Gracing the crest of Athelstane Range stands Genazzano, a beautiful building with high arches, striking red bricks, heavenwardly cross topped turrets, built in a bygone era but alive with the buzz and energy of over 100 Boarders preparing for a party.

It’s Genazzano’s Birthday, 100th Birthday, and the bunting bearing the school crests of both Our Lady of Good Counsel Range College and The Cathedral College deck the Rec Room that has been the gathering place of young women and girls for a century in the pursuit of a Catholic education.

Young Boarders in blazers from Agnes Water, Theodore, Blackall and beyond greeted guests to honour and give thanks for the courageous visionaries, builders, educators, supervisors, cleaners, cooks, gardeners, carers, managers and administrative staff that created Genazzano and continued its mission for the past 100 years.

Genazzano has provided a ‘home away from home’ for girls across Central Queensland through the faith, foresight, wisdom and courage of a band of women determined to provide an accessible education for girls. In 1920 these determined women, the Sisters of Mercy, inspired by their founder Catherine McAuley, imbued with a sense of mission to educate girls for bright and promising futures, bold in their vision and deep in their faith, laid Genazzano’s foundation stone and in 1921 they opened the doors. In 1991 The Sisters of Mercy passed the mantle over to Catholic Education Diocese of Rockhampton and The Cathedral College, and last week they gathered to celebrate Genazzano’s centenary together.

Bishop Michael McCarthy presided over the liturgy that launched Genazzano Home on the Range 1921 – 2021 an historical summation and reflection by Sr Joanne Molloy RSM, blessed the Catherine McAuley Memorial Frieze and Rose Garden and shared the celebration cake by award winning cake maker Councillor Drew Wickerson.

Special guest speakers were Leesa Jeffcoat, Director, Catholic Education Diocese of Rockhampton and Rob Alexander, Principal of The Cathedral College.  Former Range College Principal and past Boarder, currently the CEO of Mercy International Association Sr Berneice Loch RSM delivered a message from House of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland built by the Venerable Catherine McAuley in 1827.  Sr Berneice encouraged the continuation of Catherine’s mission to provide a quality Catholic education to young women and girls.

The occasion attracted Rockhampton’s Sisters of Mercy, many of them elderly who gathered in the room built by their forebears. Past Boarders including Sr Carmel Hynes and Sr Pat Wood shared stories and Boarding tales over a ‘cuppa’ with the youngest Boarders Sophie Carew and Scarlet Bullemor from Anakie and Springsure.

Sophie and Scarlet join generations of Boarders since 1921 from across Central Queensland and beyond who have found a ‘home away from home’ in Genazzano.

Happy 100th Birthday Genazzano.