Genazzano began as a school for boarders in 1886 when six girls were accommodated in a house purchased by the FcJ Sisters next to their convent in Richmond. Meanwhile a suitable house away from the city was being sought, and in September 1888 Mother Mary John Daly, the first superior of the new foundation, purchased a beautiful twelve-acre property on Cotham road, Kew, known as Woodlands. The following year, 1889, the building of Genazzano began.
Eight sisters with fourteen young boarders were fortunate in gaining a two-year lease on a large two storey property in Mont Victor Road called Range View, while the new convent was being built. In 1891, the boarders moved into Genazzano and boarding flourished. The boarding school at Genazzano over the next eighty years was home to hundreds of country girls who came to the city to receive a good Catholic education that was not available locally.
Junior Study Hall, 1915
During the 1970s the Sisters began to ponder the fate of the boarding school as the demands for the day school, particularly for space, were increasing. With most boarding schools already closed and many regional areas offering a Catholic education through to Year 12, it was felt that the need for city boarding was no longer urgent. So, in 1978, Genazzano closed its doors to boarders.
In the 1980s, a group of country parents were keen to provide a Genazzano education to their daughters and so they formed Hopetoun Hall Inc. They obtained the Hopetoun Hall premises, organised staff and setup a boarding facility for their daughters and others so they could attend Genazzano FCJ College.
It derived its name from the Countess of Hopetoun, whose name appears on the foundation stone of the school. Catriona Pickett, the Secretary of the First Committee of Management in 1986 wrote:
“the development of Hopetoun Hall is an exciting and long overdue facility for country parents, only made possible by the Faithful Companions of Jesus and the Oblate Fathers, and the spirit of enterprise and determination of the country parents. It has taken three years of difficult and often frustrating work on the part of the Committee, but at last country parents are now being given an opportunity to send their girls to a leading Catholic girls school in Melbourne.”
The first boarders at Hopetoun Hall, 1987
Within a month of its opening, Hopetoun Hall had 75 bookings. The original Hopetoun Hall premises has since been extended to incorporate the 40 bed residence that is in operation today.
Now managed and supported by the College, Hopetoun Hall is a thriving boarding community with most boarders coming from country Victoria and New South Wales, and a small number of indigenous and International students.
We are very proud of our Boarding House and have certainly seen many young women pass through our doors. As we are the only Catholic Girls Boarding School in Victoria we hold a very privileged and responsible position within the boarding school industry.