November 8, 2011  |  Member's Statement

St Columba’s Primary School, Ballarat North: centenary

There  was much  celebration  at  St Columba’s Primary School on  30 October  as the  school marked  the occasion  of its 100th birthday. Following a celebratory mass, where we heard some wonderful words from Sister Veronica Lawson, we made our way  to the school for the  unveiling of the centenary sculpture, created by Yandoit artist  Russell  Petherbridge,  and  the blessing of a memorial garden.

The wet  weather could not  dampen the  spirits of  the hundreds  of people  who attended  –  current  and  past  pupils, teachers,  parents,  grandparents  and neighbours. It  was a wonderfully  festive atmosphere as  the schoolgrounds were transformed  into a  fair, with  stalls and  rides. What a credit to  the school community to have pulled it  all  together in the face of the $35  000  worth of storm damage that had occurred just one week before.

The schoolgrounds  looked superb due to the efforts of  all involved,  who I  am sure worked around the clock to get ready for the big day.

Looking  around  the school,  which  is 100  years  into  providing  first-class education  in  Ballarat,  I could not help but consider how visionary the  Mercy nuns  were 100  years ago  in setting  the foundations  of learning that we have there today. Their order, the Sisters of Mercy, celebrated 130 years in Ballarat last Sunday with a service at St Patrick’s Cathedral that  was attended  by over 500  people. Like their visionary sisters of 100 years ago, today’s  Mercy  nuns are joining  with others to speak out  and advocate  on issues  such as  climate change, refugees, human trafficking and violence against women. I thank them for not only their commitment to Ballarat but  also their focus on alleviating human suffering wherever they see it.