St Francis Xavier Primary School caters for boys and girls aged from 5 years to 12 years of age. The Presentation Sisters arrived in Ballina on 10 July, 1892. The Pioneer Sisters were Mother M. Berchmans Barnewall, Sr. M. Conception and Sr. Patrick Power.
"...School opened on 11 July, 1892, with an enrolment of forty-four.
At first, the Sisters lived in a small cottage in Swift Street, but, at Christmas, Father Mennis placed the Presbytery at their disposal and that was the convent until 1910."
We know very little of the Sisters' early days in Ballina.
Already, Ballina was a busy port.
Originally, it had been named "Deptford" by Surveyor Peppercorne after the big timber depot on the Thames.
The aborigines delightfully attuned to nature, called the place "Balunah", meaning, some say, the outlet of the river or, alternatively, the place where oysters are plentiful.
The Irish settlers, their thoughts on the home country, changed the name to the more familiar "BALLINA" after a town in County Mayo.
At first, the Sisters taught in the Church, but, by July of the following year the enthusiastic parishioners had a new school ready to provide for the rapid increase of pupils."
(taken from the school website)