Mercy College, Koondoola
Mercy College, Koondoola
Mercy College has a rich and proud history which began soon after the settlement of WA. The Swan River Colony (Western Australia) was founded in 1829. In 1843 the first Catholic priests arrived and Governor Hutt welcomed them and granted three allotments of land for a school, a church and presbytery. The church became the Cathedral and the school is now Mercedes College.
The Mercy Sisters arrived in January 1846 and promised to give service to the poor, the sick and the ignorant.
In 1846 the Sisters lived in three rush-thatched cottages and the students sat the public exams. There were sixty students in 1847, two thirds of these weren't Catholics. Within a few years the Sisters had built a convent, three schools and two orphanages (one for aboriginal children).
St Brigid's School in West Perth was founded in 1888. By 1896 there were about 500 pupils. St Brigid's had a great reputation as a school and won many government scholarships. In 1928 there were forty Sisters of Mercy at St Brigid's and 600 pupils. The Sisters from West Perth began new schools in Leederville (Aranmore), Lesmurdie (St Brigid's), Osborne Park (St Kieran's) and Wanneroo (St Anthony's). St Brigid's students transferred directly to the new Mercy College in 1972.
The city and the freeway were taking over West Perth and few people lived in the area. A new school was needed as people began to settle in Balga and Girrawheen. Mirrabooka Avenue and Beach Road stopped well short of this school in the bush. Buses dropped off students 200 metres from the entrance and they walked along a limestone track. There was no telephone or postal service and school began at 9.30am and finished at 4.15pm as the school was at the end of the track.
Sister Joan Flynn bought the land and built the first buildings and Sr Paula McAdam was the first Secondary School Principal.
Many of the first students (all girls) came by bus from St Brigid's, West Perth. The first buildings now form part of the current Middle Learning Centre.
In their first year (1972), Mercy girls won their section of the athletics and performed the operetta "Suzanna and Figaro" so the girls were enthusiastic and busy. The school expanded rapidly from the first Year Eight to Ten classes in 1972. The Primary (Year Five) began in 1974. In 1973/74 the two-storey block was built containing eight classrooms, two science laboratories, toilets and change room.
In 1976 the school was divided into Primary and Secondary with Mr Dick Finucane the Principal of Secondary. Boys were admitted to Year Five for the first time. Judge Dan O'Dea was the Chairman of the College Board and O'Dea House is named after him.
In 1994, through a directed rationalisation of the surrounding area, the Primary School commenced taking Pre-Primary students.
In 2002 the Primary and Secondary Schools were amalgamated to form a new Mercy College. The Primary caters for students from Kindy to Year six. The Secondary caters for students from Year Seven to Twelve.
At present we are a large school with over 1600 students. More than twenty Mercy Sisters have been part of the Mercy College staff over the years and we continue the traditions of these Sisters and their foundress, Catherine McAuley. We continue to strive for excellence in a caring Christian environment.