Catherine McAuley Westmead was established by the Parramatta congregation of the Sisters of Mercy in 1966 as a regional Catholic High School for girls in Years 7 to 10. In 1983 permission was granted for the school to offer Years 11 and 12. The first HSC class graduated in 1987.

A Strong Tradition

Catherine McAuleyCatherine McAuley was born in Ireland in 1778 and knew hardship early in her life. After the death of her parents Catherine and her siblings relied on the charity of relatives for survival.

Catherine was a courageous, compassionate woman whose early experiences shaped her life’s work in caring for the disadvantaged. An inheritance enabled her to establish a centre to assist the poor of Dublin, known as the House of Mercy.

Her faith in the God of Mercy, her commitment to the Good News of Jesus Christ, led her to dedicate herself to serving the poor, sick and uneducated. Throughout her life she was deeply aware of the human suffering caused by social, economic and religious injustice.

Catherine’s community at Callan in Ireland was invited by Cardinal Moran to work in Australia and the Sisters arrived in Parramatta in 1888. When a new Catholic school for girls was opened at Westmead in 1966 under the charter of the Sisters of Mercy, it was a fitting tribute to name the school in honour of Catherine McAuley. The values of the Sisters of Mercy still guide the school and its community in the 21st century, as the school motto encourages students “to strive for higher things” – faith, hope and love.

Principals of Catherine McAuley
1966 Sister Mary Eugene rsm
1967 - 1973 Sister Mary Anne Ryan rsm
1974 - 1977 Sister Mary Sophie McGrath rsm
1978 - 1981 Sister Edith Angel rsm
1982 - 1984 Mr Jan Jolley
1984 - 1987 Sister Barbara McDonough rsm
1988 - 1995 Mr Michael Keating
1996 - 2005 Mrs Hilary Johnston-Croke
2005 - 2014 Ms Margery Jackman
2014 Ms Laetitia Richmond