Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta

Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta
Our Lady of Mercy College crest. Source: www.olmc.nsw.edu.au (OLMC website)
Under Your Protection
Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia Australia
Coordinates 33°48′28″S 151°00′12″E / 33.8079°S 151.0032°E / -33.8079; 151.0032Coordinates: 33°48′28″S 151°00′12″E / 33.8079°S 151.0032°E / -33.8079; 151.0032
Type Private, Single-sex, Day school
Denomination Roman Catholic
Established 1889[1]
Chairman Geraldine Star
Principal Kitty Guerin
Employees ~76[2]
Enrolment ~1,030 (7–12)[2]
Colour(s) Green, red, blue, gold and white
Slogan "Educating girls in the Mercy tradition"

Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta (OLMC), is a private, Roman Catholic, day school for girls, located in Parramatta, a western suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is adjacent to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Established in 1889 in the Mercy tradition, and based on the Gospel values of mercy and justice, the college caters for approximately 1,030 students from years 7 to 12.[2]

OLMC is affiliated with the Combined Catholic Colleges, the Catholic Girls Secondary Schools Sporting Association, the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia,[3] the Australasian Mercy Secondary Schools Association (AMSSA),[4] the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[5] and an affiliate member of the Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools (AHIGS).[6]



The College was founded by a group of Mercy sisters from Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland. The Sisters of Mercy were invited to come run a Catholic school in Paramatta. Mother Mary Clare Dunphy led the sea voyage from Ireland to Australia in 1889. They opened the school on its present site in January 1889, with seven high school students and Mother M. Alacoque Kavanagh as the founding Principal. Previous to this the school had been ministered by the Sisters of Mercy from North Sydney and was known as 'St Mary's High School'. The school had both a co-educational primary school and a girls' high school. Subjects taught included: English, Latin, Modern languages, Mathematics, Singing, Elocution, Physical Culture, Freehand and Geometrical Drawing, Painting, Music, Needlework and Woodcarving.

Within the first two years the school was extended along Villiers Street, and three students sat for and passed the Civil Service Entrance Examination. A student of the College was awarded the Trinity College Colony Medal for piano in 1894.

In 1892, the College accepted its first boarder and by 1899, a new wing was built along Villiers Street to accommodate the increasing number of classes and boarders. In 1911 there were 101 pupils enrolled at the College but by the mid 1920s this had almost trebled. Today the school population exceeds 1000 students.

OLMC was one of the first schools in New South Wales to be registered for the Bursary Endowment Act in 1913, which introduced the more competitive exam orientated approach to education of the Intermediate and Leaving Certificate years. The first group of students sat for the Leaving Certificate in 1914.

In 1922, Dorrie Murphy convinced Mother Francis Kearney to support the foundation of an Ex-students' Association. As well as being a way of maintaining school friendships, the Association raised funds for the charitable works of the Sisters. Dorrie is also credited with penning the words of the school song, "The Alma Mater" to the tune of a popular beer hall song, which is still sung by students and ex-students today. The tradition of the Ex-students' Association was extended in 2004 when the OLMC Parramatta Alumnae was created. This was a direct result of the incorporation of the College and the appointment of a Board of Directors in 2002 by the Trustees of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta.

By 1929, the expansion of the school led to the erection of a new building in order to accommodate the 150 borders and 200 day pupils. This building has been named 'The Brigid Shelley Building' in recognition of one of the early Sisters. Further expansion has taken place over the years as more land has become available. Major building occurred in 1939, 1967 ('Francis Kearney Building', 1969 'Catherine McAuley Library and Hall') and 1994 ('Martha O’Sullivan Technology Wing'). There has also been refurbishment in recent years. The Hall was refurbished and named 'The Edith Angel Hall' in 2006 in recognition of the leadership of Sr Edith Angel during the 1960s. A Master Plan which includes building works began in 2007.

In 1955, the primary school was to phased out and the boarding school closed at the end of 1974. This was to help the College update its facilities for the implementation of the Wyndham Scheme. This new education policy made the subject of Science compulsory for all students to the end of Year 10, and introduced another year to the high school program so that it now covered six years instead of five.

In 1996, the College was set alight by the same arsonist who set fire to Saint Patrick's Cathedral minutes before. The fire in the school was discovered in time and put out with little damage done. Within a few days of the fire the Prime Minister, Paul Keating, came to view the ruins of the Cathedral. Girls from the College were on the lawns of the front garden in order to see him and he went over to speak to them, standing on the fence to do so. The images of this meeting were shown through the media across the country.

In 2002, the college was incorporated and the first Board of Directors was appointed, with Geraldine Star as the first College Chair. In 2004, Kitty Guerin was appointed the eighth principal of the College

In 2010 a new building is being constructed - the Janet Woods Building, named after a former Principal of the College and Science teacher, Sister Janet Woods. The building will provide facilities in Science, Food Technology and Hospitality, and a Library, Senior Study and Canteen.


Period Details[6]
1889–1908 Mother Mary Alacoque Kavanagh &
Mother Mary Clare Dunphy
1909–1933 Mother Mary Frances Kearney
1934–1945 Mother Mary Alphonsus Stanley
1946–1964 Sr Mary Gonzaga Stanley
1965–1977 Sr Edith Angel
1978–1989 Sr Janet Woods
1990–2004 Sr Ailsa Mackinnon
2004– Mrs Kitty Guerin

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ "History". Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta. http://www.olmc.nsw.edu.au/ourschool/history.html. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  2. ^ a b c "Annual School Report 2006" (PDF). Our School. Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta. http://www.olmc.nsw.edu.au/ourschool/_doc/annual_school_report_2006.pdf. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  3. ^ "Member Schools". The Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia. 2006. http://www.agsa.org.au/members.php?PageID=11&Alpha=O. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  4. ^ "New South Wales". Member Schools & Colleges. Australasian Mercy Secondary Schools Association. 2007. http://msea.mercy.org.au/membersac/nsw.html. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  5. ^ "New South Wales". Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. April 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. http://web.archive.org/web/20070829152442/http://www.ahisa.com.au/Display.aspx?tabid=2230. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  6. ^ a b "Heads of New South Wales Independent Girls' Schools". The Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools. http://www.ahigs.nsw.edu.au/DeskTopDefault.aspx?tabid=1. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  7. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed (2006-11-17). "McKENZIE Kate". Who's Who in Business Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd. 

External links

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