women at kincoppal - rose bay in the beginning

On 9 May 1882, five religious sisters of the Sacred Heart arrived in Sydney. Led by Reverend Mother Febronie Vercruysse, they had been commissioned to start a day and boarding school of the Sacred Heart by the order in France. They settled for a building on the hill above Rose Bay, called Claremont, which they bought from Mr John Hughes. Claremont housed the first Sacred Heart school in Australia. The five strong foundresses of the Sacred Heart; Mother Febronie Vercruysse, Mother Mary Jackson, Mother Rose Dunne, Mother Alice Woodward, and Sister Sarah Simpson travelled for 39 days on the 'Orient; from Italy to Sydney to start the Society in Australia. Nowadays, it is the mix of old and new, young and old female students who make


The five sisters who courageously travelled on the 'Orient' to a new land made the largest contribution of all by starting up the the first Catholic Sacred Heart School in Australia. These women contributed Rose Bay Convent, and in later years Kincoppal - Rose Bay. Without them both Rose Bay Convent and Kincoppal - Rose Bay would never have been established and been a positive community for young women to grow and be educated. These nuns were women that contributed the physical school we now know as Kincoppal - Rose Bay. They contributed the buildings, values, goals, community, general atmosphere of Kincoppal, and generally the whole history of Kincoppal.

The five founding sisters of Rose Bay Convent

Contribution of sisters & Female teachers - education

The community of female nuns who started up and taught the students of Rose Bay Convent and Kincoppal - Rose Bay contributed to the school by educating young women to go out independently into the world and have a purpose. Without these women students of both genders wouldn't have received a Catholic, Sacred Heart education and wouldn't have been educated, informed and have developed values in the same way. The nuns, and today's female teachers educated the male and female students to be the best versions of themselves and do be diligent and intelligent.

Ms Panis - a female math teacher

Contribution of Boarding students - Culture and DIVERSITY

Both international and rural students of Rose Bay Convent and Kincoppal - Rose Bay delivered culture and different perspectives to the schools. International students, mainly from Asian regions, contributed new traditions, ideas, foods, ways of education, lifestyles, and sports. Girls from rural Australia - including NSW country towns, outback regions, Queensland, rural Northern Territory communities, etc. all contributed to making the school more multicultural and an interesting environment to learn in. Students from places out of Sydney were usually boarders and contributed new cultures, celebrations and ways of life for other members of the school community to endure and enjoy. An example of this, is the Asian boarders celebrating Chinese New Year, where they decorate the school and organise fun events. The whole school witnesses first-hand Asian culture and is unearthed to a new culture that unleashes a new perspective and develops empathy for an international student's situation. In addition to the culture contributed by the students, the five foundresses were all European and brought new European-inspired ways of education, food, religion and traditions to the children they were educating. Female teachers nowadays come from places across the nation and the world and have travelled. They are full of knowledge and wisdom that is eagerly passed down to the students to enlarge their perspectives. Susan Bryant was the first Indigenous woman of the school, and nowadays there are more indigenous students that are greatly valued in our school community.

Kincoppal is a school diverse in cultures

Contribution of Sisters & students - Developed school’s strong morals, values and principles that pertained to Sacred Heart values.

Nuns and students developed the strong morals, values and principles the school still pertains too. The five sisters that initially founded Rose Bay Convent contributed Sacred Heart values to Kincoppal-Rose Bay. The five goals of all Sacred Heart schools being; a personal and active faith in God, a deep respect for intellectual values, a social awareness which impels to action, the building of community as a Christian value, and personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom were attended to right from the beginning of the establishment. As the original students learnt these goals and performed them, they have been passed down through generations, and as a result what is now Kincoppal - Rose Bay is a community full of students who live out these Sacred Heart qualities in everything they do. An example of a student living out these strong values is at Christmas time when year groups band together and donate their time, money and effort into giving a present to a homeless or disadvantaged man living in a shelter who may not of otherwise woken up to a present on Christmas morning. It is these values instilled in us that make us loving, enthusiastic, friendly, loyal and compassionate people who will go out into the world and do great things. Sacred Heart day is also a unifying, communal event that bring the whole school together to celebrate the Society of the Sacred Heart's feast day and values. This day is often organised by female student leaders and female adult leaders. It is a day that our spirit is clearly visible all of the female students (and male) dress up in red and white to celebrate this special feast. It celebrated our morals, values and goals.

