Page 3312 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 16 August 2011

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work by Tony at Arthritis ACT, as he has now left Arthritis ACT, and wish him well in his new position at OzHelp. OzHelp are an excellent organisation as well and I am sure I will be in touch with him in his work there. I congratulate Arthritis ACT on this wonderful event. It was extremely well attended and a wonderful day of entertainment in aid of providing funds to Arthritis ACT, which is an important organisation here in the ACT.

Presentation Sisters

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.13): This week marks the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the Presentation Sisters in Lismore and I thought that I would take this opportunity, as a daughter of the Presentation Sisters and one of their educational progeny, to pay tribute to the work that they have done in Lismore and the surrounding towns in that time.

Lismore is one of six congregations of the Presentation Sisters, which was founded in the mid-18th century at the height of the penal laws in Ireland in response to the lack of education provided to, especially, the poor in Ireland. In the mid-1880s, the Presentation Sisters, who had grown from their very small formation by Nano Nagle into a substantial group, started essentially missionary work in Australia and at various times went to Tasmania, Wagga, Queensland, Western Australia, Sydney and Lismore.

The Presentation Sisters, under the leadership of Mother Stanislaus, with two other nuns and five novices, arrived in Lismore in 1886, in August. They immediately commenced the operation of two schools: St Mary’s college, a high school which became partly a boarding school; and St Carthage’s primary school. At the time, Lismore was not a diocese. The local parish priest was Father Jeremiah Doyle; he was the one who had sought to bring them here and he eventually became the first Bishop of Lismore a couple of years later.

I want to pay tribute to the great work of the Presentation Sisters over those 125 years in the building of education—principally, but not solely, education for women. The school that I attended, just by example, from the year that I attended, turned out doctors, businesswomen, horticulturalists, physiotherapists, bankers, teachers, nurses, logisticians and politicians—many, but not all of them, mothers as well. There are many other professions as well—a huge range of public servants. The worth of the Presentation Sisters’ contribution to education in Lismore and the contribution of the religious sisters’ education to Australia in general should not be underestimated. It was marked with the canonisation of Mary MacKillop of the Cross last year and the founding of her order here in Australia, but there are many other orders that have made a significant contribution.

On the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the Presentation Sisters in Lismore, I say thank you to a range of sisters, some who are still with us and some who are not: Sister Carthage was the principal of my school when I started, when it cost four shillings a week to attend the school, so I started pre decimal currency; Sister Jude, Sister Assumption and Sister Charles, who were amongst those who saw me through my primary years; Sister Chanel, who ran St Mary’s college for many years;

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