Above: Early days of construction...Lauretta Graham centre; Michael Avery 2nd from right; Bishop Eugene Hurley far right.
Many years ago when I was a young teacher I heard an inspirational woman speak at a Catholic Conference in Melbourne, her name was Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann. She spoke about Having Everything's Connected. She said: "the secret of the school's success appears to lie in its holistic approach and in its intimate knowledge of, and connection to, the local community"Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann. She spoke about her school in the NT. I was totally inspired and wanted to build schools taking on her philosophy. Since then, I have been fortunate to be invited to be the foundation Principal of St Andrew's Catholic College Redlynch, Qld and now MacKillop Catholic College in Palmerston, NT. Furthermore, I have had the opportunity to meet and laugh with this amazing woman.
Though we waited in hope through the NT wet season our school buildings were not ready for the 2012 Academic Year and we were graciously housed at the Palmerston Campus of Charles Darwin University. Here we occupied a few rooms and got on with running our school. This was a blessing it provided our first community partnership and it made it clear to us that buildings are second to people.
A school is not its buildings, a school is the community. This became our mantra. To build an authentically Catholic College our task was always to build a Community. This takes courage and integrity from all involved in the task. The development of school and community are inseparable. It involves relationships of trust and the willingness to work together.
Through MacKillop's presence in Palmerston we endeavour to enrich the whole community.
The Challenge is: Who we are and how we operate. Where Gospels meet practice, and words meet hearts (K. Treston), and all in all helping others to become more fully the person God has created them to be.
From the first day we have worked towards being a school for the community and have had our doors open to build meaningful partnerships and ways of working with the wider community. We now enjoy many wonderful partnerships and look forward to new ones unfolding as the years progress. Our students have just returned from Japan where they visited our Sister School Hakata High School.
The metaphor of journey runs through all that is at MacKillop. It forms the focus of our crest.
Our crest depicts a path way to Jesus through the cross. This powerful metaphor helps us to locate our place in the development of our souls. It helps us to understand our reluctant movement from the comfort and security of what we know to the unknown. It traces our travels in desert times and to our mountain visions (J. Cutcliffe).
Finally, to build a school you need a team of people who can VISUALISE THE STEPS FROM IDEA TO FULFILLMENT.
"May your journey always be filled with blessings and may the life of Saint Mary MacKillop ignite in you the flames of faith and service".
Aerial view of the school in November 2011 three months before the school was due to open
Aerial view 2017
First community BBQ at the College