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Recovering the origins of convent education in Australia.

Convent 'high' schools and private ladies" colleges in nineteenth century Australia emerged from one distinctive educational tradition of European origin. Histories such as Marjorie Theobald's illuminating work, Knowing Women, suggest that this particular style of education could have originated from the end of the eighteenth century in England. (1) However it was well predated by the Catholic female teaching orders in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In nineteenth century Australia, convent 'high' schools predated non-Catholic denominational colleges and grammar schools for girls. (2) Ronald Fogarty, historian of Catholic education in Australia, concludes that for a span of over fifty years, embracing the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth, 'convent high schools constituted practically the only organised system of secondary education for girls that Australia possessed'. (3) These convent establishments have been stereotyped as 'accomplishment' schools and their curriculum trivialised. (4) Yet the educational objectives of nineteenth century convent 'high' schools in Australia reveal a Jesuit academic tradition, which had been adapted much earlier by European women educators for the intellectual development and education of girls. The three strands in the convent 'high' school syllabus in Australia comprised vocational, academic and accomplishment subjects. Students experienced this distinctive syllabus as a broad and rigorously taught curriculum.

Similarities in the syllabi of private and church schools for young women in nineteenth centure Australia denote a common European origin that merits close attention. One object of this article is to examine the defining influences on convent education in Australia up to 1920. A second object is to explore the extent to which women educators in the past took ready advantage of opportunities available to them. Moreover the article endeavours to ascertain what credence the academic and feminist tradition of European convent education has been given in historical narratives and the rhetoric of the Australian Church hierarchy.

Post Reformation women and the convent 'high' school initiative

Australian convent education evolved from Ursuline and Jesuit origins in Europe. The first carefully planned convent 'high' school for girls, for which there were few, if any, precedents, was pioneered during the Counter-Reformation era by Jeanne de Lestonnac in France. Within a short time, Ursuline communities in France readily adopted Jeanne's innovative model. Over the next two centuries, the 1652 Ursuline Reglements of Paris were the exemplar of religious life for women educators. Ursuline methods and pedagogy profoundly influenced the development of girls' education in Western Europe. Girls' 'high' schools in England in the late eighteenth century followed a similar programme to the French convent school, but were more utilitarian in approach, as Theobald's work suggests. (5)

In the early sixteenth century, the wider demand for higher levels of literacy among the general population of Europe was mainly due to the spread of printing and the Protestant Reformation. The Church's response to the need to reform gathered cohesion and direction from the Council of Trent (1545-63). Widespread disaffection with the Church impelled the Council to concentrate on the religious formation of girls. The Church naturally turned to women whose sphere of influence was obligated to the home and to the education of their children. The Council's resolution to improve the provision of girls' education created immediate opportunities for religious communities of women to enter the public sphere of teaching. These women readily responded to requests from reforming bishops to conduct elementary Schools of Christian Doctrine. In Brescia, Italy, Angela Merici's (1472-1540) charitable organisation, the Company of St Ursula, provided a complete programme of social and religious formation for girls within their home environment. (6) Initially, the Ursulines did not teach. Later, after Angela's death, they were drawn into staffing schools of Christian Doctrine at the request of Archbishop Charles Borromeo of Milan. Through this new apostolate the Ursulines became teachers, having developed programmes in literacy, numeracy, morality and Christian doctrine. (7) These women followed what few pedagogical theories were current at the time, adopting Jesuit ideas of grouping pupils into classes according to level of progress, rather than age or social position, as in the old monastic schools. (8) Beginning with their small schools, the Ursulines became the first female teaching order of the Catholic Church, spearheading a women's movement of significant proportions. (9)

Italian Ursulines were mobile and visible women, enjoying an uncommon dominance in the field of teaching. As their movement spread across the Alps into France, the question of an 'appropriate' life-style arose. The Church's mandatory rule of enclosure was applied to any female community wanting formal recognition as a religious order. This rule was symptomatic of social and church control over women. Whilst a degree of enclosure was practised by male religious orders, it was not a prerequisite for canonical approval as it was for women. The religious clausura or cloister reflected the medieval practice of women's enclosure within household domains, of which physical reminders were manor house walls and moats to protect the vulnerable against the exterior world, which was the domain of men. Eventually the Ursulines adopted enclosure as a pragmatic way to secure permanence for their communities, beginning in 1610 with Madame de SainteBeuve's congregation in Paris.

