Damascus College, established in 1995, has its origin in three Colleges. Sacred Heart College and St Martin's in the Pines were owned and administered by the Sisters of Mercy, and St Paul's College was a regional school conducted by the Christian Brothers. Damascus College formed when these three schools amalgamated.
Damascus College is jointly sponsored by the Institute of Sisters of Mercy Australia and Papua New Guinea and the Parish Priests of Ballarat, Ballarat East, Ballarat North, Bungaree, Creswick, Daylesford, Gordon, Redan, Sebastopol and Wendouree. The College provides Catholic secondary co-education for day students in Ballarat and surrounding areas on one campus in Mt Clear.
Although Damascus College originally commenced operation on two campuses, the decision to work towards amalgamating the Victoria Street campus and the Mt Clear campus onto one site at Mt Clear was announced by the Governors in 2005. The Victoria Street campus was closed in December 2010 and the College operated as one campus for the first time at Mt Clear in 2011. The Mt Clear site provides an inspirational natural environment in a rapidly developing area of Ballarat. It is an ideal site for a modern and integrated Year 7-12 campus.
The congregation of the Sisters of Mercy had its formal beginnings in Ireland in 1831. Its foundress, Catherine McAuley, in response to the needs of the time, established an institution for the care and education of less advantaged girls and young women. Since that foundation the congregation has continued to act in response to contemporary needs in society. In 1881, as part of this heritage, the Sisters of Mercy established Sacred Heart College in Ballarat East for students from Preparatory to Year 12. The Primary students were later moved to St Francis Xavier College. Venerable Catherine McAuley
In 1960 Miss Alice Fanning, who has been looked after by the Sisters of Mercy for several years, bequeathed her property in Mt Clear to the Sisters of Mercy on her death in February 1960. The land was used by the Sisters to grow vegetables and raise cattle, and following the decision in 1964 to develop the site for the senior school of Sacred Heart College, the foundation stone was laid in 1966. In 1967, a separate campus for Years 11 and 12 girls was developed at Mt Clear to form Sacred Heart Senior College, St Martin's in the Pines. In 1988, this campus became co-educational, with boys mainly from St Paul's College.
The Christian Brothers were founded in Ireland in 1802 by Br. Edmund Rice to educate the sons of poor and oppressed Catholic families. The Brothers provided the education whereby these boys gained some control of their lives. When the Bishop of Ballarat, James O'Collins established St Paul's College in 1948, he invited the Christian Brothers to continue their work for boys through the provision of technical education.
Based on the philosophies of the founders, the Colleges offered a broad education for boys and girls to prepare them for future life choices. Sacred Heart College offered a comprehensive education for girls from Years 7 to 10. St Paul's College emphasised the development of technical skills within a comprehensive Years 7 to 10 curriculum for boys. St Martin's in the Pines continued this broad education in an atmosphere and an environment appropriate to students about to complete their secondary education.
Damascus College continues in the tradition of the Colleges that went before it and also forges its own strong and vibrant future.
Click on the image below to view the Damascus College Historical Timeline.