Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

Skip to content

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Woman

  • Trove

Frayne, Mother Ursula (1816 - 1885)

Born
5 October 1816
Dublin, Ireland
Died
9 June 1885
Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Occupation
Educator, Religious leader and Religious sister
Alternative Names
  • Frayne, Clara Mary

Summary

In 1845, Ursula Frayne, along with five other Sisters of Mercy and one postulant, sailed for Western Australia with the goal, among other things, of establishing the first Mercy school in Australia. This they did on 2 February, 1846, with planks, bricks and packing cases as furniture. Instead of the 4,000 children they were promised when they left Ireland, only one child turned up for school on the day it opened. By August, however, enrolments stood at 100.

In 1849 she opened the first secondary school in Western Australia, a 'select' fee-paying school catering for an almost exclusively non-Catholic clientele. Its success determined the pattern of future Mercy expansion, which was to establish, almost simultaneously and often within the same building, three separate schools: a 'select' fee-paying school, a primary school and an infants' school. By 1856 the schools of the Sisters of Mercy in Western Australia were flourishing.

Her reputation as an educator spread to other colonies and in 1857 she accepted an invitation from Bishop James Gould to found a school in Victoria. There she established the Sisters of Mercy as the first teaching nuns in Victoria. She oversaw the development of a boarding and day school for girls, together with two primary schools and a domestic training school for orphans. She founded the St Vincent de Paul's Orphanage at South Melbourne and managed it until the Christian Brothers took over the boys' section, leaving the girls under the care of her Sisters. She established a country foundation at Kilmore in 1875.

Sources used to compile this entry: Palmer, Imelda, 'Frayne, Ursula (1816-1885)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A040239b.htm; Picture of Ursula Frame [Image].

Related entries

Digital resources

Title
Picture of Ursula Frame
Type
Image

Details

Nikki Henningham

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE4437b.htm

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124