As the College celebrated it’s 90th Anniversary in 2018, we would like to share snippets of our history with you.

#1 – Kemendine 

This photo is of the original Loreto Coorparoo building. It is situated on land purchased by the Deshon family in 1885. The house was built in 1889 and was named “Kemendine.” The Deshon family lived there for almost forty years, until it was purchased by Archbishop Duhig. In September 1927 two Loreto Sisters visited Brisbane and agreed to establish a school on the site in Cavendish Rd.  In December 1927 six Loreto Sisters came and prepared the house. In January these six sisters returned south and were replaced by five sisters who constituted the first Loreto community at Coorparoo. The Loreto Sisters purchased the house and 3 acres of land for 4,500 pounds. The building became known as the “Pink Building” until it was demolished in January 1977. It stood adjacent to the “Casket Building” where the “rotunda” now stands.

Kemendine House

#2 – Deshon Family 

The original Loreto Coorparoo building, “Kemendine”, was built by Edward Deshon and his wife Emily Marion Sawyer in 1889. The house was sold to the Catholic Church three years after Edward’s 1924 death but the Deshon family connection with Loreto was maintained. There was a later Loreto purchase of another Deshon property on Cavendish Road, multiple inter-generational Deshon children attended Loreto and John Deshon, architect and a past pupil of Loreto junior school, designed the current Gonzaga Barry Building, including the Chapel. It was in honour of this ongoing connection that the 1994 redevelopment of the Loreto landscape fronting Cavendish Road was named the “Deshon Oval”.

Edward Deshon


Front of the College in the early 1960s. Current site of Deshon Oval


Deshon Oval 1994


Chapel plaque

#3 – Casket Building

The unusually named “Casket Building”, the oldest extant Loreto Coorparoo building, stands in the the middle of the school’s grounds.

The ground and first floor of the building were built in 1931 adjacent to the pre-existing “Kemendine”.

The third floor was added in 1933:

The “Casket Building” is so named as it was built from the 5000 pounds winning proceeds of the Golden Casket in 1929. The winning ticket had been gifted to the Sisters by Alice Cummins, a past pupil from Loreto Adelaide and a friend of Mother Crescentia Collins, Superior of the Coorparoo community of Loreto Sisters.

Over the years the casket building has housed a boarding-school dormitory, the boarder’s dining room, the nun’s kitchen, bathrooms, offices, classrooms, a drama room.

#4 – First Students

Loreto College Coorparoo commenced in February 1928 with an enrolment of seven students, pictured below.

February 1928

Pictured from top to bottom – Frances Page, Marie Hanlon, Mary Herbert, Esther Tully, Ray Gaskin, Margaret Mackay (First pupil enrolled) and Evelyn Tully.

By 1932 the number of students had increased to 42 students, pictured below.


Left to right:

Back row Moya Doyle, Ruth Winship, Mary de Silva
6th row Peg Leseberg, Syble Douglas
5th row Gwen Hanman, Nancy Verry, Peggy Maguire, Joan Carrick, Joan Hooper, Lorraine Francis, Margaret Challand
4th row Joyce Fullagar, P. O’Neill.
3rd row Moya Weller, Nell Monaghan, Bernadine Hanman, Margaret Mackay, Madeleine Hoey, Margaret Campbell, Helen Fitzpatrick, Suzanne Ahern, Mary Scott, Ray Gaskin, Jean Laidlaw.
2nd row Joan Nowotny, Mary-Lou Weller, Peggy Webb, Peg Monaghan, Carmel Maguire, Joan Maguire, Mary Maguire, Joan Kenneally, Daphne Watts, Claire Quilty, Patsy Nowotny
Sitting on mat Helen Grant, Pam Smyth, Joan Gregg, John Lahz, Stan Carrick, Colless Lahz.

A few eclectic anecdotes of individuals in this group of 1932 students include one going on to star in films in Hollywood and England, another becoming the archivist at Loreto Coorparoo, two becoming Loreto Sisters and another receiving an MBE and working as personal secretary to Senator Flo Bjelke-Petersen.

#5 – The Early Sisters At Loreto Coorparoo

In December 1927 six Loreto Sisters came and prepared the property “Kemendine” for the opening of the school in 1928.  In January these six sisters returned south and were replaced by five sisters who constituted the first Loreto community at Coorparoo. This community was led by Mother Crescentia Collins who was accompanied by Mother Bonaventure, Mother Paula, Mother Pia and Sister Ambrose.


(Pictured in 1931: Sister Pius, Mother Gertrude, Mother Stella, Mother Rosario, Sister James, Mother Crescentia, Sister Leonard, Mother Paula)

Sisters Who Lived And Worked In Brisbane Loreto 1928-1959

M. Crescentia ColIins
M. Bonventure Martyn
M. James Nicholson
M. Margaret Mary Fields
M. Ambrose Broderick
M. Gertrude Mooney
M. Paula Leahy
M. Pia Cody
M. Imelda ColIins
M. Rosario North
M. Malachy Wilson
M. Agatha Donnelly
M. Stella Fleming
M. de Chantal Classon
M. F Regis McDonnell
M Rosa Serong ( Angela)
M. Raymond Drew (Marion)
M. Sylvester O’Malley
M. Leonard Washington
M. Pius Miller
M. Thaddeus Murtagh
M. lta Kehoe
M. Teresa Gertrude O’Sullivan
M. Louis Elwood
M. Juliana Coughlan
M. Dolores Molloy
M. Judith Sullivan
M. Joseph McEvoy (Kathleen)
M. Ephrem McDermott
M. Ignacio Hallion
M. EulaIia HyIand
M. Melissa Mullany
M. Loyola Webb
M. Joseph Michael Ritchie
M. Margarita FarIey
M. Labre Bowron
M. CarmelIa GaIIivan
M. Winifred Stack (Catherine)
M. Paul Ziesing (Paula)
M. Isidore Byme (Lucy)
M. Xaveria Hannan (Margaret)
M. Mellitus Reid (Teresa)
M. Peter Hogan
M. Teresa Lowery
M. Dominic Jones
M. Bernarda Suffern (Doreen)
M. Stanislaus Murray (Mary)
M. Therese Daly
M. RomuaId Sharkey
M. Enda Desmond
M Consolata O’Connor (Veronica)
M. Beatrice Hannan
M. Fidelma Walshe
M. Eugene Power (Mary)
M. Anthony Flynn (Clare)
M. Consuelo Braithwaite
  M. Augustine O’Brien (Celia)
M. Borromeo Gardiner (Claire)
M. John Berchmans Anderson (Anne)
M. Helen Stevenson
M. F. Xavier O’Brien (Mary)
M. Alphonsus Dillon (Sonia)
M. Josephine Collins (Jennifer)
M. CoIumba O’ReiIIy
M. Cecilia Browne (Deirdre)
M. Perpetua Mooney
M. Reparatrice Reid (Veronica)
M. Martina Diggs (Shirley)
M. Jude Lane
M. Dympna Conroy


(Pictured 1943 or 1944: S.M. Ephrem, S.M. Thaddeus, M.M. Loyola, M.M. Carmella, M.M. Rosario, M.M. Paul, M.M. Margarita, S.M. Labre, M.M. J Michael, M.M. Winifred, M.M. Melissa, M.M. Gertrude [sitting])

Mother Dominic Jones