Catholic secondary education commenced in Shepparton on February 23, 1902, when the Sisters of Mercy opened Sacred Heart College with an enrolment of nineteen boys and girls ranging in age from six to sixteen.
For some fifty years, the Sisters were responsible for Catholic secondary education in the area and catered not only for day pupils, many of whom were from other Christian denominations, but also for boarders. Then the Marist Brothers were invited to conduct a Secondary College for boys and so, on July 9, 1951, St Colman’s College commenced with an enrolment of one hundred and five boys from Grade 5 to Form 3 (Year 9).
Both Colleges began to expand in the early 1960s and extensive building projects were undertaken to cater for the increasing enrolments. In the following decade the possibility of some form of rationalisation of resources and shared classes was explored at length. Finally, in April 1983, a decision was taken by the Bishop of Sandhurst and the Superiors of the two religious congregations concerned to amalgamate the two Colleges in 1984. The new College was given the name of Notre Dame College. This name is derived from the French translation of Our Lady, a title used universally by Catholics for Mary, the Mother of God. We are the only College of this name amongst the Catholic Secondary Colleges of Australia. Since the two religious orders historically involved in the College, the Marist Brothers and the Sisters of Mercy, are both dedicated to Mary, their common tradition is symbolised by this choice of name.
Notre Dame College occupies the buildings and grounds of its predecessors and the administration centre is situated in the former Convent of Mercy. Late in 1998, Notre Dame College and St Brendan’s Primary school moved into a shared reception area situated between the College and the Primary school.
Notre Dame College moved from being a co-sponsored College involving the Sisters of Mercy, the Marist Brothers, and the Bishop of Sandhurst as Governors to a Parish-based College, with the Parish Priest of St. Brendan’s Shepparton as the Canonical Administrator in 2008.
Following an extensive period of investigation, an applied learning orientated curriculum was designed for our Year 9 students, and purpose-designed facilities were built on the Emmaus Campus. The Year 9 students moved to the Emmaus Campus in 2009.
Our specialized McAuley Champagnat Programme which was established in 2005, also moved to the Emmaus Campus in 2010.
Notre Dame College derives its strength and vision for the future from the long tradition of service to Catholic education provided for over a century to the people of the Shepparton area.