New Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre opens at OLMC Parramatta

Sr Ailsa Mackinnon RSM: 'To call it a community centre speaks volumes about the importance of community to OLMC.'
OLMC student Annie Gittany uses an umbrella to shelter Sr Ailsa Mackinnon RSM and Dr Geoff Lee MP at the opening. Image: OLMC Parramatta.

The new Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre at Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta was officially opened by Dr Anne Bunde-Birouste and blessed by Bishop Vincent Long  OFM Conv on 17 February 2017. The special afternoon event was attended by Sr Ailsa Mackinnon RSM, the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, members of the College Board and Alumnae, College staff, students and parents, as well as a host of special guests, including Dr Geoff Lee MP, the state Member for Parramatta.

At the opening of the Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre. Image: OLMC Parramatta.

Named after Sr Ailsa Mackinnon RSM, who was Principal of the College from 1990 to 2004, the new community centre is located at the corner of O’Connell Street and Victoria Road, North Parramatta. It features an indoor multi-purpose sports and gathering place with seating for approximately 1200 as well as four teaching and learning spaces, a roof top outdoor sport area and a gymnasium.

Sr Ailsa said she was honoured to have a building named after her and pleased that it is a community centre dedicated to physical education. “To call it a community centre speaks volumes about the importance of community to OLMC,” she said. “It’s also a beautifully constructed building that is light and airy with plenty of space for physical activities. Students are encouraged to reach their potential at OLMC and it is important to have facilities such as this building to help enable this. I feel that naming buildings after Sisters of Mercy helps to keep the history of the College alive and reminds the community of the importance of living the Mercy values.”

In his address, Bishop Vincent congratulated Sr Ailsa, who is Vicar for Consecrated Life in the Diocese of Parramatta. “This building is truly magnificent and an icon. It has set a very high standard for other civic buildings nearby,” Bishop Vincent said.

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv congratulated Sr Ailsa Mackinnon RSM. Image: OLMC Parramatta.

“I congratulate the College Board, and all those whose vision and hard work have produced this great addition to OLMC. You can be very proud that your efforts have come to fruition in such a successful way. We rejoice and give thanks at the opening of this building. This is a celebration not just of a building but, above all, talents that will be developed, lives that will be transformed, relationships that will be affirmed and enhanced.

“When St Francis was told ‘go and rebuild the Church’, he was commissioned to do much more than a physical structure. He repaired, rebuilt and reimagined the Church according to the radical vision of the Gospel. Similarly, what we celebrate today is the expression of our commitment to that same vision. This new building serves to remind us that we are here to build community and relationships, to educate, to enhance and to bring the best out of every student.”

Internationally respected for her expertise in social change, Dr Anne Bunde-Birouste is the driving force behind Football United – a program that uses the magic of the ‘world game’, together with other strategies, to inspire young people, to foster their educational engagement and to promote social justice and cross-cultural harmony. Anne is Convener of Health Promotion at the University of NSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine and is passionate about demonstrating how sport can help young people build self-esteem and forge strong community bonds.

OLMC’s Principal, Stephen Walsh, said the community was very excited about the opportunities the brand new community centre will bring. “The magnificent new sports facilities and contemporary learning spaces will perfectly complement the mix of learning areas already in use at the College. It will be especially wonderful to have a space large enough to fit the whole school and guests; it will further enhance our very strong sense of community.”

The Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre is the final element of an ambitious master plan which began in 2008 and saw the construction of the Janet Woods Building (featuring multiple, fully equipped Science labs, a new library, state of the art Food Technology spaces and a botany room), a new dedicated Student Centre, a Dance Studio and the purpose-built Christina Creede Music Centre.

Established in 1889 by the Sisters of Mercy, OLMC Parramatta is a leading independent Catholic girls’ school that provides contemporary learning and academic excellence in the rich Mercy tradition.

The College is hosting an Open Day for prospective students and their families from 10am-2.00pm on Sunday 12 March 2017. There will be a Principal’s Welcome at 10.00am and noon. To register for the Open Day, click here.

On Tuesday 21 March, Year 7, 2019 families are invited to an Enrolment Information Evening commencing at 5.30pm. Collect an enrolment pack, enjoy a tour of the College and meet the Leadership Team and staff. For more information, visit For inquiries, click here.


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