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All Hallows' School was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1861 and was the first secondary school for girls in Queensland. 

In 1860, with only four days’ notice, Mother Vincent Whitty led a party of five other women who left Ireland to accompany Bishop James Quinn to Queensland.

Mother Vincent Whitty was 41, a teacher who had been prepared for her life as a Sister of Mercy by Catherine McAuley herself. After five months at sea, they steamed up the Brisbane River on the evening of 10 May 1861, landing not far from the present site of All Hallows’ School.

The first pupil, Annie Tighe, was enrolled as a boarder on 15 December 1861 and from an original enrolment of sixteen boarders, All Hallows' population now numbers 1650 students. Generation after generation has benefited from a Mercy education characterised by its quality, innovation and ability to keep abreast of current educational trends.

Catherine McAuley: The Founder of the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland (1778 – 1841)

Catherine was born in Ireland in 1778. After the death of her parents, Catherine lived with family members until the age of 25 when she became the household manager and companion of William and Catherine Callaghan. For 20 years she gave religious teachings to the household staff and village children. 

Mr and Mrs Callaghan bequeathed their entire estate to Catherine which she chose to use to help others. Catherine built a house on Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland and began to look after impoverished girls. Catherine was encouraged by the Archbishop to choose a name for the small community of women who joined her in helping the poor and orphans, and she chose ‘The Sisters of Mercy’. The first House of Mercy opened on September 24, 1827, the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy.

To provide continuity to the works of Mercy, Catherine and two other women chose to enter the life of religious women and on 12 December 1831 they professed their vows. Attracted by her spirit and works of mercy, other women came to work with her and by the time of her death in 1841, there were one hundred Sisters of Mercy in ten foundations.