In 1874, a group of five nuns left their home in Ireland, bound for a new life half a world away in Wagga.
Their first home in the then-small isolated community was basic. They were given two small rooms in the Catholic presbytery after the priests made way for them.
It was two years before the Presentation Sisters moved into their new home on what is now one of Wagga’s best known sites: Mount Erin.
Modern-day Mount Erin is part of the Kildare Catholic College, but for many years it was a stand-alone convent and girls’ boarding school.
Now the history of one of the city’s most iconic buildings has been preserved, with the official opening of the Mount Erin Heritage Centre.
For Barbara Webber of the Presentation Sisters, the official opening of the centre, which preserves and celebrates the history of the convent and the school, is the culmination of five years' work and many more years of dreaming.
Sr Barbara cut a ribbon with fellow Presentation Sister Anne Lane to officially open the centre, with Father Kevin O’Reilly providing a blessing.
“As a congregation, our numbers had become smaller. We were aware that in the years to come, this story could be lost.
“I just felt it was important that we somehow record that story for future generations because it’s an extraordinary story that has since 1874 been part of the city of Wagga, and so many wonderful women and men have been educated on this site.
“Many, many Presentations Sisters have taught and worked in other areas of social justice in this city and I felt it would be wonderful if we set up a heritage centre.
“We have been planning it since 2013.
“it’s been busy and the wonderful band of my committee, we've worked tirelessly with the help of all the people with the expertise to bring this together, and it’s been a happy time.
It hasn’t been a burden. It’s been a labour of love and gratitude.”
An open day will be held at the new Mount Erin Heritage Centre on Saturday, April 14, between 10am and 4pm.