Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

History and Tradition

“Women in time to come will do much.”
Mary Ward, 1585-1645 - Foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary Ward and the IBVM

Loreto Normanhurst is an independent, Catholic day and boarding school under the care of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM), also known as the Loreto Sisters. It is part of a worldwide tradition of over four hundred years of educating young women. 

Our foundress, Mary Ward (1585-1645), faced the uncertainty of her society with courage and the fervent conviction that "women in time to come will do much." Mary Ward founded the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1609, which was in turn responsible for the foundation of schools and ministries in England, Europe and, after the time of Mary Ward, all over the world.

A sculpture of Mary Ward stands in all Australian Loreto schools and depicts, in stance and stare, our forward-facing and outward-looking approach to engaging with the world and seeking purpose and meaning. 

Click here to read more about Mary Ward.

History of Loreto Normanhurst

Mother Mary Gonzaga Barry IBVM, an Irish pioneer of the IBVM, formed the Institute’s first Australian community at Mary’s Mount in Ballarat in 1875. Seventeen years later, she brought the IBVM to New South Wales when she established the first Sydney Loreto in Randwick in July 1892. Loreto Randwick taught day students and was home to 30 boarders, under the care of Mother Dorothea Frizelle. Within five years, however, the nuns were looking for larger premises.

“It was a rainy day in June 1896. As Mother Gonzaga Barry, Mother Dorothea Frizelle and Mr Frank Coffee approached the Osborn property on Pennant Hills Road the sun burst through the clouds and formed a beautiful rainbow over the estate. Reverend Mother voiced her delight. Her quest was over. This is where I will build my school.”

The extensive property was purchased for the Loreto boarders and the foundation stone for Loreto Normanhurst was laid on 28 February 1897.

Click here to read more about Mother Gonzaga Barry IBVM.

School Motto and Crest

Our School Motto, ‘Cruci Dum Spiro Fido’ translates to As long as I live, I put my trust in Christ who died for me’.

The Latin words 'Maria Regina Angelorum', mean 'Mary, Queen of Angels'.

The Loreto Crest is made up of four symbols which hold an important place in our lives.

The Cross, which is the sign of our faith in Christ.

The Sacred Heart, which symbolises the unfailing love of God for us.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary who grew to be like her Son in her great love.

The Anchor of Hope, an old symbol for Our Lady, and the promise of Christ to be with us. 


There are three Houses in the Primary School and eight Houses in the Secondary School.

Each House carries the name of a person or place sacred to the history and tradition of Loreto Normanhurst.

Primary School


Named after Mother Benedicta Fallon, a founding member of the Loreto community who shared her love of music.


Named after Mother Clare Birrane, a much-loved superior of Loreto Normanhurst over many years.


Named after Mother Dorothea Frizelle, the first Superior of Loreto Normanhurst in 1897.

Secondary School


Our foundation is strong.


Our spirit shines through.


Creating the future.


Many bodies one spirit.


Hearts and hands united.


Brave heart, cheerful minds, indomitable zeal.


Unity burns within.


Together we strive.


The Loreto Normanhurst Archives are managed by a Records Manager. The Archives exist to preserve our heritage and to care for the School’s future, the Ex-Students’ Association and the Parents Association of Loreto. 

The collection includes a large range of historical records and objects including uniforms, yearbooks, trophies, medals, sporting and performing arts programs, photographs and other artefacts. Many of these treasured items have been donated by former students, staff and their families. 

Have an item to donate or a story to share? 

This website is powered by