Past Exhibitions

Journey To Water

26th of July 2019 – December 1st 2019

Mary MacKillop Place is pleased to be hosting an Exhibition by environmental artist, Rachel Carroll. Entitled “Journey To Water”, this exhibition supports the stance of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and Mary MacKillop Place who are committed to the ongoing ‘care of Earth’ through sustainable living.

Celebrating 130 years since the death of Fr Julian Tenison Woods, co-founder of the Sisters, the exhibition also connects with his work as a scientist, particularly in the areas of botany and geology.

Visitors will journey through Australia’s largest river system, exploring paintings and mixed media drawings from Rachel’s site visits to sections of the Murray Darling River System.

The artworks, related artist diaries and material samples gathered over a eight-year period reveal the devastating environmental impact on the once ‘Mighty Murray’, whose water flow has been severely reduced.

This exhibition will capture the diversity of bird life and the surrounding habitat, in which so many species depend on the health of the river system for survival.
The site studies that have been undertaken by Rachel will direct our attention to the ecological decline of these life-giving waters and the necessity to protect native species and animals from further extinction.

We hope that this exhibition will urge Australians to pause and rethink critically important issues effecting the ecological, cultural and economic sustainability of our nation.

Opening Night Speech – Jacqui Remond

Opening Night Speech – Rachel Carroll


Imaging the Margin: Journeys, Borders and Living on the Edge

October 6, 2017 – February 28, 2018

This coming summer immerse yourself in an exhibition space designed to both challenge our perspectives on nation building and to pay tribute to those who have sought a safe refuge in our country. As a country we can be proactive in upholding the dignity and worth of each displaced person.

Watermark panel, Penelope Lee and Nathalie Hartog- Gautier

The paper based artworks are the collaborative effort of artists Penelope Lee and Nathalie Hartog-Gautier. Both artists share a passion for the art of print and paper.

Nathalie holds a Master of Fine Arts, College of Fine Arts UNSW. “Her practice over the years has focused on the concept of the voyage, its transformations, attachments and associations, especially when place interconnects with memory and identity”.

Penelope holds a Master of Design, College of Fine Arts UNSW. “Her work integrates the medieval origins of papermaking, printmaking and book binding with new media technologies in artefacts that explore the way we read the world”.

The artists have focused on our national imperative to respond to the plight of those seeking asylum in Australia, as stated in the United Nations Charter, the Declaration of Human Rights.

Paradise, 2015

Imaging the Margin is an exhibition reflecting on the current marginalisation of refugees. Artworks are designed for the contemplation of our humanitarian values and responsibilities as a nation. The words appearing in the artworks are drawn from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reminding us that in response to the needs of refugees beyond human rights, decency and common sense, there is also the weight of international law.

A Visitors Book is provided for you to comment on your experience of this exhibition.

Duration of exhibition – October 6, 2017 – February 28, 2018
Admission to the museum includes entry to the exhibition






‘Seeking Humanity: Portraits and Stories of Australia’s Asylum Seekers and Refugees’ exhibition by Wendy Sharpe

Official Launch – 10 December 2015 

10 December 2015 – 4 March 2016

Wendy Sharpe’s exhibition shows a series of portraits of asylum seekers compiled in 2015. Wendy’s subjects spoke with her about themselves, their homes, careers, where they came from and often – the families they had left behind. 

For Wendy, these stories are relevant and inspiring: and for those being portrayed, both the process and the finished artwork recognise their hopes, dreams and shared humanity.

The exhibition is made possible by the generous support and partnership formed with the Asylum Seekers Centre in Sydney. These portraits were gifted by Wendy Sharpe with the sale of each work providing financial assistance for the work of the centre.

The Asylum Seekers Centre provides practical and personal support for asylum seekers living in the community. Their services include casework, accommodation, financial relief, health care and counselling, employment assistance, education, food, advocacy and recreational activities. The centre is a not-for-profit organisation relying on grants, donations and volunteers to undertake its work.




Treasures Under the Southern Cross: Celebrating 20 Years of Shared Stories’ exhibition

21 May – 22 November 2015

 ‘Treasure under the Southern Cross: Celebrating 20 years of shared stories’ exhibition interprets the legacy of Mary MacKillop in today’s world.

This exhibition engages in some of the most challenging socio-political issues at the heart of our society. Be inspired by the stories of those who work in or have been recipients of support through the ministries of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, particularly in educational initiatives and social justice advocacy. This is an intimate exhibition designed to bring you ‘up close and personal’ with these women’s stories told in their words.

This exhibition depicts the collective voice of those women who have faced and experienced life changing events that have shaped their lives. For each person finding and sharing the joy of hope has been the resounding achievement. Objects on exhibition have been brought together for the very first time to highlight the diversity of ministry work of the Sisters of Saint Joseph around the world.

Teacher Notes

This exhibition supports classroom learning from Stage 2 to Stage 6 and is linked to various Key Learning Areas: Religious Education, Personal Development and Civics & Citizenship.


The Niño de la espina [the child of the thorn] was gifted to Gina Bradley, Manager of Ethica Accessories [a ministry of the Sisters of Saint Joseph], by the women’s group in Pitumarca (near Cusco in the Andes) where they produce alpaca products sold through Ethica to benefit the community.

The cloth was given as a gift to the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Tais cloth is a form of traditional weaving created by the women of East Timor.

The basket ware, woven from the Akidura palm with synthetic dyed leaves is used for domestic purposes throughout Timor Leste.

‘Threshold’ exhibition by Marcelle Mansour

11 December 2014 – 30 March 2015

Threshold focuses on spiritual and socio-political change. It aims to end war and to celebrate the rebirth of world peace. It is a work of contemporary art that has a sense of creative purpose which is humanly transformative, using light as a material and perception as a medium to effect healing and to embrace love and just peace.

Healing in Light and Gauze
Five Senses

Viewers are invited to experience the movement of the dynamic shifting colours of light in contemplative surroundings. This may allow renewal and rethinking ourselves and the world towards reshaping our reality for a better world to embrace love. The exhibition will be open to public from 11 December 2014 to 30 March 2015.

‘Chapel Centenary’ exhibition

8 December 2013 – 28 November 2014

A milestone in the history of Mary MacKillop Place was celebrated through the opening of the Centenary exhibition: ‘Marking a centenary of the resting place of Mary MacKillop: a living and enduring memorial for all Australians’.

Stole with hand-painted design and gold fringe, c.20th Century. (2011.51)

The exhibition presents the centenary history of the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel through the eyes of those who have participated and personally connected to its history. Edwina Huntley, curator of the exhibition, said “We recognise that the Chapel is a living and dynamic spiritual space and therefore of great significance for the Sisters of Saint Joseph and to the Catholic community. The exhibition will attempt to celebrate the generations of people who have worshipped and reflected in this Chapel.”

Many of the collection items which have been hidden away from public view are to be exhibited for the very first time. Mary MacKillop  Place Museum and the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph Archives hold rare documents and outstanding examples of vestments worn in the Chapel which display stunning embellishment and handwork.

The history of the building is reflected in the creative contributions of the Sisters. On exhibition is fine needlework and embroidered liturgical items used in the Chapel for significant events.

The opening coincided with the historic first Mass which was held in the Chapel on 8 December, 1913. The exhibition will remain open during 2014.

Altar Frontal by Sr Francis McGinley, rsj, c.1930s. (2005-018)

View the clip below to learn more about the exhibition, ‘Marking a Centenary of the Resting Place of Mary MacKillop: A Living and Enduring Memorial for all Australians’. The exhibition is on display during 2014, the Chapel Centenary Year.