Madame de Sainte-Beuve, a wealthy widowed noblewoman, had established an Ursuline community on the rue St Jacques in Paris in 1610. She had entered monastic life to avoid the pressure to re-marry and this experience influenced her decision to establish an enclosed community of nuns who pronounced solemn vows. (10) The Parisian Ursulines were the first Ursulines to adopt enclosure, unlike the uncloistered Ursulines who continued to live in the local communities of southern France.

During the Counter-Reformation era, Jeanne de Lestonnac (1556-1640), a learned noblewoman of Bordeaux, took ready advantage of the unique educational opportunities made available to women at this time. Between them, Angela Merici and Jeanne de Lestonnac pioneered the formal provision of girls' schooling in Europe. In 1606, Jeanne developed a new educational institution for girls, which effectively offered the same style of education experienced by boys in the Jesuit school in Bordeaux. By modifying old cloistral restrictions Jeanne was able to introduce a free day school alongside a boarding school, for which fees applied. This appears to be the first carefully planned convent school for the further education of girls. It was entirely administered and managed by women. (11) Until this time, only the daughters of the elite, whose brothers received home tuition, could indirectly benefit from higher education in any time left over once the boys' lessons had ended, or they could be placed in monastic cloister to profit from what training the nuns could give them. Girls' education in all cases, even for the privileged, remained informal, unorganised, haphazard and confined to domestic or religious training. In contrast, boys' education groomed men for public leadership in European society. Jeanne challenged the sexism in education by introducing a syllabus for girls that followed the Jesuit 1599 Ratio Studiorium for boys. It offered secular subjects such as arithmetic, history, literature, French, Latin and civility, with lessons on social duty, charity, social justice, chastity, friendship and loyalty. The broad syllabus assured Jeanne that her female students were challenged intellectually in the same way as their male counterparts.

Jeanne's convent school establishment, from which the modern girls' secondary college is directly derived, was the first adaptation of the Jesuit's Ratio by a woman, for the education of women. Yet mainstream histories have largely neglected the academic and feminist tradition of convent education. Women contemporaries of Jeanne readily assimilated Jesuit methods into their schools. Whilst they were profoundly motivated by personal faith, these Counter-Reformation women were not solely and submissively confined to the Church's evangelising mission, as some histories might have us believe. Anne de Xainctonge (1567-1621) in Dole, Alix Le Clerc (1576-1622) in Lorraine and Englishwoman Mary Ward (1585-1645) were acutely interested in the advancement of women's education. (12) The type of education offered by Mme de Sainte-Beuve's Ursulines at the rue St Jacques in Paris was greatly influenced by file Jesuit model. By the eighteenth century, the Parisian Ursulines were the leading educators of French women, claiming 'to do for girls what file Jesuits were doing in their colleges for boys'. (13)

Nano Nagle and the Presentation Sisters in Ireland

In the following century, Nano Nagle (1718-1784) re-established Catholic education in Ireland, in defiance of the repressive English Penal Code. She opened seven free elementary schools in Cork, which she had modeled on the petites ecoles in France. (14) Nano's schools were counter-cultural by virtue of their existence during the Penal era and also because she dared to better the lives of the Irish poor and meet the educational needs of girls. In 1771 she brought the Paris Ursulines to Ireland to provide ongoing tuition for her schools. Nano's Jesuit friends, Patrick Doran and his nephew Francis Moylan, later Bishop of Cork, provided valuable support for her educational plans. Restricted by enclosure regulations, the Ursulines took up only one of Nano's schools. The search to find other competent educators for her remaining schools was effectively resolved in 1775 when Nano founded a religious community from the small nucleus of women associates she had gathered around her. The congregation, approved as the Order of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was constituted along Ursuline lines and became the first native Irish teaching order.

