculum, with programs such as reading recovery, EMU and Vic Arts performances. St. Mary’s is part of the Northern Zone, Ballarat Diocese and a member of the Tyrrell Cluster. Students have an opportunity to represent the school and cluster in all sports. Grade’s 3 to 6 take part in the Camps program, whilst Grades P/1/2 have an annual excursion.
In 2002, the school embarked on a building program. The program included demolishing the boys’ toilet/cloakroom, building a new boys’ and girls’ toilet, and refurbishing the girls’ toilet into a cloakroom. Also at the beginning of that year a shade structure was erected over the playground. The Parents and Friends Association raised funds for this project.
In 2010, the school built a new multipurpose building under the BER project. Our St Mary of the Cross Centre is a large open area with a kitchen and toilet and is used for indoor games, our performing arts program, liturgies, assemblies and whole school functions.
In 2016, the classrooms were completely refurbished to an open plan style with flexible learning spaces to complement the Professional Learning Community framework.
The symbol of St. Mary’s school is Mary holding the child Jesus and the words: Love, Joy, Peace are those chosen to encapsulate the spirit of the school.