History of our Houses


BUNJIL: Bunjil is the Eaglehawk totem of the Wurundjeri people. The Wurundjeri people are the traditional Aboriginal owners of a larger part of the land of inner and outer Melbourne. Wurundjeri people gathered with other members of the Kulin nation at the site of the rings here on the Salesian property and it is now classified as one of their places of significance. Bunjil is their special creator spirit and spiritual leader. They believe that at the dawn of time, Bunjil created man, woman, land, mountains, rivers, trees and animals.

COLLITON: Jessie and Joe Colliton worked at Salesian College for many years through Rupertswood’s formative years. Jessie and Joe lived in one of the cottages on the Salesian property where Joe was the groundsman and Jessie undertook many of the daily tasks required for the care of the student boarders. A natural extension of Jessie’s personality was to be a ‘mum away from home’ for many of the boarders, especially the less vocal ones! Jessie and Joe had a life long dedication to Rupertswood and its community.

MACKILLOP: Saint Mary MacKillop was the co-founder of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart in 1866. It was Australia’s first religious order and it worked with many underprivileged Australians. The Josephite nuns came to Sunbury in 1916 and have been working hard in the parish schools ever since. The Josephites also assisted in the co-educational transition of our school in 1992. Mary MacKillop’s order continues its God work today with hundreds of sisters in Australia, New Zealand and Peru.

MAHONEY: Sister Francis De Sales Mahoney was one of the first three nuns to establish St Joseph’s Convent School (now Our Lady of Mount Carmel School) at Sunbury in 1916. Sister Francis was a music teacher at the school on her arrival and then took over the running of the convent. Sr Francis Mahoney taught many generations of Sunbury families and like many of the Josephite nuns, left behind her a loving and lasting impression.

MAIOCCO: Fr Michael Maiocco was one of the founding Salesians who came to Australia as secretary of the representative of the American Provincial. He was the inaugural prefect of the Agricultural school and was given the task, along with Br. Hamilton, of establishing the Friesian herd for our Dairy. Fr Maiocco was known as a caring, friendly, smiling and encouraging man. He was gifted in music and established the first band and choir at Rupertswood.

MANNIX: Archbishop Mannix was approached by the American Provincial (being Fr. Maiocco, who was the Secretary) to help arrange the purchase of Rupertswood. Archbishop Mannix became integral to the discussions and arrangements for the purchase of Rupertswood from William Naughton. He was Archbishop of Melbourne from 1917 to 1963 and had a profound impact on the Catholic community of Melbourne over that time.

NAUGHTON: William Naughton sold Rupertswood to the Salesians in 1927. He had heard from his friend Archbishop Mannix that the Salesians wanted to purchase a property to establish a school. The property changed hands later that year when Naughton made a favourable deal with the Salesians. He continued his association with the community through substantial donations and the provision of extra land that enabled the agricultural aspect of Rupertswood to be established.

O’GRADY: Father O’Grady arrived at Rupertswood in 1929 to take up the role as Rector. It was only two years after the Salesians had begun their work in Sunbury and Father O’Grady worked tirelessly in the first difficult years of the school to gain the support of the people. He was much loved and esteemed. In 1931 Father O’Grady was the founder of the Eucharistic Festival that ran uninterrupted for 50 years.