Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception School, Sunshine

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Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception School, Sunshine

Principal:  Mrs Patrizia Bertani

E No.  E1096

Year Levels:  P to 6

Phone Number:  9312 2230

Email Website


The history of Catholic education in Sunshine dates back to 1919 when Fr John Carney came to the parish and quickly realised the urgent need for a Catholic school. He lost no time in proceeding with the work and the school was built at a cost of just over 366 pounds. Fr Carney noted at the time that the labour component of the cost was 30 pounds and that profiteering was alive and well in the timber trade! The school was opened by His Grace, Dr Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne on 12th October 1919, the 7th anniversary of his consecration as Archbishop. It needs to be noted that Archbishop Mannix’s official opening did not mark the beginning of classes. About 48 children were on the attendance roll at the school, some having entered at an earlier date. When the school building was complete, Fr Carney went to the State School and picked out all of the Catholic children. The official records of Sunshine Primary School show that about two dozen students transferred to 'Sunshine Catholic School' on 3 July 1919, so it is assumed that this marked the beginning of Our Lady’s Primary School. Some children of non-Catholic parents were also enrolled and were welcomed into the community.

Miss Mary Archer was the head teacher and the school’s first official principal. She worked tirelessly in the school for two years and was remembered as a tall, well-dressed woman who possessed a lovely nature. Miss Archer taught the children songs and plays that they would perform in the Town Hall. Her brother, Perce, was injured in the war and played the piano to accompany the children when they sang. Miss Archer lived in the city and travelled to school each day by steam train.

The second Principal, Miss Catherine McMahon, lived with her mother in Yarraville. On the train to Sunshine, Miss McMahon would select an article from The Age Newspaper for use as the ‘dictation passage’ for Grades 6, 7 and 8.

In 1928 the Catholic Church acquired the property adjoining the parish hall and renovated it in preparation for the imminent arrival of the Sisters of St Joseph. Their arrival was a year earlier than expected, largely due to the intervention of Archbishop Mannix, who was keen for the Sisters to start as soon as possible. Sr Mildred Duncan (superior), Sr Leo Byrne and Sr Eustace took up residence in the new convent.


Our Lady's School is situated in the western suburbs, in a highly industrialised area with a large migrant population. Our school is a community where teachers and parents work together as educators using Jesus Christ as our model. We have 12 classes (Prep to Grade 6). We have a focus on literacy with CLaSS (Children's Literacy Success Strategy). Other features of the curriculum include Special Education, Art and Craft, a Library teacher, Information Technology and PE Specialists.


Our multiculturalism is a very special feature of our school and an asset which gives Our Lady's a richness from which we can all learn. Our school events and liturgies are celebrated with much enthusiasm.

School location

Address:  32 Station Place
Sunshine VIC 3020

Diocese:  Archdiocese of Melbourne

Region:  Western

Parish:  Our Lady's