Other teaching orders, such as the Brigidine and Mercy Sisters, soon followed and established schools in Ireland styled upon the Presentation pattern. (15) It is of interest that Edmund Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers schools, aimed to do for boys what the Presentation Sisters were doing for girls and correspondingly modelled his schools on the Presentation system. (16)

Conventual Education in Australia

In colonial Australia, the widespread Sisters of Mercy were the first to transplant into Australian convent schools the Ursuline style of education, which Nano Nagle had introduced into Ireland. The Mercies were more mobile and capable of spreading than the cloistered Presentations. The Mercy Sisters established their earliest convent high schools in Perth (1846), Melbourne (1857), Geelong (1859), Goulburn (1859), Albury (1868) and Brisbane (1861). The Presentations came to Australia in 1866 and the Brigidines came later in 1883. With the steady influx of religious sisters from Ireland and Europe in nineteenth century Australia, the tradition of conventual education was quickly and uniformly transplanted onto the Australian educational scene.

Conventual education was brought to Australia at the instigation of the early bishops. Catholic women religious were sought from Ireland and continental Europe to establish European style convent 'high' schools for the further education of colonial girls. In this early phase, Catholic denominational schools were lay staffed and publicly funded by colonial governments. It was the usual policy that as each convent 'high' school was founded, the sisters would take over the existing parish school as well. With the withdrawal of government funding, religious sisters were increasingly sought to staff parish schools. (17) The Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of St Joseph, the Presentations and the Good Samaritan Sisters, in particular, responded to these requests. Most orders, with the exception of the Josephites, established convent 'high' schools. (18) While Church-controlled parish schools modified the sisters' autonomy in running them, the convent 'high' initiative continued as the sole province of women who owned and administered their schools independently of clerical influence and at no cost to the Church. Moreover, religious sisters experienced the teaching profession differently from their lay sisters. Lay women were compelled to compete with men for positions of leadership and responsibility, a field explored by Marjorie Theobald. This was the case in non-Catholic and government schools and later in the universities and independent boys' colleges.

Fee-paying schools were known as 'select' or 'high' schools, but they were not high schools in the modern sense. In time most developed into secondary schools in line with the state system's style of educational division. Students in the earlier period ranged in age from five to late teens, with no break in transition from primary to secondary. In essence, these were boarding schools in the French style, except that in Australia they combined the two upper educational levels that were separate in Europe--the exclusive boarding school or grand pensionnat with the pension or pay day school. (19) In Europe, both schools offered the same academic subjects, though the boarding tradition was further enriched with the provision of a 'finishing course' for the young ladies of the upper class. In Australia, the academic syllabus of the European fee-paying convent day school was thus enriched with the 'refinements' of the European boarding tradition. These schools were known as convent 'high' schools or 'select' schools, because they made provision for an enriched curriculum that extended beyond basic, elementary schooling.

During the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth, a large number of affluent non-Catholic girls attended convent schools to receive a 'high" or 'good education' by the standards of the time. (20) To some, the establishment of 'select" schools may appear incongruous with the sisters' devotion to the poor and to Catholic children. However, in keeping with the Ursuline pattern, income earned from fees was used to fund an adjoining elementary school for the less advantaged, of whom in any in Australia were also Irish and Catholic. While the sisters charged a minimal fee in the parish schools it was often waived when parents could not pa. (21)

