A primary school within the compound of a Nowra doomsday cult will close next year, after the NSW Board of Studies refused to renew its registration.
St Joseph’s School students must attend alternate schools in 2006 unless the school successfully appeals the decision.
Principal David Williams this year resigned from the school, which operates within the high-security Order of St Charbel compound at Cambewarra. A NSW Board of Studies spokeswoman yesterday said it was not satisfied with Mr Williams’ proposed replacement, and therefore the school’s registration would not be renewed after December 31. It is illegal to operate an unregistered school.
The ruling ends a controversial year for the Cambewarra religious community, which has lost not only its school but its leader. William Kamm, also known as Little Pebble, was sentenced on October 14 to a maximum of five years’ jail for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in the religious community.
He told her the Virgin Mary had selected her to spawn a new race when the world ended, and had taken her as his “mystical wife”.
Kamm is appealing his conviction. Kamm’s followers maintain he holds no position in St Joseph’s School, a claim which a Board of Studies investigation this year backed up.