Our College identity incorporates our history, charism and the spirit of our school.

Image of Mary

Represents Mary, our Mother and spiritual guide.

Dominican Cross

The Dominican cross represents Jesus Christ and the Dominican Sisters of Eastern Australia who founded St Mary’s School for the Deaf in 1948 at Delgany in Portsea.

Trinity

The Trinity reflect the God we know as Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Our History

Since 1948, St Mary’s College for the Deaf has offered an integrated education program that fosters compassionate, empowered and effective communicators nurtured through a spirit of partnership with students, families and partner schools.

We provide a flexible program in collaboration with our partner schools designed for each student to discover their potential and flourish.

We follow the charism of the Dominican tradition, and welcome students and their families of all faiths and backgrounds to St Mary’s.

St Mary’s College first school building, Delgany at Portsea

1948

St Mary’s College was the first oral school to open in Victoria. The Dominican Sisters of Eastern Australia established St Mary's School for the deaf at Delgany Portsea in 1948. The school commenced in January as a residential and day school with 50 students. Mother Mary Madeline O.P became the first Principal of the school.

Opening of St Mary’s School for the Deaf at Portsea

1950

St Mary’s College opened a kindergarten for 3 and 4 year-olds.

1952

Audiologists and technicians from the Commonwealth Acoustic Laboratories performed monthly visits checking children's hearing aids. Loop systems were introduced in the lower grades and Group H hearing aids in the senior grades.

Music was central to the then curriculum in developing speech. Delgany provided students with an abundance of musical and other activities including ballet, golf lessons, handicraft, cubs, Red Cross and Scottish dancing.

1956

Sr. M. Theophane became Principal

Music lessons at Delgany, Portsea

1968

A limited program of integration commenced with Sorrento Catholic and State primary schools.

In 1969, Sr. M. Antoninus was appointed as Principal.

1970

Cued Speech was introduced following Dr Orin Cornett’s visit to Victoria. The primary goal of Cued Speech was on improving deaf and hard of hearing literacy.

Sr. M. Emmanuel became Principal for a short period but had to resign due to health reasons with Sr. M. Linus then taking over as Principal.

1976

Sr. Joan Winter took up position of Principal.

Phonic Ear equipment and radio transmission introduced meant more mobility for students

1980

Sr. Frances Caine returned to Portsea as Principal.

St Mary’s lead the introduction of Telephone Typewriters for the Deaf (TTYs) so children boarding could phone their families.

1983

St Mary’s College student numbers began to decline with families choosing to send their deaf and hard of hearing children to day facilities closer to home. In response to this, St Mary’s relocated from Portsea to Melbourne.

1984

A class of four St Mary’s students enrolled at St Scholastica's school in Bennetswood while waiting for the school’s relocation.

Fr. Noel Mackay at St Jude’s Parish, Scoresby worked with the school to establish a kindergarten and primary campus on the same grounds as a second school being planned in the parish at Wantirna South.

Br. Kevin Moloney of the De La Salle Brothers and Principal of St. John’s Regional College Dandenong equally supported plans for a secondary campus.

Woodwork Class 1984

1985

The school was renamed St Mary's School for Children with Impaired Hearing after relocating to Melbourne.

Wantirna South Campus opens.

St Mary’s College opens its first campus offering kindergarten and primary education. The St Mary's building is located beside the newly established Holy Trinity Primary School. St Mary’s boarding house Delgany House is built for eight boarders in Wantirna South.

First boarders Delgany House
Opening and blessing of the school at Wantirna South


Dandenong Campus opens.

St Mary’s opens its second campus offering secondary education in partnership with St John's Regional College providing educational opportunities for students with hearing loss in Melbourne’s south-east.

St John's Regional College Entrance

1990

Sr. Joan Winter returned as Principal

1995

Mrs Noeleen Bieske was appointed as the first lay Principal.

A Visiting Teacher Service was established cater for hearing impaired children in non-government schools.

1997

Ringwood Campus opens.

St Mary’s opens its third campus offering secondary education to six students in partnership with Aquinas College providing educational opportunities for students with hearing loss in Melbourne’s east.

St Mary’s College Ringwood Campus students

2003

The school name changes to St Mary's College for Hearing Impaired Students.

After much deliberation and discussion, the ownership of St Mary’s College is passed from the Dominican Sisters to the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

2008

South Morang Campus opens.

St Mary's College opens its fourth campus offering primary education (Prep-Grade 6) and secondary education (Years 7-12) at Marymede Catholic College providing educational opportunities for students with hearing loss in Melbourne’s north.

First students South Morang

Ms Marie Fram is appointed as Principal.

2013 – 2015

Mr Jo Caruana and Mr Michael Quin undertake the role of ‘care-taker’ Principals of the College during a period of transition.

2016

Sunbury Campus opens.

St Mary’s College opens its fifth campus offering secondary education with seven students at Salesian College Sunbury providing educational opportunities for students with hearing loss in Melbourne’s north-west.

Ms Amanda Purcell is appointed Principal.

Launch of St Mary’s College Sunbury Campus within Salesian College Sunbury

2017

The College is renamed St Mary's College for the deaf. The term ‘deaf’ is considered to encompass both ‘hard of hearing’ and ‘Deaf’ students. Internationally, deaf is perceived to be a more positive term over ‘impaired’ that implies a deficit.

2021

Tarneit Campus opens.

St Mary’s College opens its sixth campus offering secondary education at Thomas Carr College providing educational opportunities for students with hearing loss in Melbourne’s west. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an official opening was not able to take place but is planned for 2022.

2023

St Mary’s College will celebrate 75 years of providing integrated education to deaf and hard of hearing students. Stay tuned to celebrate this milestone with us.

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