Dunlevie Building

In 1901, Mother Clare Murphy collected a large inheritance in Buenos Aires. In 1904, the first purpose-built school was erected in the precinct. This became the first half of McAuley House, named in honour of the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley. Three storeys high, it was erected at the northern end of the convent property and adjoined St Philomena’s House of Mercy and shared its kitchen. St Angela’s Select Intermediate School for Girls was moved here from the Cathedral Hall and renamed St Aloysius High and Boarding School. 

Dunlevie West Wing 1903
Dunlevie West Wing 1903, SAC Archives
Dunlevie classroom1909
Dunlevie classroom1909, SAC Archives

The building provided both classrooms and boarders’ accommodation with a large school room and a junior classroom on the ground floor. The adjoining end of St Philomena’s was turned into a dining room for the boarders and the space in between was an open area for play with an exit into the cathedral grounds.

The first floor contained two nuns’ cells, two dormitories, a clothes room, a washroom, three bathrooms, a children’s sickroom and a classroom for Years one and two.

The top floor provided sleeping quarters for the nuns and senior boarders and consisted of nineteen small rooms on either side of a corridor, with a small oratory and a central bathroom. A spiral staircase gave access to a fire escape and roof promenade on top of the third storey with a view of the hills and coast. The staircase was eventually declared unsafe and removed and the lookout was blown over years years later in a storm.

The school playground was restricted to the courtyard between the school building and the convent.

Dunlevie courtyard 1926
Dunlevie courtyard 1926, SAC Archives
Dunlevie East Wing 1923
Dunlevie East Wing 1923, State Library of South Australia, PRG-280-1-35-19

In 1921, Acraman House on the eastern side of the convent was purchased.

The stables and hayloft of Acraman were removed and replaced by the second wing of the McAuley House. The eastern end of the ground floor of the new wing contained a stage and as the other rooms were partitioned, the whole of the ground floor could be converted into a large assembly hall when required.

In 1995, McAuley House was renamed as the Dunlevie building, after Teresa Dunlevie, the first Australian born leader of the Mercy Sisters in Angas Street. The McAuley courtyard became Dunlevie courtyard.

References

Crowds attending a function inside St Aloysius College 1923PhotographState Library of South Australia PRG 280/1/35/19, viewed 21 June 2022, <https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+280/1/35/19>.

McLay, A 1996Women on the move: Mercy’s Triple SpiralSisters of MercyAdelaide.