Australian hero inspires new name for Emu Plains Catholic College

2019 Penola Catholic College Emu Plains 1

2019 Penola Catholic College Emu Plains 2


From 2020, McCarthy Catholic College will have a new name, recognising education pioneer St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. The well-known local school will be known as Penola Catholic College Emu Plains.


Penola is the place where St Mary of the Cross Mackillop and Father Julian Tenison-Woods started a school, beginning their work of extending the opportunities of education to thousands of Australian children and young people.

College Principal Leader Tania Cairns said that the school draws strength from values and example of St Mary MacKillop.

“Our learning community looks to the life of this strong woman and her work in education for inspiration,” Tania said.

“We’re very proud of the strong reputation the College is developing for learning and teaching in the Penrith and Lower Mountains areas.”

The school was established in 1986 as a senior secondary college and became a comprehensive Year 7 to 12 school in 1999. Well-known graduates include State Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres MP and Rugby League legend Brad Fittler.

The only Catholic school in NSW to be part of the prestigious P-TECH program, students have the opportunity to benefit from strong community and business partnerships with Telstra, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Western Sydney University.

The announcement that the school will be called Penola Catholic College from 2020 follows considerable reflection among the school community. The history of the College and the McCarthy name will continue to be recognised and acknowledged in a variety of ways at Penola Catholic College as well as at the McCarthy campus of CathWest Innovation College.