Mercy Regional College draws on a rich history of Catholic education since 1886 when a Catholic parish school was started in Camperdown. The arrival of Sisters of Mercy in Camperdown and Terang in 1907 was another significant milestone in shaping the provision of Catholic education in the region as we know it today. Mercy Regional College cherishes the diverse legacy of its predecessors: St Patrick’s School Camperdown; Catholic Regional College (CRC); St Joseph’s School Noorat; St Colman’s School Mortlake; and St Thomas’ School Terang.


  • 1886 - 1971 (before CRC)
  • 1972 - 1998 (CRC)
  • 1999 - present (MRC)
A Catholic parish school is started in a weather-board church building that had been in existence since 1865. It stood on the intersection of Manifold and Leura streets where a butcher’s shop is situated now.
The old Catholic church/school building is relocated to its new site, facing Henderson Street.
On completion of a new brick building for St Patrick’s Church, the old weather-board church is used entirely for school purposes.
Camperdown Parish Priest Fr John Shine invites a community of Sisters of Mercy to teach at the Catholic Schools in the region. The foundation stone is laid for a convent to house the Sisters in Camperdown.
St Thomas’ Catholic School is opened in Terang under the direction of the Sisters of Mercy. St Thomas’ Parish played a significant role in supporting Mercy Regional College at different stages of its development.
The Camperdown Convent is officially opened by the Bishop of Ballarat, Dr Higgins.
St Joseph’s Catholic School is opened in Noorat. The students are taught by the Sisters of Mercy who travel from the convent in Terang. Several decades later, in 1975, the secondary component of St Joseph’s School will become part of the Catholic Regional College.
1935 - 1936
The old weather-board Catholic School building in Camperdown is destroyed by fire in 1935. A new school building is opened on 4 February 1936. It consists of 3 classrooms and is located on site of the current Resource Centre at the McAuley Campus.
St Colman’s Catholic School is opened in Mortlake under the direction of the Sisters of Mercy from Ballarat East. 24 years later, the secondary component of St Colman’s School will become part of the Catholic Regional College.
A need is identified for a dedicated and expanded secondary Catholic education in the region. It is decided to establish a Catholic Regional College, drawing students from the parishes of Simpson and Camperdown, controlled by a Board of Management and administered by a lay Principal.
Catholic Regional College is established. Mr John Tindley becomes the first principal. Classes are held sharing rooms and facilities of St Patrick’s Primary School.
Due to increasing enrolments, the College is expanded to include three campuses. Students are accommodated at St Colman’s School Mortlake as well as the current campuses at Noorat and Camperdown.
Expressive Arts Centre opened in the former Convent of Mercy, Camperdown. The building is transformed internally to form workshops and classrooms.
Purchase of Noorat Church of England building and land. The church building is converted into an Arts & Crafts Centre. Opening of Staff Amenities area and Student Ablution Block at Camperdown.
Fire at Camperdown destroys two classrooms and badly damages a third.
Arts Centre at Camperdown is refurbished to add more classrooms and workshop spaces.
The Mortlake Campus is closed and merged with the Noorat Campus.
A Multipurpose area and a Lecture Theatre are constructed at the Camperdown Campus. Several classrooms are refurbished.
Home Economics area is developed at Camperdown, in place of the old portable classrooms.
After a major construction, new Multipurpose and Administration areas are opened at the Noorat Campus.
Catholic Regional College is renamed Mercy Regional College to honour the long-lasting association of the Sisters of Mercy with the school.
A new Stadium is opened in Camperdown and named after Sister de Chantal (Honora Wardle), the former campus coordinator of Noorat and a beloved staff member of the school.
After a long involvement in Catholic education at both Camperdown and Noorat, the Sisters of Mercy are no longer represented as staff at Mercy Regional College. Sister de Chantal, the last Sister of Mercy on staff, retires. (In the photo Sr de Chantal is with Principal Patrick Linehan)
The two campuses of Mercy Regional College are renamed. The Camperdown campus is named the McAuley campus after the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy Catherine McAuley. The Noorat campus is named the O’Keeffe Campus after the O’Keeffe family who were students and long-time supporters of the school. The campus name also honours Monsignor Martin O'Keeffe, a former Parish Priest of St Thomas’ Church, Terang (1968 – 1981).
The refurbished library at the O’Keeffe Campus becomes Frank Pekin Resource Centre. Frank Pekin, a former Board member, was instrumental in helping the College through the challenging early years.
John Tindley Resource Centre is opened at Camperdown, named after the founding Principal of the College.
A new Arts & Technology Centre is opened at Camperdown and named in honour of Ursula Frayne, the first Sister of Mercy to arrive in Melbourne. The Convent is refurbished as an administration and reception area.
The College Board reevaluates the provision of education at Mercy Regional College moving all Year 7-8 classes to the O’Keeffe Campus, Noorat. All Year 9-12 classes are held at the McAuley Campus, Camperdown.
Opening of the Senior School building and Science laboratories, Camperdown.
Opening of the Middle School building, Camperdown.
The College celebrated 50 years of Catholic Education with a Book Launch of 'A Special Spirit', Open Day and Dinner with the inaugural 'Spirit of Mercy' Awards.