14-22 Vida Street Aberfeldie Victoria 3040
phone: (03) 9331-9300

A Catholic School

You are in: Home > About > A Catholic School

Ave Maria College has been providing Catholic secondary education for young women since 1963.

The College was founded by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMMs) to provide domestic and business studies for the young women of the Essendon area. The Sisters had already responded to Archbishop Mannix's call to become involved in education, having first opened Ave Maria Kindergarten in 1957 and a primary school in 1958.

The original two storey building cost £60,000 pounds. Fees were ten guineas and 66 pupils enrolled in the first year. Enrolments grew, the curriculum diversified and the buildings were extended.

After 15 years of service, the FMMs withdrew from the school to pass it across to lay leadership. The FMMs had established the school during a period of enormous change in Catholic education. Upon their departure, they gifted the school to the Archbishop of Melbourne and Ave Maria College became a Diocesan school.

In 1988 Ave Maria College purchased the property known as "Clydebank", a Victorian Italianate mansion, built in 1888 by the family of the artist Hugh Ramsay. The acquisition provided additional land upon which the College could further develop its facilities, including an Arts wing and multi-purpose Hall. Beautifully restored and surrounded by heritage style gardens, "Clydebank" houses the Chapel and the administrative functions of the College. Award winning student artwork is on permanent display.

In 1998, Ms Olwen Horton, was appointed as the first female lay Principal.
The educational programs and the facilities have continued to transform, responsive to the needs of 21st Century learners. The curriculum now offers a broad diversity of pathways for students to consider, and the majority of students pursue further tertiary studies upon graduation. The physical environment is designed to enhance the students' learning experiences. Access to information communications technology is supported by a school-wide wireless network. The most recent Master Building Plan directed the creation of a modern Science and Technology wing, a capacious Education Resource Centre, Media and Music facilities, and new classrooms. The spacious, glass roofed piazza and Winter Garden offer a popular gathering venue.

With an enrolment of approximately 800 students, a well-balanced curriculum caters for a range of student interests and aptitudes. Graduates' pathways are limited only by their imagination, and the vast majority of students pursue tertiary education.

Although the school is barely recognisable from its early years, the Franciscan charism in which Ave Maria College was founded remains a source of inspiration for each new generation of students.


  • The star represents the star of the sea which in Latin is AVE MARIS STELLA, a favourite hymn of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.
  • The boat sailing through calm waters guided by the star represents the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary spreading Christianity guided by God.
  • The water symbolises worldwide understanding and peace among nations, which is the goal of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.