All Hallows' School

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All Hallows' School
All Hallows logo.jpg
547 Ann Street
Brisbane, Queensland, 4000
Coordinates 27°27′38″S 153°2′1″E / 27.46056°S 153.03361°E / -27.46056; 153.03361Coordinates: 27°27′38″S 153°2′1″E / 27.46056°S 153.03361°E / -27.46056; 153.03361
Type Private, Single-sex, Day school
Motto French: Dieu et Devoir
(God and Duty)
Denomination Roman Catholic, Sisters of Mercy
Established 1861
Principal Catherine O'Kane
Employees ~93 (full-time)[1]
Enrolment ~1,550[1] (2016)
Colour(s) Light blue, white and rust

All Hallows' School is a Catholic day school for girls, located in Fortitude Valley, close to the central business district of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Founded in 1861, the school follows in the tradition of the Irish Sisters of Mercy, and caters for over 1,550 girls from Years five to 12.[1] The school was the first permanent home of the Sisters of Mercy in Queensland, and is the oldest surviving secondary school in Brisbane.[2]

All Hallows' is a member of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[3] the Alliance of Girls' Schools Australia,[4] the Australasian Mercy Secondary Schools Association,[5] and the Catholic Secondary Schoolgirls' Sports Association.[6]

The school's motto is in French, Dieu et Devoir (English: "God and Duty"). This motto was formulated in 1911, 50 years after the school opened. The French language was chosen for the motto on the basis of the strong French influence in the school's early years.[7]

Many of the All Hallows' School Buildings have been listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.[2]


19th century[edit]

Bishop James Quinn, c. 1860

The story of the foundation of All Hallows' School must be set against the rudimentary "pioneer" education system and bitter sectarian disputes in Queensland education during the 1850s and early 1860s. According to Johnston,[8] until 1860 "secondary education tended to receive a fairly low priority in state thinking – which was not surprising since the provision of a primary level was so difficult, to difficult to manage". He continues: "There were no state initiatives to provide its own system until 1912. Secondary education, seen as a perquisite of middle-class life, suitable for the children of business and professional men and established pastoralists, was allowed to be offered by private and church bodies."[8]

Queensland historian Ross Fitzgerald points out that until well into the twentieth century "the majority of (Queensland Catholics) ... belonged to lower socio-economic groups".[9]

First Catholic secondary school in Queensland[edit]

Mother Vincent Whitty, founder of All Hallows' School

Contrary to the development of most schools, All Hallows' School, as the first Catholic secondary school in Queensland,[10] sought to serve those less fortunate in colonial society while operating under the same legislative framework as the more affluent grammar schools. Serving poorer, often Irish, Roman Catholic, immigrant women in the area of Fortitude Valley, the School did not raise the required subscription for government aid and, in a time of bitter sectarianism within Queensland, the school maintained fierce independence in curriculum from what was seen by many within the Catholic community as attempts by a hostile secular government at interference.

Relocation to Duncan's Hill[edit]

All Hallows' Main Building at Duncan Hill, c. 1889

In 1863, with pupils and Sisters growing in numbers, it was soon realised that a suitable place for a convent must be found. It was envisaged that a small House of Mercy would be established on the site of what would become All Hallows' School. 1 November 1863 saw the transfer of the party from a small structure adjacent to what is now Saint Stephen's Cathedral to 'Adderton House' overlooking the Brisbane River from high upon Duncan's Hill.

The Bishop has lately purchased the finest house and situation in Brisbane for a convent. The purchase money is 6,000 – where it is to come from I know not – but I trust God will send it. As soon as we get into it, we are to commence a House of Mercy ... The constant influx of Emigrants renders a House of Mercy desirable but it will not be a big one.[11]

Mother Vincent Whitty marvelled at the position of the new house in a way that many visitors to the school have done since 1863. Writing to Ireland with news of the move to Duncan's Hill she stated:

I wish I could give you an idea of the beauty of the situation of this house. The view of the river from the Balcony is lovely and in the distance the thick bush, is here and there cleared away, with the town at one side of the River, it certainly is very beautiful.[12]

Adderton House[edit]

Adderton House was constructed in 1858 by John Petrie for Dr. George Fullerton (Mahoney, 1985 p. 6).

St Ann's Industrial School[edit]

All Hallows' School 1861–1863 location within the building in the foreground of St Stephen's Cathedral, c. 1910
A 1914 image of St Ann's Industrial School (part of All Hallows' School). Road level of Ann Street, Brisbane, has been lowered on numerous occasions since 1861 and this has affected the proportions of the current gate.

