Heath Learning Centre Opens at Mount Lilydale Mercy College

On Tuesday 27 February 2024, after a long and arduous building process, Stage 3 of the College’s Master Plan, the new Heath Learning Centre and the refurbished Campbell Visual Arts Centre were officially blessed by College Chaplain Father Dean Bradbury and officially opened by Mr. Christopher Houlihan, Chief Executive of Mercy Education. At the same time, the College took the opportunity to bless the refurbished Sinnott Visual Arts Centre, which was never officially opened after COVID-19.

Without detailing the extensive processes to produce the buildings, a new Master Plan was launched late in 2015, which at the time, contained 10 stages of development, outlined over 10,500sqm of development.

The construction of the Mercy Learning Centre was Stage 1 of that process, with floorspace of over half an acre. It was a major undertaking and was opened in August 2019. It now houses our Year 12 cohort.

Almost immediately the College moved to Stage 2 of the revisited Master Plan, which was the refurbishment of the Sister Rosalie Sinnott building.

This was to be the start of the creation of our dream for a Visual Arts precinct in our College. It was a dream of an idea based on a New York-style gallery which housed two very large studios including pottery/clay room and spray booths, and huge storage cupboards. Downstairs was a well-appointed photography studio.

The build process was punctuated by a long period of stopping and starting work through lockdowns and limited staff on site, and so the build time blew out by some months.

Students did eventually occupy the building towards the end of 2021, but we were never able to officially open or bless it.

Almost immediately the College moved to Stage 3 of our Master Plan, which consisted of the demolition of our Year 10 block and art rooms, the Glenys Heath block. The demolition of the Ford buildings, which were essentially relocatable buildings which had been altered many times over the years and were used as Visual Communication and Design rooms and classrooms, and the gutting of the Campbell building, which were Art and Media rooms. The concept is a simple one, whereby we are trying to reduce our footprint while increasing floorspace and facilities.

Stage 3 has been a mammoth task.

What was supposed to be 30 days of rock breaking very quickly turned into 96 days, and thus the period of elongation started. Students were originally planned to move into these facilities by July 2023, but they were unable to move in until the beginning of this year.

These past two years have been very difficult in the building industry and, despite all the issues faced, the quality of the building has not been compromised and will serve MLMC for many decades to come.

The Stage 3 facility houses classrooms for the future, numbering 11 as well as staff offices, toilets, locker bays, Visual Communication studios, Art and Media studios and impressive open passive recreation areas.

These facilities provide for a very well-appointed senior campus. We are blessed to have them.


2024 Open Day

A change from a night-time event to a weekend event combined with some warm and sunny weather meant the classrooms, buildings and grounds of Mount Lilydale Mercy College were buzzing with people for Open Day on Sunday 3 March.

More than 700 guests joined us to see what our College has to offer, with our students and staff shining examples of the wonderful community we have at MLMC. They are the best people to share their experiences and sell our school to prospective students and their families, and they did a marvellous job as every learning area of the College put on a show.

A welcome from the Principal, Mr. Philip Morison emphasised that “when you are choosing a school, you are also choosing a community,” and this message was tangible in every space of the College.

Our Year 10 Peer Support leaders and Year 7 Level Leaders were kept busy in the Mansfield building answering questions about the transition to high school and what happens in Year 7 at MLMC.

As always, there was so much to see and do in the Science labs. Youngsters could touch and feel Science in action by watching Science Prefect Mia S do a rat dissection or see Mrs. Morison create oohs and aahs from the young crowd as she made elephant toothpaste bubble over the beaker or create a flash of flame with burning methane, or kids could make slime. Members of the STEM Club were also busy, displaying Lego robotics and Physics in action.

A touch of nostalgia and pride in our legacy was another highlight in the quadrangle, which was a popular stop for parents and Old Collegians to reminisce as they moved from McAuley library to the Year 9 Horizons display before heading into the Technology area to see Design and Technology and Textiles displays or taste a delicious choc chip cookie or scone provided by the Food Technology staff.

The range and nature of activities in the Mercy Learning Centre along with some impressive displays on Careers, First Aid, Counselling and Wellbeing Services, Mathematics and English, with the Barak Library downstairs another stop, left our visitors with plenty to engage with.

Holding rehearsals for the College Musical ‘The Addams Family’ drew in the crowds, alongside screen printing and painting which were popular activities in the Visual Arts area, while the Humanities and Languages faculties had plenty of hands-on activities for children of all ages as people walked through our new Heath Learning Centre.

There was high energy in the Doyle Centre, where families could ask questions about our VET Sport and Recreation program, witness our students taking part in Health and Physical Education activities or watch our newly established Liverpool Academy football squad go through their paces.

With a mix of Music performances, from a cappella high notes from the Choir to our rock band’s heavy sounds at Centennial Hall, or acoustic guitar performances next to Catherine’s Cafe, there was a real presence of our students’ musical talent and prowess.

Families could look at our McAuley Park Farm sheep, watch a Music performance, grab a drink from Catherine’s Cafe crafted by our VCE-VM students and staff or a sausage from the Parents and Friends’ Association sausage sizzle, all in a matter of 30 steps.

It was a wonderful day for the community to see what we do. 

2024 Community Mass

Our annual Community Mass was celebrated on Thursday 22 March, and, despite a very warm and stormy evening, it was wonderful to see so many people in attendance. During the Mass, the College Chaplain Father Dean Bradbury reflected on the Mercy value of Respect and treating others as we would like to be treated.

After Communion, the College Principal Mr. Philip Morison spoke about the importance of community and family.

The Year 7 cohort was welcomed into our community, and each received their College badge along with all students new to Years 8 to 11. The Year 12 students were presented with a special badge and reminded of how important they are as role models as they complete their final year of schooling.

Fr Dean blessed Bibles, and these will be presented to new students in their Religious Education classes.

Meet Our New Deputy Principal

As the 2024 academic year began at MLMC, Mr. Adam Skoczylas joined our community as the new Executive Deputy Principal. It is a new role at MLMC, with Adam involved in the day to day running of the College, looking after staff requirements, supporting the three Deputy Principals, looking at the strategic planning of the College and anything else that the College requires.

Previously, Adam spent 26 years at Mercy College in Mackay, Queensland. “I was looking for a new challenge. This role allowed me to continue doing the things I like but also present me with new areas to further develop,” Adam said. “I hope to bring some new ideas to the College.”

Adam said that no two days at the College are the same, and he likes that.

“I still love going to the classroom and engaging with students with mathematics. I’m always looking for new ideas and ways of doing things within the school.”

Adam comes to us after quite a bit of travel. “I was born in NSW but have lived in Melbourne, Malaysia, London, Brisbane and Mackay over my years.”

We warmly welcome Adam to the MLMC community and hope that he is here to stay for a while.