1920 - Redcliff

The enrolment of the school rose rapidly - from fifty students it "almost trebled its numbers" (source) in a year. The Kerr St house had only "three fine classrooms"(source) and the Dominican Sisters looked for a larger site to accommodate the increase in numbers and cater for expansion. 

The Sisters purchased Redcliff to use as a convent in 1919, with a view to opening the school there. At that time the school was registered to Intermediate Standard (the equivalent of Year 9).

1920 2 4 Dominican Convent Mayfield

"The building 'Redcliffe' was never used as a School only as a Convent, but part of the first floor was used as boarder's accommodation when Senior School was in the Cottage.  A covered way connected Cottage to 'Redcliffe'"   
 (The Blessing and Opening of the School Extensions by His Lordship Bishop Leo Clarke, 26th May 1985.  1985.)

The Cottage was at the other end of the playing field, on Church Street near St. Columban's Church. The Cottage was purchased by St Mary's Convent, Maitland, and leased to San Clemente to use as the school from 1919 until the extensions to Redcliff in 1922 meant that the school could move there. The Cottage can be seen in the aerial photograph from 1971.

Frank Witherspoon, a prosperous grocer, originally built the "comfortable and convenient" Redcliff. There is more about the history of Redcliff here

F Witherspoon Small  F. Witherspoon's house at Mayfield

Type : Hunter Photo Bank
Registration Number : 001 001373
Creator : Snowball, Ralph

Date Created 07/11/1900
Physical Description 1901 Federal Directory: Witherspoon, F., Crebert Street - Storekeeper 1903 Electoral Rolls: Witherspoon, Elizabeth Ann, Mayfield - Domestic Duties Witherspoon, Frank, Mayfield - Storekeeper
Notes Geocode: NC Persons:- M Interior:- N
Location: Mayfield
Inscription `Nov 7th 1900. Witherspoons Mayfield 238' upper left corner back to upper right corner back - pencil.

The Newcastle Cultural Collection. <http://collections.ncc.nsw.gov.au/keemu/pages/nrm/index.htm>, (22/5/07)

 16300592 Small


Redcliffe, Mayfield
Type : Hunter Photo Bank
Subject : Classification Houses

The Newcastle Cultural Collection. <http://collections.ncc.nsw.gov.au/keemu/pages/nrm/index.htm>, (22/5/07)

 Histor1 Small  
 Histor2 Link  
 Histor3 Link  
 Plan Of Redcliff Small





Site plan showing Redcliffe and outbuildings

Source: Diocese of Maitland Newcastle Archives


Redcliff And San Clemente Small

This is the current façade of the school, showing Redcliff on the left, and the additions of 1922 when it became a Dominican school on the right.

Stitched photo by Carmen Janos, 5/07


Redcliff is often misspelt as Redcliffe - even in articles of the day.  However the spelling Redcliff is still visible etched in the glass over the original front door of the house.



The name of the original house etched in the glass over the door of the original Redcliff.


Redcliff 2015 Small Entry 2015 Small Door Small Entry1900 Small