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History of the College

Background Story of the Closure of Presentation College Windsor

Presentation Sisters Victoria (PSV) is a religious Institute, with its roots in Ireland, working within the Catholic Church in Australia.  PSV founded Presentation College Windsor in 1873.  Presentation Association (PA) was established as a civil organisation to work with the Presentation Sisters (PSV) to govern and administer their educational and community works.

Presentation College Windsor (PCW), since its establishment in 1873, has successfully pursued emerging opportunities and navigated many significant challenges and risks in its aim to provide a quality education for young women in Victoria.  For most of its history, PCW has had a strong reputation as a preeminent, low to middle-income, inner-city girls’ school in Melbourne.

Over the past 10 years the College has faced new challenges.  These challenges are historical, multi-dimensional, complex and demographic.  It found itself at the centre of a shift in the residential make-up of inner Melbourne suburbs, in a highly contested, status-oriented, educational market.  At the same time, circumstances have reduced public confidence in the Catholic Church.  These ongoing challenges have been compounded by the fact that the College did not have specifically allocated and enforceable enrolment catchment areas.

Comprehensive independent reviews of the College in 2012 and 2018, identified these challenges and concluded that enrolments would continue to decline over the next decade. Relevantly, it was found that the College would be unlikely to recover to the level needed to continue to resource a successful contemporary Catholic secondary girls’ school, into the future.

On 29 July 2019, after a long and difficult process of discernment and with much sadness, the Presentation Sisters Victoria (PSV) and Presentation Association (PA) as the owners of the College announced that Presentation College Windsor would close at the end of 2020.

Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA), the owners and governors of Christian Brothers College, St Kilda (CBC), stated that they too were saddened by the announcement, and were “deeply respectful” of the difficult decision taken by the Presentation Sisters (PSV).  Due to their shared origin and heritage, the charism, spirit and values of Presentation Sisters has much in common with that of Edmund Rice Education Australia who today succeed the Christian Brothers as the civil organisation operating their schools.  The Presentation Sisters and the Christian Brothers have always had a great affinity in their work in education and have collaborated in their ministries over many years, in both Ireland and Australia. 

Since 1991, the two Colleges, PCW and CBC, have shared VCE, VCAL and VET classes at the Year 11 and 12 level.  This represents a commitment for over 30 years to the provision of high-quality shared learning for the young women and men who have passed through their respective schools.  It is therefore of little surprise that in honouring that history of relationship and connection, that EREA announced that it was committed to working in partnership with the St Kilda East Parish to explore the possibility of continuing to provide high quality Catholic education for girls and boys on this educational site, and investigate the feasibility of opening a new co-ed school. 

As a consequence, EREA are negotiating a possible lease arrangement of the PCW site, with the PSV/PA Inc.  This new entity has the full support of the Presentation Sisters, Presentation Association, St Mary’s Parish and Primary School, East St Kilda, the Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEM) and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV).  It represents for both EREA and the Presentation Sisters Victoria a continuation of a deeply held tradition, a further alignment with the mission and vision of the Presentation Sisters and the Christian Brothers, and more important a new opportunity for the young women of PCW to embrace and advance their learning.