St Ann's Industrial School was opened on 15 July 1894 by the Governor of Queensland Henry Wylie Norman. Its purpose was to provide a home and education to neglected or delinquent girls. It was designed by architect F. D. G. Stanley. In the 1940s it was partially converted to a boarding house for young women working in the Brisbane central business district or studying at the University of Queensland. In 1964 it was remodelled as classrooms for the All Hallows' School.[2]

House system[edit]

All Hallows' has a mixed age house structure. Every student and staff member belongs to one of the eight houses which are named after people or places within the history of the school. Each house is given a color.[13]

  • Adderton – green, named after Adderton House, the first building on the school grounds.
  • Coolock – blue, named after the house in Ireland where Catherine McAuley lived.
  • Gorry – gold, named after Queensland born Mercy Sister Jane Gorry.
  • Loretto – pink, named after long serving school principal Sister M. Loretto Flynn. Principal: 1916, 1933–1959.
  • McAuley – silver, named after the founder of the Mercy Sisters, Catherine McAuley.
  • Mercedes – orange, pronounced /mɛərˈsdɛs/ mair-SAY-dess as per the Spanish word for 'Mercy'.
  • Tighe – purple, named after the first enrolled student at AHS, Annie Tighe.
  • Whitty – red, named after the first principal of AHS, Mother Vincent Whitty.

Notable alumnae[edit]

Former students of All Hallows' are known as "Old Girls"; they may elect to join the Past Pupils' Association.[14]


Historic images of All Hallows' 1860–1942[edit]

Modern images of All Hallows'[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2016: Data from the 2016 school year" (PDF). All Hallows' School. 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "All Hallows Convent and School (entry 600200)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "AHISA Schools: Queensland". Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. April 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  4. ^ "Member Schools". Alliance of Girls' Schools Australia. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  5. ^ "All Hallows' School, Brisbane". Australasian Mercy Secondary Schools Association. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  6. ^ "Catholic Secondary Schoolgirls' Sports Association History". Fox Sports. 2014. Archived from the original on 22 March 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Symbols at All Hallows". All Hallows. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Johnston (1982), p. 104
  9. ^ Fitzgerald (1984), p. 12
  10. ^ "The All Hallows' Story". Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  11. ^ M. Vincent Whitty on 18 August 1863 in Mercy Women Making History, 2001, pp. 61–62
  12. ^ M. Vincent Whitty on 19 October 1863 in Mercy Women Making History, 2001, pp. 71–72
  13. ^ "AHS House System". Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  14. ^ "Past Pupil's Association". All Hallows' School. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  15. ^ Sheridan, Susan. (2011). Nine Lives: Postwar Women Writers Making Their Mark. University of Queensland Press. ISBN 9780702247415.
  16. ^ Perkin, Corrie. (28 February 2009). "Member at the seat of the fire". The Australian. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  17. ^ "Member Biography". Legislative Assembly of Queensland. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Twins rasied(sic) on a menu of faith" by Selina Venier, The Catholic Leader, 12 December 2010
  19. ^ "Chris Beck talks to Ellen Fanning", The Age, Green Guide, 9 November 2006.
  20. ^ Mahlouzarides, Molly; Miller, Danielle (22 December 2011). "Diane Fingleton". University of Queensland. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "Teresa Gambaro". Liberal Party of Australia. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  22. ^ McKay, Belinda (2004) "'A lovely land ... by shadows dark untainted'?: whiteness and early Queensland women's writing" in Moreton-Robinson, Aileen (ed) Whitening Race: Essays in Social And Cultural Criticism. Aboriginal Studies Press. ISBN 9780855754655. p154.
  23. ^ "Houston has the rowing world at her feet". (5 November 2002). The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Australia. p35.
  24. ^ Melissa Field (8 October 2009). Miranda's Kerr-Ching! factor. The Daily Telegraph. Accessed 4 April 2012.
  25. ^ Crouchley, Betty (1986). "Mayne, Mary Emelia (1858–1940)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  26. ^ Fraser, Andrew (27 February 2007). "Hard start unites McKew and Rudd". The Australian. Retrieved 1 March 2007. 
  27. ^ de Silva, Margaret. (2011). "Person of the Year 2011 – Candidate #6: Sarina Russo", bmag. Retrieved 16 January 2013. Archived 28 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ Moran, Jonathan (19 September 2013). "Unknown brother-and-sister Aussie musos Conrad and Grace Sewell on a path to fame and fortune". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 September 2015. 
  29. ^ Robson, Frank. (7 August 1999). "Cyclone Tracey". The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia. p27.
  30. ^ "Swimming", All Hallows School. Retrieved 16 January 2013.


  • Fitzgerald, R. (1984) A History of Queensland: 1915 to the Early 1980s, Brisbane: UQP.
  • Johnston, W. Ross (1982) The Call of the Land: A History of Queensland to the Present Day, Brisbane: Jacaranda.
  • Mahoney, J-M (1985) Dieu et Devoir: The Story of All Hallows' School Brisbane, 1861–1981. Brisbane: Boolarong Publications
  • Mercy Women Making History: From the Pen of Mother Vincent Whitty (2001) Brisbane: Corporation of the Trustees of the Order of the Sisters of Mercy in Queensland.
  • State Library of Queensland, Picture Queensland: All Hallows' School
  • Women Making History: A Heritage Exhibition Celebrating the First 40 Years of the Sisters of Mercy in Queensland 1861–1901 (2000), Brisbane: Sisters of Mercy – Brisbane Congregation.

External links[edit]