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Damascus College Ballarat

Coordinates: 37°36′42″S 143°52′7″E / 37.61167°S 143.86861°E / -37.61167; 143.86861
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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; 143.86861
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 Kevin Maloney[1]
School number265[2]
PrincipalSteven Mifsud[1]
Teaching staff86[3]
Years offered7–12
Colour(s)Gold, navy blue and maroon
VCE average28
AffiliationBallarat Associated Schools

Damascus College is Ballarat’s only Catholic co-educational secondary college. It was established in 1995 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]


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.[4]


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.[5]

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 VCE Vocational Major to Year 10, 11 and 12 students.[5]

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[6]
  • Edmund Rice Camps – students are trained to become camp leaders for disadvantaged children and families[6]
  • Seeds of Justice – a Mercy Schools Project which allows students to deepen their awareness of justice[6]
  • Mercy Works – projects supporting local and overseas relief and development activities
  • Justice Action Group (JAG) – social justice group[6]
  • Christian Personal Development Award (CPDA)[6]

Sustainable Racing Team (SRT)[edit]

Since 1998 Damascus College students have designed, built and tested Human Powered Vehicles (HPVs).[7] The team trains and competes annually in the Energy Breakthrough challenge in Maryborough.[8] 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.[7] SRT 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.[7][9] Additionally, the team competes in the Victorian HPV Grand Prix Series and Australian HPV Super Series.

The college won the World Future Cycle Challenge in 2005 and 2007, a 1200 km journey from Ceduna to Adelaide.[10][11]

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.[12]

In 2009, SRT rode a 3775 km journey by solar vehicle from Darwin to the steps of the Victorian State Parliament from 23 November - 9 December, 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.[10]

Formerly known as Energy Breakthrough Team (EBT), in 2019 it was renamed to Sustainable Racing Team (SRT).

In May 2024, SRT rode 1085km from Broken Hill to Ballarat to raise money for the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.


Students can join the senior or junior Drama Club, can participate in the annual production and the biannual Easter production the Final Hours.[13]

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[14] 2016 Grease[15]
2017 The Crucible[16] 2018 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat[17]
2019 Around the World in 80 Days[18] 2020 Oliver! (cancelled)
2021 The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee[19] 2022 Clue
2023 The Addams Family (musical) 2024 The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time


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

Campus wings[edit]

Damascus College is divided into several school wings[9]

  • 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
  • Damascus Events Centre – a multipurpose building primarily for hosting events and exams


  •   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)[23] – 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[24]


Period Name
1995–2004 John Shannon
2005–2010 Tony Duggan
2011–2022 Matthew Byrne
2022–present Steven Mifsud

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. ^ a b "About Us - Leadership & Governance".
  2. ^ "State Register - Provider details".
  3. ^ a b "Home - My School".[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b "Learning and Teaching - Curriculum Overview". Archived from the original on 20 January 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Social Justice in Action - Mercy & Justice". Archived from the original on 16 January 2021.
  7. ^ a b c MATT COUGHLAN (20 November 2013). "Damascus College students ready for RACV Energy Breakthrough challenge". The Courier.
  8. ^ "Extracurricular Activities - Sustainable Racing Team". Archived from the original on 23 February 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ a b Place In The Sun
  11. ^ Fairfax Regional Media (22 August 2007). "Damascus students looking to future cycling glory". The Courier.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 March 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Performing Arts". Archived from the original on 10 June 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "News and Events - Grease". Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  16. ^ "News and Events - The Crucible". Archived from the original on 27 June 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  17. ^ "2018 Annual Report" (PDF).
  18. ^ "2019 Annual Report" (PDF).
  19. ^ "News & Events - The Spelling Bee".
  20. ^ "Sports".
  21. ^ "Past Results". bas.vic.edu.au. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  22. ^ a b "Extracurricular Activities - Clubs". Archived from the original on 23 February 2021.
  23. ^ "News - Name Change to St. Martin House". Archived from the original on 4 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Paedophile Enabler: Bishop James O'Collins". Archived from the original on 24 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Autumn 2016". The Road. Mt Clear, Victoria, Australia: Damascus College. 2016.
  26. ^ "Mick Malthouse a battler from Ballarat with a steely determination to succeed". www.heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.damascus.vic.edu.au/_literature_135358/2010_The_Road_Autumn Archived 20 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Damascus College, The Road, Autumn 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2015
  28. ^ a b c d e http://www.damascus.vic.edu.au/_literature_135357/2010_The_Road_Summer Archived 20 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Damascus College, The Road, Summer 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2013
  29. ^ "Autumn 2019". The Road. 54: Damascus College Ballarat. 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  30. ^ "Positive Is The Way For Shayne - Upstart". upstart. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013.
  31. ^ Damascus College, The Road, April 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2015
  32. ^ http://www.unisport.com.au/HighPerformance/WUC/Pages/AislinnPrendergast.aspx[permanent dead link]. Retrieved 30 June 2015
  33. ^ "Kuchi Kopi". triple j Unearthed.
  34. ^ Australia, Athletics. "Samuel Rizzo". www.athletics.com.au. Retrieved 22 May 2024.

External links[edit]