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House Value: Stewardship

House Image: Healing Vines of Stewardship

House Mascot: Dragon

House Colour: Red

House Day: 15 August (the date when Mary took her vows at Penola and became Sr Mary)

Penola House is named after Penola, a small South Australian town, 400 kilometres southeast of Adelaide. The town gained international recognition as the workplace and one-time home of Mary MacKillop. In the 1860s Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods shared a dream of providing free Catholic education for poor rural children. This school would open its doors to everyone without care for social standing or religious affiliation. Putting their trust in God, Mary and Julian co-founded the uniquely Australian, Sisters of Saint Joseph, in Penola. Their dream became a reality that was to transform lives throughout Australia, New Zealand and other countries around the world. "Little did either of us then dream of what was to spring from so small a beginning." (Mary MacKillop 1873)

The Woods MacKillop Schoolhouse in Penola was initially stable and is now on the Heritage and State Register as a schoolroom museum. It is a very special place where Mary MacKillop's youthful presence can still be felt and is evidence of her commitment to God through a life devoted to others; her vulnerability and self-doubt; her competence as a teacher, her vitality; her sense of humour; her serenity. 

Penola House embraces Stewardship through:

•  Conservation
•  Empathy 
•  Inclusivity 

Members of Penola House are united by their acceptance of others, their intense compassion and nurturing of each other and their passionate quest for the preservation of our world.

The House colour is red which symbolises vibrancy, strength, new life, a willingness to give to others, heartfelt love, compassion, and a passionate desire for inclusiveness. In Catholicism, red is the colour of the “Sacred Heart”. The House mascot is the Dragon “Penny” which represents the patroness of warriors, the valiant defender.


Penola Prayer

God of our universe, 

Inspired by Mary and Julian we honour your presence in our evolving creation.

As stewards of our earth we commit ourselves to its healing 

and to do all in our power ​to work for the conservation and sustainability of our world.


©Brisbane Catholic Education, Mary MacKillop College (2024)