Archived News Item

From a Vision to Reality

The Centre stadium

December 5, 2016

Emmanuel College Warrnambool celebrated 25 years of the Emmanuel name on 18 November with the official opening and blessing of the Emmanuel Centre. The largest building project in the College’s 144-year history, the 9.5 million dollar Centre received no government funding.


Like the Sisters of Mercy who arrived in 1872 with no supplies, land or building having been asked by Bishop Goold to set up a Mercy community and school, the College turned to the community for help. The community saw the need and responded generously, turning a vision into a reality and contributing 1.9 million towards the project to date.  The generosity of the community demonstrates a strong vote of confidence in the College and its future as a leading provider of education in the district.


The vision for the project evolved from an in-depth look at the educational needs of students into the future after a period of extraordinary growth saw the student population of the College double in a ten-year period. Seating 1,500 people the Centre is the largest facility of its type in the South-West region. It is much more than an auditorium comprising: two sports courts, stage, mezzanine level for conferences or group training, commercial kitchen than can provide dinner for 800, gym, learning areas, staff areas and change rooms, first aid room and an Industrial Skills Centre below the auditorium.


Marcia Howard, Nancie Shipper, Shane Howard


ARIA Award winning past students Shane Howard and Marcia Howard joined Year 10 student Nancie Shipper on stage to perform Solid Rock. Backing vocals in Pitjantjatjara language from the award-winning Emmanuel Singers created a very memorable opening.


The opening ceremony including a play entitled Journey that roamed the auditorium and was shown on three large screens via live feed. Journey told the story of two young people trying to find a place where they belong and encountering some of the key characters in Emmanuel’s history along the way. These included the founders of its predecessor schools (St Ann’s and CBC) Mother M. Philomene Maguire and Brother Egan.


Written for the occasion, Journey Song followed the play. Written by a staff member, it was performed by the Emmanuel Singers and the 1993 College Captain Anna Lee (Robertson) Williams.


Bishop Paul Bird blessed the building while Emmanuel College Inspiring Alumni member Felicity Melican gave the opening address. Other speakers included: Principal Peter Morgan, Capital Appeal Committee Chairman, Brian Callaghan, and College Captains Isabella Mahoney-O’Donnell and Joseph Brady.


Drummer passing Alumni wall


The finale was “Sing” – written by Gary Barlow and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber written for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert celebrations. Performed by the Emmanuel Singers and cast members of the College’s 2017 musical, it concluded with drummer and bagpipes leading a procession of invited guests out of the auditorium.

Messages to: Jean ChristieDirector of Marketing     


Anna Lee and the Emmanuel Singers


Sisters present at the Opening L-R: Geraldine Mugavin, Joan Wilson, Marie Davey, Anne Arundell, Mary Bennett,Kathlyn O’Brien, Sheila Gleeson, Berenice Kerr, Carmel O’Dwyer, Adele Howard, Marie Mansbridge.