Mystery stone replaced by plaque for history

Presentation Sisters and St Mary’s College students and teachers gathered for the unveiling of the replacement foundation plaque on Monday 15 August.

In August 1866, while the founding Presentation Sisters were still bound for Hobart from Ireland by sea, Archbishop Daniel Murphy laid the foundation stone of the convent building, which is now St Mary’s College.

As the founding Presentation Sisters weren’t present to see the foundation stone laid, its location has remained a longstanding mystery. However, the new plaque commemorates that first stone, laid when building on the site commenced.

The St Mary’s College site was the beginning of the Presentation Sisters’ educational endeavours in Australia.

Congregation Leader of the Presentation Sisters in Tasmania, Sr Gabrielle Morgan said the plaque serves the important historical purpose of preserving historical facts for future generations.

“We can’t locate the foundation stone so mounting the plaque is a pretty important step for the future,” she said.

“When we are all gone, people will wonder where the foundation stone is.  For the students it is also important because it is history.”

St Mary’s College Principal, Helen Spencer said the unveiling was purposely scheduled to coincide with Catholic Education Week as well as one of the biggest feast days of Our Lady.

“It’s the Feast of the Assumption today so we thought it would be an appropriate day, given that the College is named St Mary’s, Ms Spencer said.