The school was founded in 1898 by The Order of the Sisters of Mercy on their Convent grounds at Tanti Avenue in Mornington. Reverend Mother Sebastian Whyte and Mother Bernard Whyte, (also biological sisters) purhcased the land on the Tanti site and started a school. Mother Bernard became the first Principal. It operated as a girls boarding and day school called “College of Our Lady of the Sea” which remained in vibrant operation until 1945. Similarly, in 1899 the Sisters of Mercy opened “Padua House, Preparatory School for Little Boys” offering day and boarding facilities in Tanti Avenue.
In 1905 a School Hall was built, followed by a two story building with boarding and class rooms in 1924 whilst another boarding and classroom wing was built in 1953. The girl and boy schools were combined in 1945 as “Padua College” offering Prep to Year 12 classes with the boys boarding facilities operating until 1960. But with ever-increasing enrolments, the need for an alternative, larger site was sought. In 1968 the primary co-education section was re-named St. Macartan's Parish Primary School and in 1975 Padua Secondary College relocated to Oakbank Road in Mornington.
A vacant 10 acre site was purchased at 97 Bungower Road in 2006 and the Tanti Avenue grounds sold in 2008. The newly built St. Macartan's Parish Primary School was opened on 20 April, 2009, which backs onto the rear of Padua College, ensuring that the schools share a common boundary once again!
It is with thanks for the truly brave and pioneering women Sr. Sebastian and Sr. Bernard, purchasing property and setting up schools with little more than faith and hard work, that more than a century later, St Macartan’s School can celebrate the evolution of 125 years of Catholic Education.