You’re invited to read a speech by Helen Duke rsj delivered at St Mary MacKillop School, Wallaroo, South Australia – Australia’s longest continuing Josephite School 1869-2019.
Good afternoon and thank you for this opportunity to say a few words on this special occasion, your sesquicentenary. Wallaroo was very familiar to Mary MacKillop, her footprints would be all over this town that she visited often, trudging up from the wharf and later from the railway station to visit her Sisters and their students.
From about 1865 until the arrival of the first resident Parish Priest, Father William Kennedy in 1867, a small Catholic School operated in this town. Father Kennedy immediately closed this school and refused to reopen it until he had the newly formed Sisters of Saint Joseph in his parish.
Father Julian Woods and Mary MacKillop established the Sisters of Saint Joseph for the catholic education of children from poor families in response to Bishop Geoghegan’s strong request that every parish have a catholic school. He wrote:
So it was that in 1869, Sisters Catherine O’Brien, aged 23 years, and Margaret O’Loughlin, aged 18 years, set off by steamer for the Port of Wallaroo.
Whenever I think of Wallaroo, I have an image of a resilient community with, a resilience that has sustained all involved in this school over the past 150 years. There was certainly little else in this poor mining town on which to draw resources, or inspiration…
Continue reading Helen’s speech below:
Helen Duke rsj
 That was the title of the Rule of Life he wrote for them in 1867
 Rule, Article 13
 Mary MacKillop from London, 1873.
Photos provided by Helen Duke rsj. Used with permission.