Buildings Through the Ages

1889 Wedge Street

24 August 1889 the Sisters opened the Convent of Mercy Kyneton, a boarding and day school for ‘girls and young ladies’.

The Convent High School had previously been the site of The Collegiate School for young gents since 1865; however, prior to that the building had been the Robbie Burns Hotel which was one of the earliest built in Kyneton.

Indeed, the Sisters opened the Convent High School in what had previously been the bar!

1907 Gabriel Sherlock Building
  1. M. GABRIEL SHERLOCK (R.I.P. c.1827-1897)

Sr. M. Gabriel Sherlock was a past Principal of Sacred Heart College Kyneton (SHCK), July 1889 – May 1892.

In 1859, Sr. M. Gabriel came to Australia as part of a group of Sisters led by Mother Xavier Maguire to found a community at Geelong.

Prior to her appointment to Kyneton, Mother M. Gabriel also accompanied five Sisters to a new foundation at North Melbourne

In 1889, Mother M. Gabriel was chosen to lead a group of Sisters to found a community in Kyneton.  After nearly three years as Superior at Kyneton and Principal at SHCK, she was recalled to Geelong for another term as Superior.

Years later, when the Kyneton community went on foundation to Castlemaine they named the secondary school St. Gabriel’s in her honour.


1908 Gabriel Sherlock Building Addition
1926 The Chapel

Blessed and Opened in December 1926 by Archbishop Mannix.

The chapel altar was erected in memory of Dean Hegarty and is built of marble with a carving in full relief of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. Two life sized angels mount guard over the Tabernacle whilst in the sanctuary two more angels sculptured by Amerigo Martino Barrenti kneel in prayer holding ruby glass lamps. Many articles in the chapel have been presented in memory of loved ones.

1975 Coolock Wing

Built in 1975 but not officially blessed until 1982 when it was blessed and officially opened along with the Mercy Building.

Originally named Coolock it was renamed Xavier in 1989 by Sister Mary Moloney.

1981 Cephas Science Wing

SR. M. CEPHAS RIORDAN (R.I.P. 1900-1986)

 Sr. M. Cephas Riordan was a teacher at Sacred Heart College Kyneton (SHCK) for more than thirty five years.

After completing teacher training at Mercy Teachers’ Training College, Ascot Vale, Sr. M. Cephas studied a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne.

In January 1938, Sr. M. Cephas transferred to Kyneton where she taught music for five years before joining the staff of SHCK, where she taught for the next thirty-one years.


1981 Quambi

Aboriginal for Mercy Quambi was built in 1981 with the assistance of the Parents and Friends Association and was officially opened and blessed by Father Brian McCormack.

Quambi gave the college not only an indoor sporting venue but also an indoor space where the college as a whole could assemble for Masses, assemblies and special occasions.

1982 Mercy Building

The Mercy Building, a 12 classroom block built to accommodate the rising student numbers at the college. The Mercy block was built under the watchful eye of Principal Sister Denise Doyle, Blessed by Bishop Joseph O’Connell D.D.,D.C.L. and officially opened by Sister Gabrielle Jennings RSM, Congregational Superior of Sisters of Mercy.


1983 Buckley Building

Sister Mary Genevieve Buckley

Born Mary Anne Buckley 1859 in County Cork, Ireland. Sr Genevieve entered Geelong Convent in 1877 and volunteered to come to Kyneton with Mother Gabriel Sherlock in 1889.

In 1898 she was elected Superior at Kyneton, a position she held three times (1898-1904, 1907-1909, 1914-1918).

Sr Genevieve returned to Ireland in 1909 to recruit more sisters to return to return to Australia, soon after her arrival back in Australia she returned to Kyneton and held the office of Superior until her death.

Sr Genevieve passed away 19 November 1918; she is buried in the sisters’ plot at Kyneton Cemetery.

1987 Hilary Building
  1. HILARY STEVENSON (R.I.P. 1895 – 1985)

Sr. M. Hilary Stevenson was a Sister of Mercy for fifty eight years and most of her religious life was spent in Kyneton.

