Mel Maria Celebrates 50 Years of Catholic Education

01 November 2023

Last month, Mel Maria Catholic Primary School joyfully celebrated its 50th year in Catholic education.

At their 50th Anniversary Thanksgiving Mass, Principal Paul Hille said:

“We recognise and honour the dedicated educators, visionary leaders, and supportive parents who laid our school’s foundation. Their unwavering commitment has driven our success.”

Mel Maria marked their jubilee celebration with a series of community events beginning with Mercy Week, where they were visited by their founding Sisters of Mercy who shared their stories with students and the wider school community.

Two 50th anniversary masses were held for the school and was followed by morning tea with current students, the Sisters of Mercy, special guests, past Principals, parents and other community members.

Mel Maria was established in 1973 by the joining of St Joseph Pignatelli Catholic Primary School Attadale, Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School Myaree, Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Primary School Willagee, and Santa Maria Primary School. Each of these schools existed separately in their own right, however because of their size and their limited resources, they struggled from an educational perspective to meet curriculum requirements. Following a series of meetings in 1972, involving the community of each of the schools, it was decided to amalgamate all the schools and Mel Maria came into being.

“Our journey has shaped us into who we are today — a testament to the power of a dedicated community working together…”

Paul Hille, Principal

The name Mel Maria was chosen because all three campuses were in the City of Melville. “Mel” comes from the first three letters of Melville, and also has Irish derivation, meaning “place”. “Maria” comes from the link with Santa Maria as the McAuley campus was originally the Primary School of Santa Maria. So, Mel Maria basically means “the Place of Mary”.

Mel Maria today is a tribute to the wisdom and the foresight of the then Principal of Corpus Christi Myaree, Sister Joan Smith. Though she never worked as such at Mel Maria, she will always be remembered for her work in sowing the seeds on which Mel Maria has grown and continues to blossom. The founding Principal of Mel Maria was Sister Florence O’Sullivan.

The patroness of Mel Maria is Mary, Our Lady of Mercy, and her feast is celebrated on September 24th.

“Our journey has shaped us into who we are today — a testament to the power of a dedicated community working together,” said Paul. “Looking ahead, we uphold Mel Maria’s Catholic Primary School’s legacy, staying true to our core values. The next 50 years will bring new challenges and opportunities, but our mission remains constant: to nurture faith, strive for innovation and excellence, build a strong and supportive culture, serving others and embracing community.”

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