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Mercedes College, Perth

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Mercedes College
Perth, WA
Coordinates 31°57′22″S 115°51′59″E / 31.95611°S 115.86639°E / -31.95611; 115.86639Coordinates: 31°57′22″S 115°51′59″E / 31.95611°S 115.86639°E / -31.95611; 115.86639
Type Private, Single-sex
Motto Latin: Laudate Dominum
(praise the Lord)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Established 1846
Sister school Trinity College, Perth
Principal Kerrie Fraser
Staff 138
Enrolment ~1000
Colour(s) Green, Red, White
St Joseph's Primary School, circa 1895
The opening of the Ladies' College in 1896
Mercedes College today from Victoria Square

Mercedes College is a private, all girls' high school located in the CBD of Perth, Western Australia.

The school was founded in 1846 by the Sisters of Mercy, thus making it the oldest independent Catholic girls' school in Australia, and the oldest existing secondary school in Perth.[1] There are currently 800 students attending the college and the current principal is Sheena Barber.

The name Mercedes comes from the Spanish word for mercy.


The school has its beginnings in the landing at the Swan River Colony of Irish Sisters of Mercy.[1] Led by Sister Ursula Frayne, they founded the first Catholic school in the colony on 2 February 1846[2] beginning their teaching with just one pupil.[1] Classes were conducted in a rented St Georges Terrace cottage, near Victoria Avenue. By the end of the first day's teaching, the numbers had swelled to six students. Enrolment grew to 100 by the end of 1846, by which time the school had moved to permanent accommodation at Victoria Square.[2]

The first Mercy Convent in Australia was constructed in 1847 on the Victoria Square site, and remains in use today, known as "Holy Cross Convent".[2]

Two separate schools were run from the Victoria Square site. The original was known as St Joseph's School, and was a free, co-educational school. The other school run from the site was Ladies' College, opened in 1896, which did charge for tuition. It was later renamed "Our Lady's College". The two schools amalgamated in 1967 to form Mercedes College.[1] The last of the school's boarding students left in 1981.

Over the years, the number of Sisters of Mercy at the site has dwindled, with the last Mercy Sister Principal of Mercedes, Sister Assisium Wright, retiring in 1996.[3]

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Wilson-Clark, Charlie (2001-07-06). "Oldest School Shows Mercy". The West Australian. p. 13. 
  2. ^ a b c "Our Heritage". Mercedes College. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  3. ^ McGuiness-Howard, Colleen (1997). "Retirement of Mercedes' principal sees the end of Mercy Sisters' era". Perth, Western Australia: The Record. p. 9. 


  • Cream, Sister Maureen (1999). Out of These Stones: The Mercedes Story: 'The School at the Square', 1846-1996. Perth: Mercedes College. OCLC 222556709. 

External links