In Australia, boarding schools were a function of distance rather than of privilege. Australia did not possess the same rigid class structure as Europe. This allowed teaching orders such as the Presentations, whose Constitutions excluded the provision of boarding schools in Ireland, to adapt their constitutions to provide boarding facilities in Australia for children in remote areas. (22) Most teaching orders made similar practical adaptations to European rules and practices in order to suit Australian conditions and educational needs. (23)

In spite of particular adaptations that were made by the various teaching orders, conventual education in Australia continued to be strongly influenced by the Ursuline tradition. The Ursulines had taught many Irish sisters in various religious institutes. For example, the Presentation Sisters of St Mary's College in Hobart had been boarding pupils of the Ursulines at Blackrock in Cork and replicated the Ursuline syllabus in its entirety. Similarly, other teaching orders in Australia followed the familiar Ursuline syllabus, including the Academy of Mary Immaculate, Melbourne; Sisters of Mercy in Perth; Dominican Priory, Maitland: Convents of the Sacred Heart in Sydney and Melbourne; Mary's Mount, Ballarat; Brigidine Convent, Beechworth; and All Hallows', Brisbane. (24) The Ursuline syllabus comprised 'English in all its branches, History, Astronomy, Use of Globes, French, Italian, every species of Fancy and Ornamental Work', 'Dancing, Drawing, Singing and Music...' (25) In terms of vocational purpose, this was a particularly useful syllabus for women seeking employment as a governess or teacher. The profession of teaching was emerging by the latter half of the nineteenth century as a possible career option for women when other professions and technical occupations were still formally closed to them. Working within the social constraints of their time, the teaching sisters, as shown here, continued to train girls to be self-reliant and financially independent.

Academic standing of convent schools

Some historical studies conclude that prior to 1920, the primary aim of secondary education for Catholic girls was 'domestic, moral, religious and accomplishment attainment' with only 'some interest in academic achievement'. (26) It is doubtful, however, if the teaching orders were less interested in the academic dimension of their tradition than in the accomplishments. After 1870, a strong academic thrust was present in convent 'high' schools in Australia. (27) This was mainly due to developments in secondary and higher education. Convent 'high' schools took ready advantage of these new developments. For example, in 1872 the Tasmanian Council of Education allowed girls to sit for the public examinations of the Associate of Arts Degree and shortly afterwards girls at St Mary's College in Hobart were presented for these examinations and secured passes. (28) In 1871, new opportunities were presented to girls when the University of Sydney permitted them to sit for its Junior and Senior Examinations. (29) Additionally, in 1876 the University allowed boys and girls attending Queensland schools to enter for its public examinations. (30) Subsequently, by 1880 the Mercy Sisters at All Hallows' in Brisbane had presented five students for the Sydney University Junior. These students were the first convent school candidates recorded in Australia, one of whom was awarded a silver medal for an outstanding pass in French. (31) In the early 1880s, successful candidates were also listed for the Good Samaritan convent 'Rosebank', Five Dock, Sydney. To obtain matriculation standard at Junior level a pass in five specified subjects was required. Young women from convent secondary schools entered the public examinations of the University of Sydney with proven academic ability. In 1881 women were admitted entry to the University as undergraduates.(32) This was a significant development that permitted women the opportunity to legally continue their education beyond secondary schooling.

Convent secondary schools readily adapted their curriculum to adequately prepare students for the University Examinations, Music Examinations and further education. (33) At the Sacred Heart convent in Launceston, the Presentation Sisters offered Geometry, Algebra and Latin, subjects usually associated with boys' education. In 1891, a student from Sacred Heart gained second place in the First Class standard among twenty-one candidates who passed the Junior Examination of the University of Tasmania. She was the only girl among the candidates to obtain a First Class Diploma, having secured outstanding grades ha English Grammar, History, Latin, French, German, Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry, with a pass in Geography.(34) In 1895, at St.Mary's Presentation Convent in Hobart, three girls were entered for the University public examinations and successfully shared honours in English, Latin, German, History, Arithmetic, Algebra and Euclid. (35)

