College News


St Mary's College Ipswich celebrates 160 years of social justice and Catholic education

Creating care packs for the homeless and supporting women in developing countries are just some of the ways St Mary's College Ipswich works to make a difference in the community and the world.

And in 2023, Brisbane Catholic Education's (BCE) oldest secondary school is celebrating 160 years of educating young women in the spirit of Mercy tradition. 

St Mary's College Principal Paula Goodwin said students will join in the spirit of their foundress, Catherine McAuley, to spread compassion, hospitality, integrity, and respect, during Mercy Day celebrations on 15 September. 

“Our 160th anniversary is not just about looking back on our achievements since we first opened in 1863, but also about embracing the future with a renewed dedication to serving others," she said.

“On Mercy Day our students will take part in a variety of social justice activities, from creating care packs for the homeless in the local community, packing Zonta birthing kits for women in developing countries, to tending to our schools' First Nations Remembrance Garden. 

“They will be actively engaged in impactful initiatives that exemplify their dedication to making a positive difference in our world."

Paula added that the school's commitment to social justice and community service is the “true essence of a Catholic education."

"Our legacy of 160 years of education comes with a responsibility to serve and uplift those around us," she said.

“We want to ensure our students leave our school gates and continue to live their lives with a deep understanding of the values instilled in them during their time at our College.

“Our goal is to empower them to be compassionate, responsible global citizens who actively contribute to creating a more just and equitable society."

Among the notable alumni who will be joining the College for their 160th anniversary Lady's Lunch in October is Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

As part of their Mercy Day celebrations, St Mary's College invites the wider community to experience a pilgrimage of some of Ipswich's most historical and oldest buildings on 14 October. ​

Caroline Kovac, Communications and Media Advisor, BCE