Mother Gonzaga Barry planned a Loreto foundation in Portland after spending time by the sea convalescing from an illness in around 1882. She was very keen to be able to provide holidays for her nuns and pupils and also a boarding and day school for young children.
Mother Gonzaga and a community of five came to Portland in December 1884 and rented the six room cottage with lean-to belonging to David Edgar in North Bentinck Street. This bluestone cottage had been built by Stephen Henty in the early 1830s and from 1864-1865 had been Mary Mackillop’s family home and school. The house was prepared for the opening of the school on the 2nd February 1885. Mother Boniface Volcker, first Superior, brought the two Misses McManamny and Miss Mary McPhee, the first boarders. On 12th March 1885 the first Mass was offered in the little Convent Chapel by Fr. O’Donoghue.
In 1885 a new wing was built to provide a schoolroom, refectory and dormitory for the growing school. In 1894 the cottage was purchased for £450 and the cottage next door was rented and later purchased in 1903 to become the boys’ college, St. Aloysius, in 1905. A new building with dormitory and schoolroom with bay windows was erected in 1900. A large doll’s house was placed in the bay window overlooking the sea.
In 1903 the wing with the spire was added in front of the old Bayview Cottage. This building had improved accommodation for the nuns and extended chapel.
Sea bathing was an important activity of the early pupils and a route to beach was made to “Nun’s Beach” through “White Gates” for which the convent had the keys and a Bathing Box was constantly rebuilt as the waves continually claimed it. Walks and picnics to “Gove” or Government Paddock were also memorable with boiling the billy and toasting jam sandwiches.
In 1977 Loreto College became an ecumenical, co-educational college. The Christian Community College became known as Bayview in 1996.Soon after, the College became one of the 4 foundation members of the Victorian Ecumenical System of Schools (VESS) and remained a member of this group until the end of 2013.
(Finn, M. Angela “Memoirs” Jones, M. Brigid “Not Counting the Cost, A History of Loreto Convent, Portland”)
Bayview would like to thank Robin Scott, Loreto Province Archivist, for the above information.
Loreto Website: www.loreto.org.au