143 Years of St Aloysius College

St Aloysius College was established in 1880 by the Sisters of Mercy to educate students to realise their own potential and to contribute more fully to the wider community. Read more about the History of SAC on our Catherine McAuley Library Website.

August 6, 1880The Sisters established 2 schools, which were housed in St Francis Xavier’s Hall, next to the Cathedral in Wakefield Street. St Anthony’s for the younger boys and St Angela’s for the girls provided a primary school education for the poor boys and girls of the parish.
March, 1882St Angela’s Select Intermediate School for Girls was established in the upper rooms of St Francis Xavier Hall. Catering to the wealthier Catholic families from suburban Adelaide as well as boarders from country South Australia, the focus was on education in the arts and academics. Both the Select school and the parish school for girls were dedicated to St. Angela. Following the tradition set by Catherine McAuley, the fees from the Select school helped the Sisters to run the primary school for poor children.
1891The first Principal of St Aloysius was appointed, Sr Magdalene (born Julia) Caroll.
1902Sr Magdalene founded the Mercy Old Scholars’ Association.
1904Two inheritances gave the Sisters the funds to erect a new building for St Angela’s next to the House of Mercy. This three story building at the northern end of the convent property, was named McAuley House and was the new home of the Select school. This building was later to be called the Dunlevie Building. The poorer children of the parish continued to be educated in the Cathedral Hall.

St Angela’s was renamed ‘St Aloysius College High School and Boarding School’ in honour of St Aloysius, Patron Saint of students.
1914Sr Aloysius Grant appointed Principal.
1918Sr Teresa Dunlevie appointed Principal.
1920Mother Cecilia Cunningham inherited a large fortune from her parents in Argentina. The money was used to purchase three properties and two blocks of land on the eastern side of the Convent. The Barr Smith house in Angas Street was purchased in November and provided additional accommodation for the Sisters, a kitchen and two dining rooms. The rest of the house was used by the Novitiate.
1921Acraman House, on the eastern side of the Convent, was purchased and the two houses joined to form the current Convent of Mercy. The architect extended Acraman House towards Angas Street to bring it into alignment with the Dutton-Green house.
1921A number of cottages and small shops were purchased to extend the Angas Street property to Chancery Lane. More properties in Chancery Lane were bought as well as a block on Wakefield Street to extend the College grounds. There was now space for a number of tennis courts.
1922The Memorial Chapel was built on the site of the  kitchen and laundry of Acraman House. This formed part of the eastern side of the present cloisters.
The McAuley Building (currently Dunlevie) was extended by demolishing the stables and hayloft of Acraman House and adding another two-story wing.
1925St Cecilia’s Hall and primary school was erected next to the Barr-Smith house on the the corner of Angas Street and Chancery Lane. This primary school for boys and girls was staffed by the Sisters of Mercy and replaced St Anthony’s that had previously been housed in Francis Xavier’s Hall next to the cathedral. The fees from St Aloysius College subsidised the schooling for St Cecilia’s students and the two schools operated side by side.
1945Sr Carmel Bourke appointed Principal
1954The boarders left St Aloysius College and went to a new Mercy School, Mercedes College at Springfield. Sr Deirdre Jordan appointed Principal.
1957St Cecilia’s School was closed and the girls from St Cecilia’s were absorbed into St Aloysius College.
1969Sr Phillippa Ridgway appointed Principal.
1970Sr Patricia Pak Poy appointed Principal
1976Sr Anne Rivers appointed Principal
1979Sr Mary Densley appointed Principal.
1983Sr Judith Redden appointed Principal.
2013Paddy McEvoy appointed as the College’s first lay Principal.


About Catherine 2019, Mercy International Association, viewed 11 October 2019, <https://www.mercyworld.org/catherine/>.

Angas Street, Adelaide 1922, Photograph, State Library of South Australia B 1108, viewed 9 February 2020, <https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+1108>.

Astbury, H 1980, Centenary: The Sisters of Mercy South Australia 1880-1980, Sisters of Mercy, Adelaide.

Barr Smith house 1903, Photograph, State Library of South Australia PRG-631-2-280, viewed 25 October 2019, <https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+631/2/280>.

Chapel, Convent of Sisters of Mercy 1922, Photograph, State Library of South Australia B 1116, viewed 25 October 2019, <https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+1116>.

Gall, E 1903, Convent of Mercy, Angas Street, Photograph, State Library of South Australia P 631/2/1803RG, viewed 9 February 2020, <https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+631/2/1803>.

Mercy Sisters 1899, St Aloysius College Archives, St Aloysius College, Adelaide.

St Aloysius College Centenary Journal 1980, St Aloysius College, Adelaide.

St Cecilia’s Hall and Private School 1926, Photograph, State Library of South Australia B-3408, viewed 25 October 2019, <https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+3408>.

Stapleton, N 2013, Short history of SAC, Document, St Aloysius College, Adelaide.

St Francis Xavier Cathedral and School Hall 1905, Photograph, State Library of South Australia B-72310, viewed 25 October 2019, <https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+72310>.