Damascus College Ballarat

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Damascus College
1412 Geelong Road, Mount Clear

, ,

Coordinates37°36′42″S 143°52′7″E / 37.61167°S 143.86861°E / -37.61167; 143.86861Coordinates: 37°36′42″S 143°52′7″E / 37.61167°S 143.86861°E / -37.61167; 143.86861
TypeIndependent, co-educational, day school
MottoLatin: Luce Christi Vivere
(To live by the light of Christ)
DenominationRoman Catholic, Sisters of Mercy
Established1881 (Sacred Heart)
1948 (St Paul's)
1968 (St Martin's in the Pines)
1995 (Amalgamation)
School boardBerenice Kerr RSM and Adrian McInerney[1]
School number265[2]
PrincipalMatthew Byrne[3]
Teaching staff86[4]
Years offered7 - 12
Enrolmentapprox. 1,000
Colour(s)Gold, navy blue and maroon
VCE average28

Damascus College is Ballarat’s only Catholic co-educational secondary college. It was established after three separate Catholic colleges, St Martin's in the Pines, Sacred Heart College and St Paul's College amalgamated. The college is located on a treed 20 hectare campus in Mount Clear, 7 km from Ballarat's central business district. Damascus College is a day school for secondary students in years 7 to 12.


Sacred Heart College[edit]

In 1881, the Sisters of Mercy established Sacred Heart College in Ballarat East for students from Preparatory to Year 12. The primary students were later moved to St Francis Xavier College in 1906.

St Paul's Technical College[edit]

Ludbrook House, formerly the site of St Paul's

When the Bishop of Ballarat, James O'Collins established St Paul's Technical College in 1948, he invited the Christian Brothers to continue their work for boys through the provision of technical education.

In 1987 the school moved from Lydiard St to the former Ballarat Orphanage on Victoria Street.

St Martin's in the Pines[edit]

Alice Fanning, who had been looked after by the Sisters of Mercy for several years, bequeathed the Mt Clear property to the Sisters of Mercy on her death in February 1960. The land was used by the Sisters to grow vegetables and raise cattle, and following the decision in 1964 to develop the site for the senior school of Sacred Heart College, the foundation stone was laid in 1966.

In 1967, the separate campus for Year 11 and 12 girls was developed at Mt Clear to form St Martin's in the Pines. In 1988, this campus became co-educational, with boys mainly from St Paul's Technical College.


In 1995 Sacred Heart College, St Martin's in the Pines and St Paul's Technical College amalgamated to form Ballarat's only co-educational Catholic secondary school. Year 7 to 9 students were located in Victoria St at the former St Paul's site and Year 10 to 12 students were located in Mt Clear at the former site of St Martin's in the Pines. In 2011 all students were relocated to Mt Clear. Damascus College is jointly sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy and the parish priests of Ballarat, Ballarat East, Ballarat North, Bungaree, Cressy, Creswick, Daylesford, Gordon, Linton, Redan, Sebastopol, and Wendouree.

In 2016 the college was named the Sustainability Victoria Biodiversity Secondary School of the Year.[5]


The college's curriculum is informed by a number of key documents including the College Vision and Mission Statement, Teaching and Learning Policy, the Australian Curriculum, the Victorian Essential Learning Standards, VCAA and the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority.[6]

Students have the opportunity to learn French or Indonesian from Year 7 to 12. Physical Education and Health are taken from years 7 to 10, while Religious Education is taken for all years. Damascus College offers VCE, VET and VCAL to Year 10, 11 and 12 students.[7]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Mercy and Justice[edit]

  • Timor-Leste Immersion Program - students are given the opportunity to raise funds for Timor-Leste and visit the college's sister school Santa Maria in Ainaro[8]
  • Edmund Rice Camps - students are trained to become camp leaders for disadvantaged children and families[9]
  • Seeds of Justice - a Mercy Schools Project which allows students to deepen their awareness of justice[9]
  • Mercy Works - projects supporting local and overseas relief and development activities[9]
  • Justice Action Group (JAG) and Making A Difference (MAD) - senior and junior social justice groups[9]
  • Christian Personal Development Award (CPDA)

