Duchesne College has a rich history shaped by many and influenced by the values of the Society of the Sacred Heart.
In 2024 we will celebrate 85 years of change, growth, and most importantly, wise women. We hope that you will join us to commemorate this special occasion and celebrate the lasting legacy of friendship and faith at Duchesne College.

At the direct wish of His Grace, Archbishop James Duhig, Duchesne College was founded in March 1937. He invited the Society of the Sacred Heart, a religious order founded in France in 1800 by Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, to take responsibility for the first university college for Catholic women in Queensland. Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat was a firm believer in educating young women.

Archbishop Duhig named the College after a valiant Frenchwoman, Blessed (now Saint) Rose Philippine Duchesne, who was instrumental in bringing the Society of the Sacred Heart to America from France in 1818.

Duchesne College at Stuartholme Convent c1937.

Duchesne College at Oakleigh in New Farm c1947.

Duchesne College at St Lucia c1959.

Duchesne College residents gathered on the Colonnade.



The College opens with three students in a wing of Stuartholme Convent, Toowong, a boarding school for girls under the direction of the Religious of the Sacred Heart.

During World War II the school is evacuated and used by the American Army as a base hospital.


The College reopens at the request of Archbishop Duhig at a site called ‘Oakleigh’ in New Farm. The College remains there for 12 years.

Duchesne College is established at its present site in St Lucia within The University of Queensland.

Cardinal Agagianian visits the College and notes in the Visitor’s Book ‘Vivat, Crescat, Floreat!’ – May she live, may she grow, may she flourish.

The College’s inaugural Principal, Sister Joan Percy-Dove, retires after making an outstanding contribution to Duchesne College. Alumnae endow a partial scholarship in her name.

Rose Philippine Duchesne is canonised in Rome. Her feast day is celebrated on 18 November each year.

The College celebrates its Jubilee commemorated by the opening of the Jubilee Wing.

The College celebrates its 70th anniversary, 50 years at St Lucia and the opening of the Rose Philippine Wing.

The 75th anniversary is marked by a variety of celebrations, and coincides with the centenary of the passing of the great Sacred Heart Educator, Mother Janet Erskine Stuart.

Duchesne College looks forward to celebrating its 85th anniversary.

Duchesne College 85th Anniversary

2024 marks 85 years of Duchesne College. Here’s how we’ll be celebrating:

  • We’re hosting a Long Lunch for our Duchesne community on Saturday 25 May. Students, alumni, and friends of Duchesne will be invited to join in celebrating 85 years of the college. The Long Lunch will be held in place of the Ball originally scheduled for 20 April 2024.
    Save The Date and keep an eye out for an invitation in your inbox!
  • We’ll be building our archives. If you have a story to tell from your days at Duchesne, we want to hear about it!
    Email engagement@duchesne.uq.edu.au to submit your story and photos.
  • We’ll be sharing 85 memories throughout the year tracking the history and stories of Duchesne College.
    FOLLOW US on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to take a trip down memory lane.

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