Although the demand for accomplishments remained high, most convent 'high' schools placed greater emphasis on the academic curriculum with the aim of aligning it with the developing public examination system. Papers delivered at the Australasian Catholic Congress in 1911 demonstrate that order-owned convent schools were generally renowned for their great interest in academic standards and educational trends. (36) By 1906 this had become evident to Archbishop Carr in Melbourne who noted that:
 it would be interesting to trace the progress of the movement for
 the higher education of women from the time when it contained only
 two elements, namely, 'accomplishments and amiability', to the
 present day when it embraced practically all the elements which were
 found in the higher education of men. (37)


A similar story emerges elsewhere. In Queensland, the opening of its University in 1911 provided new educational opportunities for Queensland students. In the first year of the new public examinations, the Mercies at All Hallows' presented several students, as did the Presentation Sisters at Our Lady's College, Longreach, who successfully prepared three candidates for the Queensland Junior Examinations. (38) In a 1916 publication of the Longreach College the academic syllabus was advertised as fulfilling 'all the requirements necessary to pass the Junior and Senior Examinations in the Queensland University and State and Commonwealth Public Service Examinations'. By 1920, other convent 'high' schools in Queensland were similarly operating as full secondary schools. Sisters in convent secondary schools prepared their students for four different examinations, namely, university, public service, commercial colleges and music academies. Older orders with a long teaching tradition initially retained an emphasis on the accomplishments. However, most had made a quick and smooth transition to modern secondary education by the turn of the century.

By 1921, we find that Catholic women were proportionally more highly represented among employers and self-employed than women of other major Christian denominations. (39) Convent school Annals reveal that by this time their ex-pupils were prominent among women who secured careers in teaching and nursing, business mad the public service. The scholastic success of students at order-owned convent 'high' schools in Australia at this time reveals that interest in academic achievement was not negligible. On the contrary, the sisters took ready advantage of new opportunities for women, were alert to current educational trends and adapted old forms of conventual education to suit changing Australian conditions.

Many religious sisters in Australia shared the feminist vision of CounterReformation women, promoting academic success in girls' education. Burley's research concludes that between 1880 and 1925, the atmosphere in convent schools 'imbued some students with the idea of better jobs and being upwardly mobile'. She adds that the 'sisters were very ambitious for students whom they perceived as talented, and encouraged learning and leadership as gifts to be cultivated'. (40) Yet significant aspects of this historical reality are excluded from mainstream narratives, which have been built upon the many available clerical and press records of the time. (41) Burley affirms that 'throughout the literature little reference is made to the largely independent, "order-owned" schools, set up for young ladies'. (42) In press reports of the time, Australian bishops demonstrably congratulated the sisters on their educational achievements. However, the rhetoric was primarily concerned with the religious formation of women and the cultivation of the 'domestic life', imploring women to uphold the Catholic faith at home and implicitly discouraging them from the 'outer strifes of men' and the professions. In 1880, prior to becoming Bishop of Goulburn, Father Gallagher described the educational ideals of the Presentation convent at Mt Erin in this way:
 not merely instruction...it is not merely learning to read, write
 and execute figures that constitute the elements of a good
 education. No, but the domestic influence...how powerful an
 instrument is this. (43)


Contrary to the dominant rhetoric, the teaching sisters at Mt Erin had by the 1890s successfully prepared girls for the University examinations at Junior, Senior and Matriculation level. (44) By the early 1900s, their students gained honours in English, French, Latin, Geography, Mathematics and Theory of Music. (45) Yet conventional histories of Catholic education in Australia have generally relied upon the particular stereotype of conventual education that was originally put forward by parish priests and bishops. By virtue of the prevailing social restrictions upon women and the enclosure rule for some female teaching orders, the clergy usually represented the sisters in public assemblies and school speech days. Their rhetoric became naturally implanted in the historical records of the time. Consequently, the history of conventual education has remained largely submerged beneath the wider, more accessible history of Australian Catholic and secular education. (46) Recovering the origins of conventual education has allowed this historian to reclaim for women's education, an unbroken academic tradition, which various female-teaching orders had brought to Australia in the nineteenth century.

