February 10, 2021

All Hallows' School Celebrates its 160th Anniversary

Altar display

In Brisbane, a state of Australia that is 162 years old, celebrating the 160th anniversary of All Hallows' School is no small feat. Amid the uncertainty of COVID regulations we were blessed to be able to gather to celebrate the start of the year with our annual Inaugural Mass on Friday 29 January. This event was also the launch of our 160th  year celebrations which remind us of the incredible legacy of the Sisters of Mercy at our school.

On the 10th May 1861, Mother Vincent Whitty and her companions arrived in Brisbane at the invitation of Bishop Quinn and, by December of that year, All Hallows' School was born. At our Inaugural Mass we acknowledged the incredible work of the Sisters of Mercy in fashioning the educational landscape of our school and Queensland in general. We also honoured the many staff and students who, over the last 160 years, have written the story that continues in our current community.

The entrance procession featured 16 past pupils, representing each decade of the School's history. Each person carried a candle and she was accompanied by a current student with links to previous generations of All Hallows' girls. Leading the procession was Jan Rawson who is a direct descendent of Josephine Kennedy - the sister of foundation students, Minnie and Kate Kennedy (1863-1867). After months without congregational singing, the Mass was elevated through beautiful music including the song "Standing on the Shoulders" which was sung as images of the School's history were displayed.

The School Captains reflected on our 2021 School theme, Lead for Justice; Act with Mercy. They reminded us that Justice and Mercy go hand-in-hand and that justice was the core of the work done by Catherine McAuley and generations of Sisters of Mercy.

A particularly touching element of the celebration was the blessing and distribution of a gift to all staff and students of the School. The magnolia pin reminds us of a significant part of the All Hallows' School story. In 1875 Mother Vincent Whitty wrote: "Yesterday when in the reception room (of the convent building) what did I see, but a goat tearing and eating a lovely magnolia - if it survives the tearing it got it will be a wonderful plant". It is believed that the same tree to which Mother Vincent referred still stands on the property. It has become a symbol of resilience and of the longevity of the Mercy legacy.

Our Inaugural Mass, attended by over 2500 people, was a wonderful way to begin a year where we celebrate the contribution of the many people who have shaped the story of All Hallows' School.

Messages to: Claire Easton -Director of Mission

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