St Margaret Mary’s College is Townsville’s largest Catholic girls’ secondary school for Years 7 to 12 and continues the Good Samaritan tradition of educating and inspiring students to become empowered young women in society.
In 1936, the first Sisters of the Good Samaritan arrived in Townsville to administer the Saint Margaret Mary’s primary school. Bishop McGuire had purchased the estate in Hyde Park known as ‘Woodlands’ from the Cummins family and this home was used as the convent, which the sisters named Saint Philomena’s.
Owing to the growing Catholic population of Hermit Park and Mundingburra, the parish priest of St Margaret Mary’s Parish, Monsignor Vandeleur, started to organise the establishment of a girls’ secondary college with help from Mother James (principal of SMM Primary). The new facilities would accommodate 200 students.
Two teachers were appointed: Sr Mary de Lourdes, Principal, and Sr Mary Mechtilde (both Good Samaritan sisters) and the college colours chosen were sky blue, white and gold and the college crest was created which students still wear with pride.
On 22 February 1963, St Margaret Mary’s College was officially opened by Bishop Ryan. Fifty young girls were enrolled in the first year. On the first day of school, Sr Mary de Lourdes spoke: “You are the first girls of St Margaret Mary’s College. This is your chance to found a great tradition and a noble spirit which will be passed on from class to class as the years go by.”
Fifty years later and the Maggies’ spirit certainly is evident in daily life at the college. From the Interhouse Swimming, Athletics and Cross Country carnivals and many sporting teams to the confidence of the debaters and public speakers and the talent of the musicians, dancers and artists, that spirit shines.
Mrs Kathy Park, Principal, believes that the College is a thriving learning organisation, “where girls flourish”. Mrs Park states “Our community is blessed by the strong relationships formed between staff, parents and students.”
Fundamental to the success of the College is the Good Samaritan tradition and commitment to the Catholic faith. True to the Mission Statement, students are educated, inspired and inspirited and exit the College with the confidence and determination to make a difference in the world.
Curriculum changes over the decades have been embraced with enthusiasm and the 21st Century education that is provided now at St Margaret Mary’s College equips students for a future that looks very different to the past and present. The teachers respond to the learning needs of each student and the care provided is exceptional.
In the last few years, St Margaret Mary's College has seen a number of major projects which have transformed the well-known landscape of the school.
This year, the College celebrated the official opening of a $4.957 million building project which has provided large flexible learning spaces for an array of use, from visual art exhibits to modern dance displays.
The latest works have piqued the interest of students and teachers in the science lab, the art rooms and the hospitality centre. The redevelopment works are part of a multi-million dollar masterplan project to ensure learning spaces are technology rich, allowing for innovation and teaching excellence.
The new buildings have allowed for upgrades to the College’s student support services, important in a school which focuses on its students’ individual successes. The newly-opened Student Wellbeing Centre includes the full suite of offices for Pastoral, Guidance and Career Counselling, as well as the Health and First Aid facility.
More construction works will be finalised in early 2016, and staff and students are looking forward to a new Performing Arts studio, including stage, change rooms and a state-of-the-art facility for teaching Dance and Theatre Arts.