MacKillop Catholic College Houses
There are four houses at MacKillop, each named after a person of significance to our College. These are McGrath (Blue), McCormack (Red), Hurley (Yellow) and Confelonieri (Green).
Father John McGrath
The Tiwi islands priest who gave the first warning of the bombing of Darwin
Father John McGrath moved from his hometown in central NSW to work with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart on Bathurst Island. Remaining in the Tiwi Islands for several decades, he became fluent in the local language. On 19 February 1942 Fr John radioed a warning to Darwin of the incoming formation of Japanese aircraft. This was the first bombing raid on Darwin. His warning was ignored. When the return radio call finally came his hut had been destroyed by machine gun fire. Even amid the fear of a Japanese invasion, Fr McGrath remained on the island. By the time he was finally transferred back to NSW in 1948, Fr John McGrath had come to be known as the “Apostle to the Tiwis”. His life of dedication and service was marked with a traditional “Pukamuni” burial ceremony on Bathurst Island, that lay him to rest among the people he loved.
More information on Father John McGrath:
Sister Irene McCormack
An Australian nun who was executed by communists for helping the disadvantaged in Peru
Sr Irene McCormack grew up a vibrant, determined and fun-loving child on a farm outside of Perth. From the age of fifteen she dedicated herself to serving the community and worked tirelessly as a teacher and school principal with the support of the Sisters of St Joseph (founded by Mary MacKillop). In pursuit of wider service, Sr Irene found herself in the Andes Mountains, Peru, supervising the distribution of Caritas emergency goods. On 21 May 1991, a communist terrorist group attacked her village. They forced the townspeople to watch as Sr Irene and four local men on trial for spreading “American food” and “American ideas” (Caritas food and school books). They were all sentenced to death. As a group of children rushed to save her, a communist soldier shot each of the five in the back of the head. Sister Irene was killed first, a true martyr.
More information on Sister Irene McCormack:
Bishop Eugene Hurley
The inspirational leader of the Church in the Northern Territory
Bishop Eugene Hurley illustrates to all of us what a deep level of commitment really looks like, serving as a Priest in the Diocese of Port Pirie for 43 consecutive years. During this time Bishop Eugene obtained university degrees in Counselling and a Masters of Education. He also played A grade cricket and AFL whilst being a passionate sports supporter. Since being ordained, Bishop Hurley has been a strong advocate for the humane treatment of refugees in detention. In 2007, he was installed in Darwin. Bishop Eugene is renowned for his work in social justice advocacy, with a strong focus on Indigenous Australians. He is strong, outspoken and supportive. He has also demonstrated courage by speaking out on the contentious issues of abortion and same sex marriage.
Don Angelo Confalonieri
A shipwreck survivor who dedicated his life to understanding Indigenous culture
Angelo Confalonieri overcame poor health and a weak physique as a child to become a priest and missionary in Italy. Filled with determination, he put himself through rigorous training in the mountains; undergoing extreme tests of endurance, climate and fasting. Don Angelo moved to Perth, and from there was sent to the NT’s Port Essington. On his way, on 24 April 1846, the ship capsized. Only Don Angelo and the Captain survived, living on a remote part of the Northern Territory coast. They grew to become close friends. Don Angelo went on to spend time living with the Indigenous Peoples. The Captain admired his efforts in learning the local ‘Iwaidja’ language. Within two years of living he had completed a dictionary of the language and translated prayers into Iwaidja. He was given the name ‘Na-Wuyuk” and was possibly the first European to receive this gesture of recognition. Don Angelo succumbed to malaria and died on the evening of 9 June 1848. He was 35 years old.
More information on Don Angelo Confalonieri:
Honourable Mentions of other College Patrons
Father Gerry Remie, after whom our library is named, was another figure of significance in the history of our Parish and College. More information on him can be found on our Library page.
There is more information on our College namesake, Saint Mary MacKillop, on our Heritage page.