Energy Breakthrough Team (EBT)[edit]

Since 1998 Damascus College students have designed, built and tested Human Powered Vehicles (HPVs).[10] The team trains and competes annually in the RACV Energy Breakthrough challenge in Maryborough.[11] The competition involves a 24-hour non-stop endurance race where teams gain points for the most laps travelled as well as their demonstrated knowledge of the vehicle and the technology used to make the vehicle.[10] EBT is offered as a after-school extra-curricular activity that requires students to build the vehicles in an effort to engage them in energy efficient technologies that may make up the future of transport and manufacturing.[10][12]

The college won the World Future Cycle Challenge in 2005 and 2007, a 1200 km journey from Ceduna to Adelaide.[13][14]

In March 2008 Damascus College rode 1009 km in under 24 hours from Sydney to Ballarat to raise awareness of solutions to greenhouse emissions and to raise funds for sustainable energy and food programs.[15]

In 2009, EBT rode a 3775 km journey by solar vehicle from Darwin to the steps of the Victorian State Parliament from 23 November - December 9, just as the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen opened. Their Outback Rode RAGE (Ride Against Greenhouse Emissions) campaign aimed to raise awareness about climate change and how individuals can reduce their environmental footprints. Seven students took turns on the hi-tech vehicle. The vehicle was 30 per cent powered by solar electricity and 70 per cent by pedalling and hit a top of 115 km/h.[13]

In 2019 it was renamed Sustainable Racing Team, or commonly abbreviated to SRT.


Students can join the senior or junior Drama Club, can participate in the annual production and the biannual Easter production the Final Hours.[16]

Year Production Year Production
1995 Children of Dust 1999 Animal Farm
2001 Sunrise Sunset 2002 Little Shop Of Horrors
2003 Foreigners From Home & Henry 2004 Fame
2005 Small Poppies 2006 Seussical
2007 Così 2008 The Wiz
2009 A Midsummer Night's Dream 2010 Footloose
2011 Beach 2012 Annie
2013 The Diary of Anne Frank 2014 Superman
2015 The 39 Steps[17] 2016 Grease[18]
2017 The Crucible[19]


Each year school swimming, athletics and ball sports carnivals are held for all students to participate in. Damascus College is a member of the Ballarat Associated Schools through which students can choose to represent the school in:

  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cricket
  • Croquet
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Lawn Bowls
  • Netball
  • Racquetball
  • Rowing
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball[20]

BAS premierships[edit]

Damascus has won the following BAS premierships.[21] Premierships won prior to 1995 were done so by the pre-amalgamation schools.


  • Athletics - 1995
  • Badminton (2) - 2006, 2007
  • Lawn Bowls - 1997


  • Badminton (4) - 2006, 2008, 2009, 2019
  • Cross Country - 1990
  • Soccer - 2003


  • Athletics (6) - 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1995
  • Badminton - 2017
  • Basketball (10) - 1965, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1982, 1997, 1999, 2000
  • Football (2) - 1999, 2000
  • Hockey - 1976
  • Netball (7) - 1961, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1972, 1991, 1992
  • Soccer (3) - 1999, 2000, 2003
  • Softball (2) - 1965, 2008
  • Volleyball (2) - 1989, 1992


  • Debating
  • SRC (Student Representative Council)
  • French and Indonesian language trips
  • Ski trips
  • Youth-Tutoring-Youth program
  • Green Group
  • Book Club[22]

Campus Wings[edit]

Damascus College is divided into several school wings[12]

  • Bishop Connors Wing - Year 9 and 10 classrooms named for former Bishop of Ballarat Peter Connors
  • Catherine McAuley Wing - Year 7 and 8 classrooms named for Sister Catherine McAuley
  • Genevieve McDonald Wing - Science classrooms named for Sister Genevieve McDonald
  • John Shannon Centre - gymnasium named in honour of first Damascus principal, John Shannon
  • Mercy Wing - administration and visitor reception named in honour of the Sisters of Mercy
  • Our Lady of Mercy Chapel
  • St Martin's Resource Centre - Library, named for St Martin's in the Pines
  • St Paul's Arts and Technology Wing - art, metal and woodwork rooms named for St Paul's Technical College
  • Valda Ward Auditorium - Drama auditorium and rooms named after Sister Valda Ward