Sr. M. Hilary was Lay Sister, which means that she spent much of her time undertaking domestic duties in the Convents. She worked in the kitchens and cared for the boarders, she was also a keen gardener who was known in Kyneton for her roses.

Sr. M. Hilary is buried in the Sisters’ plot at the Kyneton Cemetery.

1991 Catherine McAuley Library Extension

Mother Mary Catherine McAuley

Catherine McAuley was born in Dublin in 1778. In a884, she used her inheritance to build a large House of Mercy where she and other lay women would shelter homeless women, reach out to the sick and dying and educate poor girls.

Catherine decided to found a religious congregation. On December 12, 1831, she and two others professed their vows as the first Sisters of Mercy. Before her death on November 11, 1841 Catherine founded convents and works of mercy throughout Ireland, and England.


1998 O’Neill Building

Mother Patricia O’Neill

Martha Mary O’Neill (Mattie), born 18 November 1878 in County Cork, Ireland. Mattie was educated at the Convent of Mercy girls’ school, Kyneton.

Sister Patricia was registered to teach at both primary and secondary levels, she enrolled as an external student at Melbourne University where she completed a Diploma of Education in 1917 and a bachelor of art degree in 1919.

She taught at numerous schools as well as training sisters’ at the Novitiate Training College.

In 1939 Sr Patricia was elected Mother-General of the Sisters of Mercy in Victoria and Tasmania, during 1953 the Sisters of Mercy then in 15 autonomous groups were invited to unite. Eight groups joined the union and in 1954 Mother Patricia was appointed the First Mother General of the Australian Union of the Sisters of Mercy.

Mother Patricia passed away 25 November 1972 and is buried in the convent grounds at Newtown.

2004 Frayne Hospitality Building

Mother Ursula Frayne

Ursula, at age 29, was the leader of the first group of Sisters of Mercy to arrive in Australia.

Clara Mary Frayne was born in Dublin in 1817 and died in Melbourne in 1885. She was trained by Catherine McAuley and became a professed Sister of Mercy on 25 January 1837, taking the name of Sister Mary Ursula.

Mother Ursula Frayne opened the first Mercy school in Australia in Perth on 2 February 1846 with planks, bricks and packing cases as the furniture.

2004 Mary Moloney Theatre

PRINCIPAL – 1993 – 2005

Prior to her appointment at SHCK Sr. Mary taught in a number of Mercy schools – Mercy College Coburg (1980), Sacred Heart College Geelong (1983-86) and St. Joseph’s Mildura (1987). In 1988 Sr. Mary was appointed to the position of Senior Mistress at SHCK and then to the position of Deputy Principal for 5 years, 1989-1992. During her time at the college enrolments increased from 550 to 700 students and significant building works took place including the Patricia O’Neill VCE area, the Mary Moloney Theatre and the Frayne Hospitality Centre.

2014 Arthurson Atrium

Mr John Arthurson – R.I.P. 17/8/1954 – 30/10/2010

Principal – 2006 – 2010

John’s first teaching job was in Murtoa followed by six other schools around Victoria including Kyneton Secondary College.

Before commencing at SHC John was Principal at CRC North Keilor for 11 years.

John was the first lay Principal at SHC, a position which he believed was “an honour and a privilege” to hold. John’s motto for all students was “Your best will always be good enough”.

2015 Vivian Dwyer Senior Learning Centre

Sr. M. Vivian Dwyer (1917-2011)

Sr. M. Vivian Dwyer was a past Principal of Sacred Heart College Kyneton, from January 1975 – December 1978.

She was a Sister of Mercy for seventy three years, and a teacher for forty years, taking classes from primary through to tertiary level.

Sr Vivian lectured at Mercy Teachers’ College in Ascot Vale and studied after hours at the University of Melbourne.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Sr. M. Vivian was Principal of Mercy Teachers’ College and showed great leadership in the training of the expanded intake of first lay teachers.

Following this appointment, Sr. M. Vivian took on the role of Mercy Schools Supervisor.

Sr. M. Vivian died on 17 May 2011and is buried in the Kyneton Cemetery.