Mercedes College celebrate growth from humble beginnings in 175th year

03 May 2021

In 2021, the Mercedes College community is celebrating 175 years since the Sisters of Mercy started a school with just one student, laying the foundations for what is now one of the oldest operating Catholic schools in the State. 

During Term One, Mercedes College marked the anniversary (9 March) of the arrival of the Sisters of Mercy in WA with the Mercedes Day celebratory Mass and activities, and hosted a Sunday community fete that saw the campus filled with vibrant stalls, delicious food, games and exhibitions. 

The Mercedes Day Mass was celebrated by the Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe SDB, Archbishop of Perth at St Mary’s Cathedral, with students, staff and many Sisters of Mercy, and included a re-enactment of the arrival of the Sisters, the first student and the growth of the College since.


A morning tea and special assembly followed Mass, and with current students and guest speakers reflecting on why they were proud to be part of the Mercedes College community, with the notable inclusion of Sr Mollie Wright, who had been a student, teacher and the last Sister of Mercy who was Principal of the College (1978 – 1996). 

Throughout the day key artwork was produced including a papercut timeline of the history of the College, an urban cross stitch design featuring the Catherine McAuley rose, an embossed quilt, memory boxes and a House banner made from small papercut flowers. These will all feature prominently in special installations in and around the College.

Image: Art installations created during Term One as part of the 175th celebrations.

College Principal, Mrs Kerrie Fraser, thanked all staff members for making this day a special one for students, saying that their commitment and tireless work were an inspiration. 

“It was wonderful to hear from speakers who were passionate about their connection with the College and to see our College community united for such a special event,” she said.

The 175th anniversary of the College will also be celebrated through Mercy Day public event in September, the Mercedes College Alumni High Tea, and a dinner for past and present Advisory Council members in May (more information is available via the Mercedes College website).

Guests at the Mercedes Day Mass included Tony Wheeler (Mercy Education Ltd), Mary Retel (Mercy Education Ltd), Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Sr Carmel Daly (Sisters of Mercy), Kerrie Fraser (Principal), Wayne Bull (CEWA), Hon Kate Doust MP (ex-student), and Sr Mollie Wright

Mercedes College celebrates the 175-year milestone in a year of significant anniversaries for Catholic education in WA and Australia. 

As a college that can trace their beginnings to the earliest days of Catholic schooling in the State, the foundation of Mercedes College and the schools that it grew from, and the arrival of the Sisters of Mercy, are highly significant to the commemoration of 200 years of Catholic Education in Australia and 50 years of the Catholic Education Western Australia system in 2021.

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