  •   McAuley - Venerable Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy, who had their formal beginnings in Ireland in 1831. In response to the needs of the time, Catherine McAuley established an institution for the care and education of less advantaged girls and young women. The congregation has continued to act in response to contemporary needs in society.
  •   Rice - Brother Edmund Ignatius Rice founded the Christian Brothers in Ireland in 1802 to educate the sons of poor and oppressed Catholic families. The brothers provided education by which these boys gained some control of their lives.
  •   Xavier - Mother Xavier Flood was one of the founding sisters of the Convent of Mercy, Ballarat East and the first principal of Sacred Heart College.
  •   St Martin - Saint Martin de Porres (formerly O'Collins House) - Saint Martin de Porres was a Peruvian lay brother who was canonized in 1962, he is most remembered for his work on behalf of the poor. The house name was changed to St Martin after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that Bishop James O'Collins received complaints about Gerald Ridsdale but did nothing to act on them


Period Name
1995–2004 John Shannon
2005–2010 Tony Duggan
2011– Matthew Byrne

Notable alumni[edit]

Sacred Heart College[edit]

St Paul's Technical College[edit]

St Martin's In the Pines[edit]

Damascus College[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Us - Governance".
  2. ^ "State Register - Provider details".
  3. ^ "Resources Hub - Key Personnel".
  4. ^ a b "Home - My School".[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Henderson, Fiona (16 November 2016). "Damascus College is Sustainability Victoria's Biodiversity Secondary School of the Year". The Courier. Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Life @ Damascus - Curriculum Overview".
  7. ^ "Life @ Damascus - Learning and Teaching".
  8. ^ "Life @ Damascus - Timor-Leste Immersion Program".
  9. ^ a b c d "Life @ Damascus - Mercy and Justice".
  10. ^ a b c MATT COUGHLAN (20 November 2013). "Damascus College students ready for RACV Energy Breakthrough challenge". The Courier.
  11. ^ "Life @ Damascus - Energy Breakthrough Team".
  12. ^ a b http://www.damascus.vic.edu.au/literatureretrieve.aspx?id=172682
  13. ^ a b http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/special-features/place-in-the-sun/story-e6frf7nf-1225799664955
  14. ^ Fairfax Regional Media (22 August 2007). "Damascus students looking to future cycling glory". The Courier.
  15. ^ http://www.damascus.vic.edu.au/_literature_135354/2008_The_Road_Winter
  16. ^ "Performing Arts".
  17. ^ http://www.damascus.vic.edu.au/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=191567
  18. ^ "News and Events - Grease". Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  19. ^ "News and Events - The Crucible". Archived from the original on 27 June 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  20. ^ "Sports".
  21. ^ "Past Results". bas.vic.edu.au. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  22. ^ "Life @ Damascus - Enrichment Opportunities".
  23. ^ "Autumn 2016". The Road. Mt Clear, Victoria, Australia: Damascus College. 2016.
  24. ^ http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/afl/mick-malthouse-a-battler-from-ballarat-with-a-steely-determination-to-succeed/story-fnp04d70-1227325099466. Retrieved 30 June 2015
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h [1] Damascus College, The Road, Autumn 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2015
  26. ^ a b c d e [2] Damascus College, The Road, Summer 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2013
  27. ^ "Autumn 2019". The Road. 54: Damascus College Ballarat. 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019.CS1 maint: location (link)
  28. ^ "Positive Is The Way For Shayne - Upstart". upstart. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013.
  29. ^ Damascus College, The Road, April 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2015
  30. ^ http://www.unisport.com.au/HighPerformance/WUC/Pages/AislinnPrendergast.aspx[permanent dead link]. Retrieved 30 June 2015
  31. ^ "Kuchi Kopi". triple j Unearthed.

External links[edit]