Prayer, Service, Justice captures history of Irene McCormack College

16 Sep 2021

By The Record

The Irene McCormack Catholic College community is this year celebrating 20 years of providing Catholic education.

To commemorate the milestone achievement, the College will release an historical account of its first 20 years.

From humble beginnings of a mere 30 enrolments in 2002 and temporary accommodation in vacant shops in Balmoral Parade, Merriwa, the College has developed into the current state-of-the-art facilities on campus in Bradman Drive, Butler.

Irene McCormack Catholic College, The First 20 Years – Prayer, Service, Justice, officially launched on 26 August, recounts the story of the foundation and the development of the College. 

After 20 years, it remains the most northerly Catholic secondary school in the Perth metropolitan area. 

The history book also reflects the development of the location of Butler and surrounds, in the City of Wanneroo.

The work written by Mrs Rosalie Richardson, reflects her passion for the college and her relationship with staff and students, past and present.

Mrs Richardson enthusiastically embraced the idea of writing the College history and has energetically made the idea a reality.

Mrs Richardson, who joined the College Staff in 2008, has for many years been responsible for Semilla, the College Yearbook.

Sister Irene’s sister Bernadette McCormack, brother John McCormack, staff members, including Irene McCormack Foundation Principal Paul Rafter, current Principal Robert Marshall, students, parents and friends of the College, have provided accounts of their time and experience at the College.

Irene McCormack Catholic College has provided thousands of students with a quality Catholic Education to enable them to step into society and make an impact for the benefit of others in the spirit of the College motto Prayer Service and Justice.   

West Australian-born Sr McCormack was raised on a farm at Trayning, near New Norcia and very early on emerged as a vibrant, determined and fun-loving girl.

She was sent to boarding school at Santa Maria College and it soon became evident that she had two great loves – to serve God and to educate young people.

After joining the Sisters of St Joseph she spent many years teaching in schools in country areas.

She constantly challenged the Bishops to act more justly in providing resources for country children – for her it was an issue of justice. 

On 21 May 1991, Sr McCormack and five others were dragged to the village square by the rebels, told to lie face down and executed by a shot to the back of the head. Sr McCormack’s ‘crime’ in the eyes of her murderers was caring for, working with and handing out Caritas food parcels to the impoverished villagers.

The College History Book is available to purchase at a cost of $10 from the College Reception or complete the online order form at