Western Australia

Western Australia witnessed the establishment of the Presentation Sisters through two distinct founding stories in 1891 and 1900. These narratives predated the union of the Geraldton and Perth congregations in 1969, which marked a significant milestone for the Sisters.

During the 1800s, Geraldton prospered as a prominent port town due to its thriving wool and grain exports, as well as mining activities in Northampton. Bishop Matthew Gibney of Perth recognized the need for a convent and school in Geraldton and sought assistance from various religious orders. The Presentation Sisters from Sneem and Michelstown in Ireland responded to this call and agreed to venture to Western Australia. Arriving in July 1891, they wasted no time and began their work immediately.

Over the following 78 years, the Geraldton Sisters established an additional 21 schools in remote regions of Western Australia. Their dedication led them to follow the mining towns, opening schools wherever the need arose. They even transported their convent and school using a wheeled conveyance called a jinker which allowed them to relocate from one mining town to another. In their mission, they reached out to children from rural areas, including Indigenous communities and migrant groups, offering Catholic Faith instruction, education and boarding facilities amongst other pastoral contributions.

Simultaneously, the Perth Congregation was formed, as the gold rush sparked the establishment of new towns in Perth, in the south west and in the wheatbelt of Western Australia. In the late 1800s, Bishop Matthew Gibney invited the Presentation Sisters from Hay, New South Wales, to contribute to the education and pastoral care needs in these areas. Sisters hailing originally from County Kildare, Ireland, together with Sisters from Wagga Wagga in New South Wales comprised the Hay Foundation. The founding Sisters reached Southern Cross on 14 February, 1900. Despite encountering extreme heat and an unfinished convent, they found temporary accommodation and proceeded to open the school and convent on 26 February of that year.

Undeterred by challenges such as isolation, climate, distance, and limited resources, the Sisters persevered. Over the next 70 years, they established an additional 18 schools, exemplifying their entrepreneurial spirit and fostered cultural pursuits, particularly music, speech, drama and commercial. The Sisters made a significant contribution to the Catholic instruction in regional towns through the establishment of the motor mission, always demonstrating an unwavering commitment to serving those in need. Ministering with various groups, including First Nations people, engaging in spiritual formation, and in justice outreach including mental health, combatting homelessness and caring for the earth, underpinned some of the Sisters’ day to day activities.

The culmination of their efforts occurred in December 1969 with the union of the Geraldton and Perth congregations forming the Congregation of Presentation Sisters WA (Inc).

Following the union, the Sisters extended their mission to various overseas locations, including Papua New Guinea, Thailand. In Western Australia, the Sisters continued to engage in diverse ministries such as education, governance, pastoral care, justice, leadership and prayer, always seeking to assist those made poor and those kept poor.

Today, the Sisters persist in their dedication to serving the marginalised and in their deep commitment to faith, spirituality, justice, education and the preservation of human dignity for all. Underlying all the Sisters’ works and prayers throughout the years, is the central place of Jesus Christ, and the call of the Gospel, in their lives.  

Contact Information

Congregation Leader: Anna Fewer pbvm
Email: admin@preswa.com.au
Phone: +61 8 9384 5433
Office: Presentation Sisters Centre 36 Palmerston St Mosman Park
Postal Address: PO Box 12 Mosman Park WA 6912