This year marks a new beginning for Catholic education in the Archdiocese, with St Mary’s College St Kilda East becoming the only Catholic co-educational secondary school in inner-city Melbourne. The school's first Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli on Tuesday 2 March and it was a fitting celebration and acknowledgment of the community's pioneering history.
St Mary's College is the combination of Christian Brothers College, St Kilda East (CBC) and Presentation College, Windsor (PCW). For 150 years, the two schools lived side by side in St Kilda East, operating separately but working together to provide a quality Catholic education for young men and women, often sharing classes, immersion experiences and collaborating on community events.
Both schools were the product of pioneering Parish Priest Rev. Dr James Corbett (the first Bishop of the Diocese of Sale) who, in 1873, invited the Presentation Sisters to come to Melbourne to provide a Catholic education to young people in the area. A convent and primary school were eventually built, and a few years later, Fr Corbett invited the Christian Brothers to take on the leadership of St Mary's Boys School.
The decision to combine and create a co-educational offering was prompted by the announced closure of Presentation College in 2019. The reimagined school now operates across two sites: the Edmund Rice Campus (formerly CBC) and the Presentation Campus (formerly PCW). Years 7, 8 and 10 are predominantly based at the Edmund Rice Campus and Years 9, 11 and 12 over at the Presentation Campus.
Speaking at Tuesday's Mass, Founding Principal of St Mary's College Terry Blizzard paid tribute to the many women and men who came to Melbourne in the nineteenth century in response to Fr James Corbett's call "from the ends of the earth".
'We are inspired and challenged by Fr Corbett’s vision, and today we are excited to imagine what the next phase of this vision looks like as we become a Catholic Co-Educational school in the St Mary’s Parish,' said Principal Blizzard.
‘Whilst the name of the school has changed, the commitment to our faith, values, strong communities and quality learning programs will remain priorities as young women and men share their educational journeys together.’
Principal Blizzard said the task ahead for St Mary's College was to continue to invite all people into the story of Jesus of the Gospels, striving to make the message of compassion, justice, inclusion and peace a living reality for generations to come.
Melbourne Catholic16 April 2021
Melbourne Catholic13 April 2021