The idea of a Catholic College in Palmerston was first discussed at meetings held in 2001. Ten years later, the College became a reality. In April 2011, John Holland, Construction Supervisors, took possession of the College site on Farrar Boulevard in the new suburb of Johnston.
At this time, it was advertised that enrolments would be accepted for the new College, but after 10 years of talking about a Catholic secondary school in Palmerston, parents were sceptical about whether it was really going to happen. The Director of Catholic Education, Mr. Michael Avery, the Deputy Director – School Services, Mr. Greg O’Mullane, Mr. John Fong, Manager of Infrastructure and the project architects, Hassell, held information sessions for parents to assure them that the College would open at the beginning of the 2012 school year. Information sessions were also held for the Year 6 students from Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Palmerston, and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School, Humpty Doo.
A competition to name the College and design a logo was held, and Bishop Eugene Hurley officially declared that the new Catholic secondary school at Palmerston would be named MacKillop Catholic College, with the motto “Lead with Courage”.
After a national candidate search campaign, Mrs. Lauretta Graham was announced as the Foundation Principal of MacKillop Catholic College. Mrs. Graham’s experience as the Foundation Principal of St. Andrew’s College in Cairns was of tremendous benefit during the final stages of preparing for the opening of the College.
An Orientation Day was held early in September to show the progress of the construction to the Year 6 students from St. Francis of Assisi and Sacred Heart Catholic Primary Schools. This outing also gave them an opportunity to meet Mrs. Graham and to film a segment for “Around Palmerston”.
Mrs. Graham began her new position early in October 2011, and and for the remainder of 2011 was based at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Palmerston, where she met with parents and conducted enrolment interviews.
Because of an unprecedented Wet Season in 2010-2011, the building of the College was delayed for some weeks, which meant that alternate accommodation for staff and students needed to be made for the first few weeks of the 2012 school year. The staff and students gathered together as a new school community at Charles Darwin University, Palmerston, until moving in to their new MacKillop Catholic College premises in March, 2012.
We have since grown exponentially, not only in student numbers and new buildings and facilities, but spiritually in the establishment of our traditions, the achievement of our vision, the pursuit of our mission, and establishing our place within our parish and our local community.