McAuley Catholic College

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McAuley Catholic College, Grafton
McAuley Catholic College logo.png
To Know Wisdom, McAuley Catholic College
Grafton, New South Wales, Australia
Type Private, Co-educational, Day school
Denomination Roman Catholic
Established 1990
Principal Leon Walsh
Chaplain Rev. Fr. Rex Hackett
Staff ~40
Enrolment ~600 (7–12)
Colour(s) Maroon and Navy         

McAuley Catholic College (MCC or McAuley) is a Roman Catholic, co-educational, secondary day school school situated on the Pacific Highway on the outskirts of Grafton in northern New South Wales, Australia.

The college is affiliated with the Australasian Mercy Secondary Schools Association (AMSSA).[1] The Principal Mr Leon Walsh has governed the College since 2009.


McAuley Catholic College was formed in 1990 with the amalgamation of three local Catholic schools – St Aloysius College, St Mary’s College and Holy Spirit College. The College’s ethos has been derived from the traditions of two Religious Orders: the Sisters of Mercy and the Marist Brothers. Since the late 1800s the Sisters of Mercy have been involved in Catholic Education in Grafton and continue to have a significant presence and mission in the local community. The College is named after Catherine McAuley founder of the Sisters of Mercy.


Period Details
1990 – 1995 John Mullins
1996 – 2001 James McDougall
2002 – 2008 Gerald Crooks
2009 – Present Leon Walsh


The original campus of the College was situated on the banks of the Clarence River in central Grafton. Early in 2004, the re-location of the College to its new campus at Clarenza on the outskirts of Grafton was commenced. The new campus was completed in 2006.

The College provides for a number of subject areas and has facilities for Technology and Applied Studies, Science, Performing and Visual Arts. There is a library and sporting facilities.


As a secondary school in New South Wales, the College teaches Year 7 to 12 students in accordance with the State Government's education curriculum, as determined by the Board of Studies. Year 10 students are prepared for the School Certificate, and at the end of Year 12, successful students are accredited with their Higher School Certificate (HSC).


The school provides opportunities for involvement in: sport (local and representative), debating, mock trial, retreats, liturgies, excursions, musicals, visits to other productions, swimming, athletics, cross-country, camps, academic competitions, eisteddfods, dance, public speaking, leadership training, gifted and talented camps, tournament of the minds, overseas cultural experience, newspaper production, visits to university open-days and HSC seminars.

House system[edit]

The House System at McAuley Catholic College is the structure under which all activities – religious, academic, pastoral, cultural, community, social, sporting – take place. On enrolment each student is allocated to one of four Houses – Tracey, McCarthy, Champagnat, Mercy. Seven homerooms operate within each House with each Homeroom group containing students from each Year group. The intention is for students to remain with their Homeroom group and Homeroom Teacher for each of their six years of secondary schooling. This allows for connectedness with a particular Homeroom Teacher and peer support/mentoring by older students within the Homeroom. The Homeroom Teacher is the teacher primarily responsible for the welfare of each student in his/her Homeroom. The House Leader is the senior teacher who is the Coordinator of the entire House. The House Leader together with the seven Homeroom Teachers comprise the Pastoral Team responsible for each student in the House.

Champagnat (Blue)

Marcellin Champagnat (1789–1840) was the founder of the Marist Brothers. He was ordained as a Priest in 1816 and worked in France in an isolated and culturally poor region. Marcellin strongly believed in the benefit of education for all levels of society. He dedicated his life to educating young men, intellectually and spiritually, so that they could work with children deprived of a Christian education.

McCarthy (Green)

Father Timothy McCarthy was the first Parish Priest in the region. He was appointed from 1854-1862 to the area encompassing the New England Plains, east to the Pacific Ocean and north to the Tweed River. Father McCarthy was based in Armidale and it took three months for him to travel around his District. Father McCarthy obtained land and collected money for the erection of a Church in South Grafton.

Mercy (Gold)

The Sisters of Mercy were founded by Catherine McAuley (1778–1841). Catherine McAuley was a woman of faith who embarked on a path of service to the poor in Ireland. In 1884 Mother Stanislaus and her companions arrived in Grafton. The Sisters of Mercy have been involved in Catholic education in Grafton ever since. The Sisters of Mercy today continue their endeavours in education and in the local community including helping the poor, needy, elderly and youth.

Tracey (Red)

In 1860, Archbishop Polding administered Confirmation for the first time in Grafton. The Archbishop urged the new families to realize how important it was that their children be raised and taught in a Christian way. This was the impetus that saw the first Catholic School opened in the area with Mr Edward Tracey the first teacher at the school. The school was situated in the original weatherboard Church in South Grafton.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New South Wales". Member Schools & Colleges. Australasian Mercy Secondary Schools Association. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 

External links[edit]