Modern Catholic girls' schools do not stand uniquely on their own. They flow from one distinctive academic and feminist tradition of conventual education. Convent 'high' schools were the initiative of particular women in the past, dating back to Angela Merici and Jeanne de Lestonnac. Jeanne and her women contemporaries were key proponents of a broader educational vision expanding beyond the immediate needs of the Post-Reformation Catholic Church. They were equally concerned with the intellectual formation of girls as with the Church's commitment to the 'salvation of souls'. Jeanne established a female teaching order that introduced the Jesuit model of boys' schooling to girls' education. The Parisian Ursulines and others, like Mary Ward, later adopted the Jesuit pedagogical framework, which had already been established in France. In Ireland, the Presentation Sisters and other teaching orders such as the Mercies and Brigidines followed Nano Nagle's ideals and assimilated the same Jesuit and Ursuline influences rote their constitutions. These women became part of a spreading movement, which provided a college-type education for girls that was based on the Jesuit model.

In Australia, girls in convent schools were not simply trained to be good wives mad mothers, as the dominant rhetoric suggests. Religious sisters managed convent economies independently of male clerics or colleagues. In the same vein, they trained young girls to be financially independent, not least by modeling women's capacity for self-determination. Historically, sisters in teaching orders perceived themselves as counter-cultural women and they designed their curriculum to not confine women's options to marriage. (47) Beneath official histories of education is the hidden story of women who worked tirelessly within the social and cultural constraints of their time to extend educational opportunities to all children, broaden the life options available to girls and ultimately transform their society.
COURSE PROGRAME IN EACH SUBJECT

RELIGION Catechism to be learned by heart. Stories from sacred
 history. Summary of Christian doctrine by LHOMOND.
 Catechism of the fundamentals of the faith. Gospels.
 Summary of the instructions of Sunday and Thursday.

ARITHMETIC 3rd. Course: Roman numerals; changing sous into
 centimes--the 4 rules.

 2nd. Course: Metric system--Rule of 3: Company Rules;
 various rules of interest.

 1st. Course: Revision: double entry book-keeping.

WRITING Division into 3 courses. It would be difficult to find
 seven teachers capable of giving lessons each in her
 own class. Short Course

 a) Classes 7, 6, 5--large and medium script

 b) Classes 4, 3, 2--large and medium script

 c) Class 1 9higher)--long Course: medium and fine,
 round and gothic script.

HANDWORK Subjects: November, hemming on linen or calico.
 December, overcast seams. January, flat seams.
 February, back-stitching. March, darning on muslin, or
 fine material. April, knitting & mending. May,
 reinforcing stockings. June, mending tulle. July,
 embroidery. August, crochet, tapestry.

SINGING-MUSIC Aim: to develop in the pupil's soul a feeling for
 beauty and good, for the ideal as represented in the
 order, the notation, the beat and musical rhythm.
 Canticles, parts of a sung Mass; lyrics (to sing
 tastefully, without embarrassment and willingly).

DRAWING To accustom the pupil's eye to accuracy; to acquire
 manual facility. Limits and sub-divisions of forms.
 Principles of the outline of the head; the head seen in
 profile. Copying from models and drawing without models.
 effects of light and shade; study of nature.


(1) M. Theobald, Knowing Women: Origins of women's education in nineteenth-century Australia, Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, 1996, p15.

(2) The development of denominational colleges and grammar schools for girls is traced in Theobald's study, Knowing Women.

(3) Fogarty, R. Catholic Education in Australia, 1806-1950, vol. 2, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1959, p 348.

