Duchesne College has a rich history shaped by so many wise women and men and has been beautifully influenced by the values of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

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.

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