We say: Education is still the key to helping children to succeed

As a building, Mount Erin is easily recognisable.

The imposing red brick structure has overlooked Wagga since the 1870s and anyone who has lived in our city either went to Mount Erin, or knows someone who did.

Now a part of Kildare Catholic College, the school has a rich history of educating Wagga children, and for providing essential boarding facilities.

Orgiinally overseen by the Presentation Sisters, the school has been integral to the success of Wagga’s young people for more than a century.

It has a rich and fascinating history and now, with the official opening of the Mount Erin Heritage Centre, the story of how the school came to be established has been preserved for all time.

It is the tale of five Irish nuns who left their homes and travelled into the unknown, bravely answering a call for help in the sparsely populated rural community.

Their courage and perseverance saw a convent and school established in Wagga, with the Presentation Sisters vowing that no child would be turned away.

Clearly, the sisters recognised the value of education, and what they held dear has not diminished in importance as the decades have passed.

In those early days, the sisters’ assistance in helping a child learn to read and write would have set them up for a better life.

Those “three Rs” have been the key to lifting people out of poverty for centuries.

Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press is understandably recognised as one of the most important inventions in modern history because it enabled the mass dissemination of written information.

Just as Gutenberg recognised the value of the written word, so did Wagga’s pioneering Presentation Sisters.

They saw the value of education, and worked with extraordinary devotion to make sure Wagga’s children had their chance to acquire these skills.

As Wagga grew, the educational opportunities expanded along with it.

Now, in the 21st Century, Wagga has earned a sterling reputation for its schools.

From preschools to tertiary campuses – public and private – the city is lucky to have excellent facilities where the next generation of devoted educators can share the same message that those five plucky Presentation Sisters brought with them in the 1870s: Learning matters.