(4) M. Theobald, 'Mere Accomplishments? Melbourne's Early Ladies Schools Reconsidered' in History of Education Review vol.13, no.2, 1984.

(5) M. Theobald, Knowing Women.

(6) Surviving records reveal that Angela's Ursulines were trained as mentors to young girls and they red with families in need In 1535 there were about 400 Ursulines in Brescia in a population of 40,000, which meant that at least 1 in 10 families benefited See T. Ledochowska, Angela Merici and the Company of St Ursula Vol. 1. Translated from the French by Mary Teresa Neylan Gregorian University, Rome, 1968

(7) F. Soury-Lavergne, A Pathway in Education: Jeanne de Lestonnac, 1556-1640. Translated from the French by M. Eusebio and R. Wheeler, Rome, 1984, p. 113

(8) Soury-Lavergne, A Pathway in Education, p. 112. See also Ledochowska. Angela Medici and the Company of St Ursula Vol 1, p. 186.

(9) The Ursulines added a fourth vow to their constitutions that was specifically devoted to teaching

(10) M.A. Jegou. The Ursulines of the Faubourg St Jacques in Paris 1607-1662: Origin of an apostolic monastery, Presses Universities de France, Paris. 1981 From the Foreword by Jean Orcibal.

(11) Francoise Soury-Lavergne's doctoral study provides valuable data on Jeanne's institute of the Company of Mary Our Lady and the convent school in Bordeaux Soury-Lavergne. A Pathway in Education.

(12) Anne de Xainctonge established an uncloistered Ursuline congregation along the lines of Angela Merici's original vision Anne opened a free school for girls in 1606. Alix Le Clerc founded The Congregation of Our Lady in 1597 and provided general instruction to local girls in Poussey. Mary Ward envisaged a system of Christian schools run by a centrally governed institute of non-cloistered women She opened her first school in Flanders in 1611.

(13) Jegou, The Ursulines of the Faubourg. From the Foreword by Jean Orcibal

(14) These were small schools in France that were specifically established for the children of the poor See T. J. Walsh Nano Nagle and the Presentation Sisters. M. H. Gill, Dublin, 1959, p47.

(15) William O'Donnell, 'Edmund Rice: A Glimpse at his Life, Merchant to Teacher Blessed' Catholic School Studies vol. 69, 1996, p. 2.

(16) Ignatius Murphy, 'The Church Since Emancipation: Primary Education,' in A History of Irish Catholicism vol. 1, Gill and Macmillan Ltd., Dublin. 1971.

(17) It is of interest that, during the early decades of compulsory schooling, parish staffs continued to be almost filly percent lay See Ryan's study of Australian Catholic schools in the 1870s and 1880s. Maurice Ryan, 'Mythic Foundations of Australian Catholic Schools: Assessing the Heritage for Religious Educators' in M. Ryan (ed), Echo and Silence: Contemporary Issues for Australian Religious Education, Social Science Press, Katoomba, 2001, pp.217-230; also Fogarty, Catholic Education in Australia, pp 285-6

(18) Of the four institutes, the Presentations and Josephites were founded primarily as teaching orders. The Josephites did not go into convent 'high' education (until well into the twentieth century), but the Presentations did.

(19) Boarding schools in Europe were predominantly exclusive establishments reserved for the upper classes and aristocracy, while the pay day school was for the lower middle class

(20) J.M. Mahoney. Dieu et Devoir: The Story of All Hallows' School Brisbane, 1861-1981, Boolarong, Brisbane, 1985.

(21) Tom Boland 'The Place of the Christian Brothers m Qld' in B.C. Manion (ed). A Centenary of Service, Perth, 1975. pp. 15-31.

(22) The Presentations in Ireland were permitted to open pay day schools in towns where no similar provision was available and did so from 1838.

