Catholic Education South Australia

Hearts | Minds | Flourish
Empowering hearts and minds to flourish

History and Tradition

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Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish School was first opened to the Pennington, Rosewater and surrounding communities in 1909 by the Sisters of St Joseph.  The school was built in response to the community need for a Catholic Education in the north-western suburbs of Adelaide and to provide a nurturing and supportive learning environment for students and families. The name Our Lady of Mt Carmel is in reference to the Carmelite priests, who ministered in the Port Adelaide/Pennington Parish between 1902 and 1999.  

Throughout the 110 plus years of the school's history, there have been several changes to the structure and makeup of the school that is still evident today. The main building was constructed in 1937 and changed from a co-educational to an all-girls school at this time. This change can still be seen on the entrance to the heritage-listed main building today. In 1966, the school was renamed Mt Carmel Primary School R-7 and resumed as a co-educational school for junior primary and primary students. The school has since reverted to its original name Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish School. 

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The Josephite Tradition

Our school acknowledges the 70-year history of the pioneering support of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

The Sisters were part of our school from its beginnings in 1909 and maintained their involvement in various capacities into the 1990s.

The Josephites began their work through the efforts of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop who started her work in Penola in the southeast of South Australia. The work of Mary continued to spread, and other women joined Mary in her mission of love and service. This work continues today in various ministries in hospitals, the wider community, schools and parishes.

In 1869, Mary and the Sisters of St Joseph came to Port Adelaide and opened a school.

In 1909, the Sisters moved to the present site of Pennington.  They administered the school for over seventy years until leaving the school in the hands of lay leadership in 1982. As a school, we will always be grateful for their pioneering efforts and sacrifice. A dedicated lay staff now carries on the work of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph.

Our three main buildings: MacKillop, Tenison and Josephite, are named in honour of and reflect the importance of the Sisters of St Joseph and their work in providing a Catholic Education for all families in Pennington and its surrounding suburbs.