Cowra is a town of 9800 people in the Central West of New South Wales, 314 kilometres west of Sydney. Saint Raphael's Central School is located near the heart of Cowra, only two minutes walk from the CBD.

Catholic education began in Cowra in 1870 when two Lay teachers, Miss Martin and later Miss Purcell began the school. 

The first religious order in Cowra, the Sisters of St. Joseph from Perthville, came to conduct the school in1878. After sixteen years, in 1894, six Brigidine Sisters from Coonamble took over the running of the school.

The boarding section of the school commenced in 1895 and by 1902 the increased enrolment of boarders necessitated more accommodation. By 1912 even more accommodation was needed for boarders, and Dr Dunne opened the new building on August 4, 1912.

By the mid 1930s there were 450 pupils enrolled at the school. The present convent chapel and classrooms below the chapel were completed in 1938.

The primary school, facing Liverpool Street, was officially opened by Bishop Thomas on February 15, 1965. The next year it was considered impractical to continue the boarding school. Secondary classroom facilities were added in 1968. A new administration block containing offices, staff facilities and children's clinics was completed in 1987.

The Brigidine sisters left the school in 1988 handing over to the first lay principal, Mrs Gene Smith.

A full refurbishment of the former convent building, boarding school and original school was completed in 2000, and now houses the library, Heritage Centre, a domestic cooking kitchen, the Secondary Curriculum Team and general classrooms. Sporting facilities in the renamed Jubilee Park were also renovated in 2000 along with the interior of St Raphael's Hall.

Strong links between school and parish is a feature of the St Raphael's family, as is the link with Cowra community.

The curriculum features an effective focus on literacy and numeracy. Excellent results at every level, sound foundations for each student plus a culture of Strength and Gentleness provide enjoyable learning and ensures excellent prospects for the future of each student.

In 2016 St Raphael’s grew into a K-12 school with the implementation of Year 11 in Term 1, 2016 and Year 12, Term 4 in 2016. The town of Cowra now has Catholic Education from K-12.