A group of people took up a call to lovingly restore the Sacred Heart College urupa where the founding Sisters lie.

Sacred Heart College community comes together

Published on Wednesday, 23 September 2020, 1:21 p.m. Print Article

Sacred Heart College students, and generations to come, will be able to remember the school’s founding sisters with a dedicated quiet space.

It comes after the school community lovingly cleared the overgrown gardens around the urupa (burial site) where 12 of the founding Misson Sisters lie.

PTA chair Sue Boyle said it was “beautiful” to see about 30 people within the school community come together for the greater good of the school.

“We put out a call to our community and we had no idea how many people we would get but there was just this influx of gorgeous people with chainsaws, axes and spades.

“It was wonderful to see all the people, including kids hauling tree branches and emptying buckets, and I’d like to thank everyone who was able to make the working bee.”

The urupa was overrun with trees and bushes before the working bee, held on one Sunday earlier this month and it is believed it had not been tended to for years.

The initial idea had been to plant a low maintenance garden but given the amount of space uncovered, Ms Boyle said part of that will become quiet space for students complete with a grassed seating area.

While there are open spaces around the school where the girls can sit, this area will be “slightly more quiet, enclosed and reflective”.

“It’s now a usable space for our students and that’s so important. It enhances not only the look of the school but our students' enjoyment of the area.”

The Sisters were buried at the onsite urupa from the 1800s to 1936, starting with Mother Mary, Sister Elizabeth in 1891.

Originally the urupa was on the hill behind the school but as the school has grown and developed over the years it is now in the middle of the school and is surrounded by gardens and tennis courts.

Ms Boyle said the working bee was “such a success” that they are considering holding another one shortly to finish off the work and get the area ready to turn it into a quiet space.

Principal Maria Neville-Foster says she is “very proud” of the school’s heritage.

“It is a very important part of the school and this is one way to honour the Sisters who sacrificed a lot for the school." 

While Covid-19 and the subsequent levels has disrupted the PTA’s calendar for the year, an unlikely positive has come out of it.

Ms Boyle says they have been forced to do different activities they wouldn’t normally have done.

“Covid has interrupted some of the more traditional PTA functions and we decided that we would concentrate on building up our community and bringing them together.” 

The working bee was the second event of the year. On September 4, they hosted a “very successful” quiz night at the Taradale Club, where 100 people attended, and just over $1000 was raised for the school.

A ‘Bake-Off’ was also started with the school houses competing against each other to bake goods for sale. The first Bake-Off raised around $300, however, this event was postponed under Level 2 and will start again at Level 1.

However, it does mean that the PTA will only raise about $1500 towards a school project – well short of the $8000-$10,000 they would expect to have raised by the end of the year.

The knock-on effect is the $25,000 “all-weather turf” they were hoping to install will take longer than expected.

“We thought it would take two years, so it will be an extension of the timeframe in which we can achieve that for our girls.”

“It will happen but not as quickly as we would have liked, but that is the new normal and there has been a positive effect though in that the PTA has been forced to look at different activities.” 

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