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.