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Presentation Sisters Tasmania

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
A statue of Nano Nagle holding a heart

Awarded for service to education and training

Arrived in 1866

Entered on roll: 2021

Spend yourselves for the poor

The Presentation Sisters came to Hobart in 1866 to establish schools to teach impoverished children. After establishing St Mary’s College in Hobart, and a ‘poor school’ St Columba’s, on the same site, the Sisters soon opened other schools in Launceston, Bellerive, Lindisfarne, Queenstown, Beaconsfield, George Town, Karoola, Lilydale, Longford, and took over the already established school at New Norfolk.

The Presentation Sisters have educated thousands of Tasmanians and provided opportunities for quality and practical education where none existed. Had it not been for St Columba’s School, thousands of Hobart children in the latter part of the 19th century might not have received any education.

Since the 1970s, when some of the smaller schools closed, the Sisters have gone out into the community as pastoral workers, caring for immigrants, refugees and the marginalised in society.  When the numbers of young women entering religious life declined, the Sisters continued to operate their schools with lay teachers, but the Presentation philosophy of welcome, simplicity, compassion and hospitality continues.  St Mary’s College students and staff continue to financially support a wide range of charities.

The Tasmanian Sisters have strongly supported their international Sisters in missions in Papua New Guinea, India and the Philippines, working with some of the most impoverished people in the world. In the past, Tasmanian Sisters have worked in Papua New Guinea in the Sandaun Province, to provide educational opportunities for girls and young women.

The foundress of the Presentation Sisters, Nano Nagle, exhorted “Spend yourselves for the poor”. This philosophy underpins their actions.

Despite falling numbers, the Presentation Sisters continue to serve on some the Governing Councils and Boards of schools they founded.

In 2018, the Sisters gifted a large parcel of Blackmans Bay land to the Tasmanian people on the condition the land be used for affordable housing and supported accommodation for vulnerable women, people with disabilities and families in need.

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