Our Story

Situated on the land of the Burramatta people and founded by the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, Catherine McAuley Westmead is a Catholic girls’ school with a strong Mercy charism.

Located at Westmead, in close proximity to the central business district of Parramatta, there are currently 1200 students enrolled in the school, with over 350 of these in Years 11 and 12.



A Strong Tradition

History of Catherine McAuley Westmead

Founded by the Mercy Sisters, Catherine McAuley Westmead has a strong Mercy charism.

The school began in 1966 as a Catholic secondary school for girls in Years 7 to 10 on the present site. Years 11 and 12 were introduced in 1966. Today it offers comprehensive education for girls from Years 7 to 12. The school operates within Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta. We pride ourselves on being authentic followers of the vision of the Venerable Catherine McAuley.

Catherine McAuley was born in Ireland in 1778 and knew hardship early in her life. After the death of her parents Catherine and her siblings relied on the charity of relatives for survival. Catherine was a courageous, compassionate woman whose early experiences shaped her life’s work in caring for the disadvantaged. An inheritance enabled her to establish a centre to assist the poor of Dublin, known as the House of Mercy.

Her faith in the God of Mercy, her commitment to the Good News of Jesus Christ, led her to dedicate herself to serving the poor, sick and uneducated. Throughout her life she was deeply aware of the human suffering caused by social, economic and religious injustice.

Catherine’s community at Callan in Ireland was invited by Cardinal Moran to work in Australia and the Sisters arrived in Parramatta in 1888.

When a new Catholic school for girls was opened at Westmead in 1966 under the charter of the Sisters of Mercy, it was a fitting tribute to name the school in honour of Catherine McAuley. The values of the Sisters of Mercy still guide the school and its community in the 21st century, as the school motto encourages students ‘to strive for higher things’.





Principals of Catherine McAuley


Sister Mary Eugene Dobson rsm



Sister Mary Anne Ryan rsm

1967 - 1973


Sister Mary Sophie McGrath rsm

1974 - 1977


Sister Edith Angel rsm

1978 - 1981


Mr Jan Jolley

1982 - 1984


Sister Barbara McDonough rsm

1984 - 1987


Mr Michael Keating

1988 - 1995


Mrs Hilary Johnston-Croke

1996 - 2005


Ms Margery Jackman

2005 - 2014


Ms Laetitia Richmond

2014 - 2019


Mrs Mary Refalo

2019 -

View Principal's Welcome



Innovative learning at Catherine McAuley Westmead

Innovative Learning and Teaching

Catherine McAuley is a vibrant, diverse and multicultural community with an expert, innovative and dedicated teaching staff. This allows for a broad curriculum, with flexible choices that cater for the wide range of student interests and abilities. We are a comprehensive school that is inclusive and equitable. Our approach to learning prioritises the skills required for young women to actively participate in a dynamic world as autonomous lifelong learners who are connected, adaptable, discerning and articulate. An extensive extra curricular program provides a holistic education and enables students to experience success and achieve excellence in a wide variety of areas.

Learning  Alumni