In December 1873, the Presentation Sisters arrived in Victoria and established their first convent in Windsor. They had been invited by Father James Corbett, the Parish Priest of St Mary’s Parish in East St Kilda, who sought their help in ensuring the continuation of Catholic education after the 1872 Education Act saw the withdrawal of funds for religious schools. The founding sisters from Limerick, Ireland, were Mother Mary Paul Mulquin, Mother Mary Bernard Gunson, Mother Mary Patrick Irwin, Sister Margaret Mary Cronin, Sister Mary Berchmans Carroll, Miss Mary Elizabeth (Bessie) Mackey, and Miss Anne Bray. They were pioneering, practical, and driven by their faith.

In 1883, the Presentation Sisters were invited to open a school in the Elsternwick area by Father Carey, the Parish Priest of St James’ Parish in Elsternwick. They established the Star of the Sea Convent in the suburb of Elsternwick, later rezoned as Gardenvale and today, Brighton. The founding sisters at Star of the Sea, Mother Mary John Byrne and Mother Mary Paul Fay came from Kildare, Ireland. They were part of the Wagga Presentation Congregation prior to founding Star of the Sea.

The Presentation Sisters continued to respond to the need for Catholic education in Victoria by establishing convents and schools on the growing urban fringes of Melbourne and in various country locations including Daylesford, Rutherglen, Chiltern and Inglewood. They also operated boarding schools in Melbourne and country Victoria. Throughout their history, the Sisters engaged in diverse forms of ministry including teaching music, parish and pastoral work, chaplaincies, welfare and counselling, support for the sick and aged, adult and family education, spiritual direction, ecological justice and spirituality, and actions for justice and Aboriginal reconciliation. Recognising the importance of partnership, the Presentation Sisters have always collaborated with individuals and organisations that share their commitment to education and life. They have entrusted the leadership and care of their educational and community works to lay partners in ministry, ensuring that the Presentation face of God’s mission continues to flourish into the future.

Contact Information

Congregation Leader: Helen Carboon pbvm
Phone: +61 3 9534 7044
Office: Presentation Admin Centre 73 Grey St St Kilda West VIC 3182
Postal Address: PO Box 2276 St Kilda West VIC 3182