The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart arrived in Adelaide on February 11 1947, providing a half-way house for Sisters taking the long train journey between Sydney and Alice Springs, Darwin and the missions in the Pacific.
When they commenced secondary teaching at Enfield on February 18 1951, they were already teaching primary students at Holy Family school on the same site, as well as at Immaculate Heart of Mary Primary School at Brompton and St Brigid’s, Kilburn.
Sister Agnes Davey (Augustine) and Sister Patricia Lacey (Nicholas) were the first teachers of the six students enrolled in Year 8.
Demand soon grew and in 1952 three new prefabricated classrooms were built to accommodate the large numbers of students (boys and girls), primary and secondary, who had unexpectedly turned up that year. The opening of St Gabriel’s School at Clearview in 1955 marked the end of boys attending OLSH and Holy Family Primary.
In 1965 Holy Family was closed and primary students moved to St Martin’s Primary School which was established by the Sisters at Greenacres.
In 1966-1967 a massive fundraising drive supported the building of a new convent and college which were opened and blessed by Archbishop Beovich on June 18 1967. There were 127 students that year.
Further additions including a library, science and biology laboratories, art and sewing rooms were made possible by a Commonwealth grant in 1974 and a program of expansion and modernisation continued in the 80s and 90s.
In December 1994, the Sisters decided to withdraw from the college as they wished to give priority to new mission commitments in Australia, Japan and South Africa. In 1995 responsibility for the college was transferred to Catholic Education South Australia and Joy Bedford was appointed as the first non-congregational principal.
Maria Urbano was appointed as the second non-congregational principal in 2016.
Building commenced on a new senior campus in 2008 with approval given for a maximum enrolment of 620 students.
In 2011 OLSH College was invited by CESA to oversee St Joseph’s Education Centre which caters for young women who are either expecting a baby or who already have a child and want to complete their SACE.
The centre provides an on-site crèche for children under two years of age at no cost to the students to support them to progress with their learning to meet their long term goals.
A new language centre, dance studio, refurbished tennis and netball courts were all completed over the past 10 years.
In 2019 Year 7 students were welcomed to OLSH College as part of CESA’s commitment to move Year 7 to a secondary school environment.
Over time, the college’s student population has reflected the wave of migration with post-war European migrant children followed by South East Asian children from the 1970s to the most recent arrivals from the Middle East, Africa and India.
Mrs Urbano said the college’s cultural diversity promotes “inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone”.
The college launched an Instagram ‘Flashback Fridays’ campaign last month and is inviting alumni to share their stories, photos and memorabilia through social media.
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