Contribution of whole school female community - Made the community what it was through unifying events and customs

Women made the community what it is through unifying, momentous occasions like fairs and school songs. They contributed to the community through money and time and produced communal, unifying aspects of school life, including the school song and the constant meeting of the school in assemblies and liturgical masses. While these events may be small and not high in recognition they create a sense of community and within this community a happy, mellow feeling that makes students feel included and accepted. An example of this is the 'Procession of the lanterns.' The boarding community comes together holding lanterns, and processes into the chapel, in what is an extremely beautiful and moving occasion. The nuns started this tradition as they took it from the Society of the Sacred Heart. Events like the Spring Fair 2015 bring the whole school community together for a fun day that recognises our love and support for each other and creates a happy, fun, loving buzz. It is usually female mothers and female school leaders that organise this day, they contribute our unified community.

KRB Spring Fair 2015

Contribution of sisters, teachers & mothers - Developed manners of students

Nuns developed the manners and courtesy amongst the students who attended Rose Bay Convent and Kincoppal - Rose Bay. By teaching them all different styles and aspects of manners, when the students graduated from the school they left wise and well mannered. Nowadays, it is female teachers and mothers involved within the school community who do this at times at Kincoppal - Rose Bay, they teach students many different morals and manners but a few of the main ones include; that you must treat others how you wish to be treated, always stay positive, always be honest and truthful, and treat everyone respect and grace no matter who they are. Of course fathers and male teachers teach manners, but at Kincoppal mainly the nuns and teachers enforce them when parents are not present.

Contributed by sisters- Added buildings to the school as a result of children coming - grew the school to what it required

After the first few years of Rose Bay Convent, the nuns addressed the major issue - that there was not enough building space to accommodate the amount of students both to learn and to live in the boarding house. As a result of this they devised a plan to slowly add more buildings and facilities as the amount of students and teachers increased. The nuns contributed to the school by planning/ raising the idea of adding to the school both student wise and building wise. Ultimately, after establishment more students began enrolling and this forced the need for more buildings and facilities to accommodate these students - this was an extremely important female contribution. After the school increased in number new buildings were commissioned and added, as a result of the nuns ideas. An example of a building thought of and commissioned by the nuns is the chapple. They felt the need to have a beautiful, sacred place to connect with God and unite the community. The chapel is a central part of the school and regarded as one of the finest works of the famous Architect that designed it, John Horbury Hunt. Used by students, staff and the School community for Masses, feast days, weddings and special occasions such as the Vale Mass and the Procession of the Lanterns.

The Chapel
NIGHT OF SONG @ the KRB Chapel

Contributed by Female students - The life and reputation of the school

Kincoppal - Rose Bay is a school mainly full of females and these females contribute to the life and reputation of the school. Through sport, competitions, debating, leadership female students contribute to the reputation of the school portraying it as a great community with spirit - which is exactly what it is. The individual looks and personalities of the students are what make Kincoppal - Rose Bay an interesting, fun community that has true spirit.

Kincoppal - Rose Bay girl swimming at the spirit-full KRB Swimming Carnival 2016

Contributed by female alumnae - Donated money and time to improving the school’s buildings/grounds

Groups of female alumnae from Rose Bay Convent, Kincoppal and Kincoppal - Rose Bay sometimes donate money or specific buildings and monuments to be placed in the school grounds. They do this to show appreciation for their Sacred Heart Education or to be remembered. An example of this in the 'Rose Bay Association,' who donated the Jubilee Gates in 1932 to recognise the 50th anniversary of Rose Bay Convent. These gates are monumental to the school and are historic and special to the school. The gates were officially opened in 1933 on the Feast of Madeline Sophie on the 25th of May. Groups of female alumnae contribute history and money to the school - which is greatly appreciated nowadays, just as it was in the past.

KRB Alumnae 'Rose Bay Association' at the opening of the Jubilee Gates on May 25, 1933

To further invest yourself in the history of the contributions of women at Kincoppal - Rose Bay please click the link below:

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