Caroline Chisholm Catholic College was founded in 1997, when three schools – with roots stretching back more than 50 years – merged.
We honour the parents, priests and parishioners who worked tirelessly to establish Christ the King College, St John’s College and Chisholm College, enabling the children of Melbourne’s inner west to access a Catholic education.
In 1954, Fr Thomas Murray of Braybrook established Christ the King Primary School to educate girls. The school was initially held in an empty migrant workers’ hostel.
Christ the King Primary School later expanded to include secondary education and changed its name to Christ the King College in 1963. The school began with the assistance of the Sisters of St Joseph and, from 1956, was led by the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart.
In 1965, the parishes of the region started St John’s College for the education of boys under the direction of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.
The Brothers went on to establish Chisholm College, a co-educational school for students in Years 11 and 12 in 1979.
Our school is named in honour of Caroline Chisholm, a Catholic social reformer who helped thousands of immigrants to Australia, particularly women, to find safe homes and respectable employment. To some, her face is more familiar than her work – she featured on the $5 note for 25 years.
Caroline Chisholm (nee Jones) was born in1808 to an evangelical Anglican family in Northampton, England. She later converted to Catholicism, married Captain Archibald Chisholm and moved to India then Australia.
In Sydney, she was shocked to witness the terrible plight of many of the young women who arrived from Britain with little food, money or understanding of their new land.
Beginning in a small cottage and later expanding, Caroline Chisholm welcomed these young girls, providing them with shelter and training. She also set up a school and an employment agency to find positions for new arrivals, settling some 11,000 young women.
She was not only a social reformer and advocate for the most vulnerable, she was a visionary, leader, canny political operator, and feminist as well as being a wife and mother.
Caroline Chisholm’s dedication, strength of character, fearlessness, compassion, humanity and lack of prejudice distinguish her as a great role model for our students.