Our History | The Holy Cross Convent

The Holy Cross Convent was the home of the Presentation Sisters for 90 years. They were a teaching order of nuns that originated from Ireland.

The Holy Cross Convent

The Daylesford Advocate recorded the laying of a memorial stone at the new presbytery at St Peter’s on 25 April 1891 where Archbishop Carr announced:

“…the present presbytery would shortly be occupied by a community of nuns, the establishment of which would be of great benefit to Catholics and to their children, as the convent would become a source of light and edification for them. “

Extensive works immediately began to prepare the house for use as a convent and boarding school.  As the Presentation Sisters were subject to the rule of enclosure, the local Catholic school also had to be relocated to the site.  A wooden school building, a short walk away from the convent, was built.  It housed three classrooms.   

Mother John Byrne, accompanied by Sisters Alphonsus Southwell, Michael O’Sullivan, Gertrude Donaghy, Teresa Bourke and Angela Sullivan, arrived in Daylesford at the end of 1891.  And so began the life of The Holy Cross Convent, Daylesford.

Throughout the years, many extensions were made to the convent in response to demands.  In 1902 a new refectory and dormitories were added. In 1904 a new chapel and classrooms were completed and in 1927 the north wing was built adding a new parlour, dormitory and music rooms.

The Presentation Sisters taught the children of the Holy Cross Primary & Secondary School, St Michael’s Primary School and a few smaller school outside of Daylesford. As well as teaching Religious Education and the 3 R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic) to all the grades, the Sisters also taught sport, music, languages, needlework, woodwork and art. From all accounts, they did a great job educating the students.

“I must pay tribute to the wonderful dedication and expertise of the Presentation nuns in what they achieved before, during and after my school days.  It is History in Education in this Parish that will not be repeated and never equalled.” – Bernie Milesi (Student, 1930s) 

Reading through the Book of Annals of Holy Cross Presentation Convent, one can sense the struggles, the challenges and the sheer hard work encountered by the nuns. It was their trust in God, the support for each other, as well as the support from the St Peter’s parish and the wider Daylesford community that helped the them through the hard times.  There, too, were happy times – the days of celebration, the joy in the students’ progress & achievements and the pleasure of watching their beautiful gardens grow.


Phone +613 5348 3211


7 Daly Street Daylesford 3460
Victoria Australia

Thursday to Monday 10am-4pm
(Closed Tuesday & Wednesday)

Gallery admission:
Adult: $10, Concession: $8,
Kids U12: $5,  Kids U5: free.


The Convent acknowledges the traditional owners, the Dja Dja Wurrung people, on whose land we meet, share & work.
We pay our respects to their Elders past, present & emerging.