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Innovation hub to inspire learning


The recent completion of the Tenison Centre innovation hub is reason for celebration at Mary MacKillop College.

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The double-storey $9.7 million development is dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education. It offers flexible collaboration spaces, dedicated science laboratories, art and design studios and integrated technology, all intended to inspire and engage students in authentic, rich and connected learning.

The impressive structure sits proudly at the entrance of the college and was named in honour of Father Julian Tenison Woods, an artist and scientist who worked closely alongside St Mary of the Cross MacKillop to provide education for poor and isolated families in the 1800s.

Large shells from Fr Woods’ personal collection were on display during the opening ceremony held on March 21. The shells are on permanent loan to the college and will remain in the Tenison Centre foyer.

“Fr Julian Tenison Woods left a collection of shells in the care of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, after his visits to the Great Barrier Reef at Cooktown in 1879 and 1880,” Sr Brigette Sipa rsj said at the ceremony.

“Right from Penola days, 1856 to 1866, Julian had studied reefs as part of his observations on the geological makeup of South Australia’s South East and other parts of Australia.

“The Sisters of St Joseph and the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, the two religious orders co-founded by Fr Julian Tenison Woods, hope that students of science and art here at Mary MacKillop College will be inspired to take up a study of Fr Woods’ work in these areas. We hope, too, that the permanent loan of these shells made by the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, will remind you of the part he has played in the history of our nation.”

Students at the opening also stepped up to voice their excitement.

“I’m new here at Mary MacKillop College…and I feel incredibly lucky to be part of this amazing school,” said Year 7 student Ester.

“Coming from primary school where we didn’t have fancy science laboratories or art studios, being here feels like stepping into a whole new world. The learning spaces in the Tenison Centre are unlike anything I’ve experienced before. They’re spacious, they’re modern, and they’re filled with endless possibilities.

“Being able to use this new building for both art and science feels like a privilege. It’s like having the keys to a treasure chest filled with knowledge and creativity. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to make the most of it.”

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