(23) The Presentation Sisters obtained a papal dispensation in 1867 to conduct 'A Boarding School for Young Ladies' at St Mary's College in Hobart. M. Xavier Curran explains it was so as not to 'run the risk of having them, through being at Protestant schools, without any religion' Quoted in R Consedine, Listening Journey, Dove Publications, Melbourne, 1983, p. 296

(24) Fogarty, Catholic Education, Vol. II, p. 377.

(25) Advertisement in the Catholic Directory 1838, p.461 in the Ursuline Archives, Blackrock, cited in R. MacGinley, Roads to Sion: Presentation Sisters in Australia, 1866-1980, Boolarong, Brisbane, 1983, p73.

(26) Noelene Kyle suggests in Her Natural Destiny: The Education of Women in New South Wales, NSW University Press, Kensington, 1986, p. 73, that Catholic secondary schools showed only some interest in academic achievement prior to 1920.

(27) McGrath, These Women? 78 Reference to the academic emphasis in Mercy secondary schools from 1889.

(28) S. King, 'Quietly, Without Fuss Catholic Religious Sisters in Tasmania' in Sabine Willis, (ed.), Women Faith & Fetes: Essays in the History of Women and the Church in Australia, Dove Communications, Melbourne. 1977

(29) Rupert Goodman, Secondary Education in Queensland 1860-1960, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1968, p.136.

(30) Alan Barcan, A History of Australian Education, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1980, p.186.

(31) Mahoney, Dieu et Devoir, pp. 23, 34.

(32) Rupert Goodman, Secondary Education in Queensland, 1860-1960, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1968, p. 136. (33) St. Mary's College, Hobart advertised its curriculum in relation to its successes in the examinations of the University of Tasmania, The Monitor, 15 January 1897.

(34) Tasmanian Catholic Standard, July 1891.

(35) Monitor 20/12/1895 cited in MacGinley, Roads to Sion, p. 87

(36) MS McGrath, These Women? Women religious in the history of Australia: The Sisters of Mercy Parramatta 1888-1988, NSW University Press, Kensington, 1989.

(37) Address at the inauguration of Catholic Training College, 1906. Age. Melbourne, 6 August 1906, p6

(38) R MacGinley, A Place of Springs: Queensland Presentation Sisters 1900-1960, Brisbane, 1977, p.86.

(39) Census of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1921, Vol.1, 394-395, (Religion v Grades of Occupation)

(40) S. Burley, 'Lost Leaders From The Convent and The Classroom, 1880-1925' in J.McMahon et al., Leading The Catholic School, Spectrum Publications. Victoria, 1997, p.56.

(41) Stephanie Burley and Sophie McGrath attest to the neglect in mainstream histories of a focussed study of convent school education

(42) S. Burley, None More Anonymous?: Catholic Teaching Nuns, Their Secondary Schools and Students in South Australia 1880-1925. M.Ed. thesis. University of Adelaide, 1992.

(43) B.T. Dowd, & S.E. Tearle, Centenary: Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, 1874-1974, Sydney, 1973, p. 39.

(44) Compare Kyle, Her Natural Destiny, p.79.

(45) Dowd & Tearle, Centenary, p. 47.

(46) In his history of Catholic education in Australia, Ronald Fogarty includes an excellent section on Catholic girls' schooling However, given the intended scope and purpose of his study, Fogarty like other historians has largely focussed on the broader historical dimensions of Catholic education in Australia

(47) The early Presentation Sisters in Ireland taught their students a variety of handcrafts, such as lace-making This enabled girls to earn their own living A number of useful local industries thus stemmed from convent schools in Ireland

Anna Barbaro is the winner for 2002 of the ACHS-James MacGinley Award for research in Catholic Church history at Australian Catholic University, where she is completing a Master of Philosophy Degree. Her thesis examines the origins and distinctive style of conventual education from which the modern Catholic girls' secondary school evolved. She is also writing the history of St Rita's College, Queensland.
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Author:Barbaro, Anna
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Date:Jan 1, 2003
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