Our Heritage

Marian College has a long and distinguished history. After a visit to Abbeyleix, Ireland, by Dr. Moore, the then Bishop of Ballarat, five sisters from the Brigidine Community journeyed from Ireland to Ararat in 1888, to begin a long and steadfast educational tradition. Mother Gertrude Kelly, Mother Cecilia Synott and Sisters Josephine Clancy, Paul Barron and Malachy Byrne arrived in Ararat 1888.

The building of the Brigidine Convent commenced in that same year and in August 1889 the foundation stone was laid with due ceremony. The Convent was built in stages with the final section being completed in 1900.

The Brigidine Convent opened a primary section as the Marian School in 1954. With this name change came the construction of two new classrooms. In the early 1960’s the Convent phased out the primary section. 1965 saw the introduction of the present secondary levels.

The name “Marian College” was secondary school. In subsequent years, additions, alterations and renovations were constantly occurring. The College took female boarders from its inception. Boarding ceased at Marian College in 1980 thus beginning the conversion from the convent building to a school building with the Sisters moving into the present convent. Marian College now occupies the entire convent building with the library in the old boarders’ dormitory.

Marian College is the only Catholic secondary college in a 100km radius. Former Parish Priest, Father Brendan Davey, was instrumental in transporting students from Stawell to Marian College, firstly by car and then via mini bus. Students are drawn from Ararat, Stawell and surrounding districts and, today, several buses bring a large percentage of students from Stawell and surrounds every day.

For many, many years the school was staffed entirely by the Brigidine Sisters. Lay staff began to be employed during the last half of the 20th Century with Mr. John Shannon being the first lay Principal to be appointed to Marian College by the Brigidine Provincial Council in 1980.

Between 1996 and 1999 the college underwent major alterations. Renovations and updates occurred throughout all areas of the college. A new VCE Wing and Technology/Arts/Home Economics/Textiles and Computer Wing were added. These new wings were named the ‘Dorothy Molloy’ and ‘Brendan Davey’ Wings.

These new buildings and faculties bring Marian College into the 21st Century offering the students the best in educational facilities. The school has again been transformed with further upgrades after the addition of the ‘Kate Griffin Wing’ in 2005. In 2018 the College refurbished a foundation building of St Mary’s Hall to become the Brigidine Centre, a learning hub for Year 7s.

Student numbers have steadily increased from around 300 in 1999 to around 500 in 2019.

Marian College has a proud tradition of providing Catholic Education to the Parishes of Ararat, Stawell and Beaufort. We provide a comprehensive secondary Education with state-of-the art facilities. Our education aims at developing the whole child within a caring community underpinned by Christian values.

Old Marian College