Carmel Bourke Expressive Arts Centre


In 1922, the Sisters purchased some cottages and small shops on the eastern side  of the Barr Smith residence along Angas Street and in Chancery Lane. These were demolished to make way for further development of the school.


In 1925, St. Cecilia’s Hall was opened. The Parish school for boys and girls was moved from the Cathedral Hall to St Cecilia’s and was now called the Convent of Mercy Primary School, which was staffed by the Sisters of Mercy. It was a multi-purpose building that operated as a school during the day and sometimes as a cinema or public hall at night.

The building was named after Mother Cecilia Cunningham, one of the founding sisters of the Adelaide Apostolate, whose inheritance had enabled so much of the expansion of St. Aloysius to take place. St Cecilia’s Hall was demolished in 1985.


In 1986, the new Carmel Bourke Expressive Arts Centre was opened on the site of what was once St Cecilia’s Hall. This multi-level brick building was designed to provide specialist facilities for music, art and drama.

It was named after Sr Carmel Bourke, principal of St Aloysius from 1945 until 1953, who was a gifted choir director, singer and pianist as well as a lover of the arts. It was appropriate that the old hall was replaced with an arts’ centre named after Sr Carmel as she had played a piano solo at the opening of the Sr Cecilia’s Hall and was present at the final farewell concert.

By Carol Grantham, 2022


Angas Street, Adelaide 1922PhotographState Library of South Australia B 1167, viewed 5 July 2022, <>.

St Cecilia’s Hall 1926PhotographState Library of South Australia B 3408, viewed 5 July 2022, <>.