The disruptions to Hobart’s Eastern Shore communities caused by the collapse of the Tasman Bridge in 1975 highlighted the difficulties posed by reliance on services only available on the Western Shore. The opening of John Paul II school at Rokeby in 1981, which brought the total number Eastern Shore Catholic Primary schools to four, once again raised the issue of having no option for Catholic secondary education on the Eastern Shore.During 1993 the Catholic Church purchased the site and buildings of Mornington Primary School to be the location of a new Catholic Co-educational Secondary College.
Although discussions about the possibility of establishing a Catholic Secondary College on the Eastern Shore of the River Derwent had taken place as early as 1962 and the issue was on the first agenda for the newly formed Catholic Education Commission in 1978, it was not until a re-structuring of Catholic secondary education in the Hobart region commenced in 1994 that the vision became a reality.
MacKillop Catholic College opened on 9 February 1994, with 59 students in Year 7. By 1997 student numbers had risen to 340 in Years 7 to 10. In 2019 MacKillop celebrated our 25th anniversary. Our student intake for 2020 is around 580 students and we are looking forward to growing further into the future.
MacKillop Catholic College has also undergone major facility upgrades since its opening and now offers modern general learning areas, as well as providing specialist areas catering for subjects such as Food Technology, Drama, Music, Dance, Fine Arts, Information Technology, Building and Construction, Design and Technology, Applied Technology.
At MacKillop Catholic College we still have the same aim to educate the whole person – spiritually, intellectually, physically, socially, emotionally and morally. We believe in the importance of a broad curriculum suited to the needs, abilities and interests of the students. We aim to provide encouragement and opportunity for each student to reach excellence and to achieve to the best of his or her God-given talents.
During 1993 a competition was held in Catholic Primary schools on the Eastern Shore.
Jessica Direen of St. Cuthbert’s School was one of a group who suggested the name “MacKillop”. Jessica was chosen by lot as the winner. Jessica wrote that Mary MacKillop was “an Australian to look up to and strive to emulate”.
Christina Ramsay, of Corpus Christi School, provided the original idea for the crest of the College, “a cross and a star intersecting, each gaining inspiration from the other”.
Christina suggested our crest was symbolic of “hope and new life”. It also reminds us, through the star, that God is transcendent, always beyond human thinking and imagining, but God is also immanent. As the cross reminds us, He experienced our human life and we encounter Him in others.
When Christina worked on her suggestions for our college crest she had just been diagnosed with cancer. Christina battled with the illness throughout her years at MacKillop and sadly succumbed to the disease in 2004. This young lady had such an amazing spirit: her battle and how she wrote about it, including her conversations with Jesus, is a genuine inspiration for us all.
To know life, to know suffering and to admit that being strong for herself and others is more than one can bear at times. To be touched by her faith. We are indeed fortunate to have Christina’s spirit amongst us at MacKillop. There follows extracts from Christina’s diaries: a rare and splendid gift of her deeply personal thoughts. Please treat them as a privilege and we hope her words can give you a still point to recognise and treasure what is really important in your life.Christina Ramsay
Mr Ian Ferrier, a Brisbane architect, developed our crest from Christina’s original concept.
Sophie Hutchins of Corpus Christi School suggested our motto: “In Faith and Hope and Love”. This is the title and opening line of a hymn written in Hobart by the noted Australian poet, James McAuley. The opening words of the first verse of the same hymn are “Christ our star…”, hence the star above our crest.