Penola, South Australia
Penola town centre
|Population||1,317 (2006 Census)|
|Elevation||65 m (213 ft)|
|Location||388 km (241 mi) southeast of Adelaide|
|LGA(s)||Wattle Range Council|
Penola is a town 388 km southeast of Adelaide in the heart of one of South Australia's most productive wine growing areas. Coonawarra lies just to the north and is renowned for the quality of its red wines. At the 2006 census, Penola had a population of 1,317.
It is known as the central location in the life of Mary MacKillop (St Mary of the Cross), the first Australian to gain Roman Catholic sainthood, who alongside with Julian Tenison Woods in 1866 established the first free Catholic school using the Woods/MacKillop Catholic education system in Australia, St. Joseph's School. Woods and MacKillop also established in Penola 'her' order of nuns, the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart. The order, otherwise known as the 'Josephites' or 'Brown Joeys' continue to work with the poor and needy communities throughout the world today.
The first Europeans to the area were the Austin brothers who arrived in 1840 and established a run of 109 square miles (282 km²). The first settlers were Scottish-born Alexander Cameron and his wife Margaret in January 1844 after obtaining an occupation licence. In April 1850 Cameron obtained 80 acres (0.3 km²) of freehold land, his station was on a pastoral lease, and established the private town of Panoola, later known as Penola.
John Riddoch purchased Yallum in 1861. Riddoch grew up in poverty in the highlands of Scotland and in 1851 emigrated to try his luck on the Victorian goldfields. Within a few years he was a successful shopkeeper and wine merchant on the Geelong goldfields. He acquired 35,000 acres (142 km²) on which he ran 50,000 head of sheep.
It was Riddoch who planted the first grape vines and helped to diversify the pastoral economy of the area with an agricultural industry. In 1890 he established the Penola Fruit Growing Colony which was renamed Coonawarra in 1897.
In 2010, a tornado ripped through the township destroying at least four buildings and damaging many more.
The Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre is located in Penola. It is within close proximity to the two State Heritage sites of Petticoat Lane and the original stone schoolhouse developed by Mary MacKillop in conjunction with Father Julian Tenison Woods in the 1800s.
Penola is also the name of a high school in Melbourne, named after the South Australian town due to its link to its patron saint Mary MacKillop.
Notable people 
Penola has been home to some notable and interesting people. Among them Saint Mary MacKillop, poets John Shaw Neilson and Adam Lindsay Gordon, Father J.T. Woods, William Henry Ogilvie, Sara Douglass, Michael Graham and John Riddoch.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Penola (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
- "MacKillop to become Australia's first saint". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 December 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
- "Sisters of St Joseph - Queensland Province - History". n.d. Retrieved 20 December 2009.[dead link]
- "Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart - South Australian Province - History". n.d. Retrieved 20 December 2009.[dead link]
- Foale, M. T. (2006). "Background to the Foundation of the Sisters of St Joseph & the Establishment of the Woods/MacKillop System of Catholic Education". Retrieved 20 December 2009.
- "Mary MacKillop's Story". n.d. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
- "Sisters of St Joseph - About Us". n.d. Retrieved 20 December 2009.[dead link]
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Retrieved 2008-04-11.
- Full Points Footy. "Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara". Retrieved 2008-07-25.
- "Perennial Pastures on Old Penola Estate.". Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 9 December 1954. p. 23. Retrieved 8 January 2013.