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About Our School

St. Dominic's Primary School Camberwell East

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Founded by St. Dominic de Guzman (1170-1221), the Dominican Order commenced in 1216. St. Dominic believed in the power of education to develop well-informed, articulate people who could discuss matters of faith and life in all social and ecclesial circles. 


Dominic made ‘Veritas’ the motto of the Order and did not limit the ways or means by which one might preach truth. During his life, Dominic worked with many holy and talented men and women who were part of the Dominican Order. In 1217, he dispersed the brethren throughout the cities of Europe with a mandate to study and preach the Gospel. 


In his own life, Dominic was joyful, compassionate, prayerful and a lover of simplicity. He anguished over the sufferings of others and wanted more than anything else to help people to find meaning in life. Dominic’s own love of prayer and study, his concern for the salvation of souls became the foundation stones of the Order.


Our Values - Dominican Pillars






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Our Values

The Dominican Orange Tree

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The history and significance of the Orange Tree 

The orange tree represents the ongoing life and renewal of St. Dominic`s work. Tradition has it that St. Dominic brought an orange tree from Spain. Just prior to his death in 1221, he planted the tree in the grounds of the Santa Sabina Monastery in Rome. We know that the tree held special meaning to the early Dominicans, and in 1379 St. Catherine of Siena sent five candied oranges from St. Dominic’s tree to Pope Urban VI. As a tangible symbol of St Dominic’s presence the orange tree has been tenderly nurtured over the 800 years following St Dominic's death. It has been re-propagated many times. 

In 1895, a former student of Santa Sabina College, Strathfield, travelled to Rome and returned to Australia with a cutting from St Dominic’s tree. Over a hundred years later, this orange tree continues to flourish and provides a somewhat bitter fruit which is excellent for marmalade.

May St. Dominic’s orange tree inspire us to ensure that the branches of our Dominican family remain rich with cultural diversity, strong in shared vision and determined to “dare to see what is before our eyes”.

Orange Tree
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Our Beginnings

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St. Dominic’s Parish is of historical importance as the first location of the Dominican Order in Victoria. It is also a rare example of a Catholic parish in Melbourne that is run by a religious order.


History of our School

1925 - Church School

While the construction of the church-school was underway, arrangements had to be made for its use as a school at least at the beginning of 1925. The first enrolment was small, between thirty and forty children, with an age range from five years to twelve or thirteen.

The school opened in February 1925 and was staffed by lay teachers whilst Dominican nuns were sought. The lay teachers generally arrived by tram so the children found they could play around the green tram shed in Wattle Valley Road until the Teachers’ Tram came over the hill from the Junction.

It was during the third term of 1926 when the Dominican Sisters took over from the lay teachers. Four pioneer Dominican sisters from West Maitland, New Zealand, Mother M Concepta O’Donoghue, Sr Loreto Cockerill, Sr Perpetua Hermann and Sr Placid Flaherty arrived in Melbourne on August 12, 1926. Fr. Powell blessed the Sisters and took them to the St. Dominic’s School… they were welcomed to reside at Siena Convent which became the first foundation in Victoria for Dominican nuns.

For years the men of the parish came to St. Dominic’s on Friday nights to prepare the building for Sunday. This meant the removal of the heavy school furniture to be replaced by the still heavier church pews which were stacked in a shed where the lawn is now. After the ten o’clock Mass on Sunday the reverse process had been carried out. This back-breaking exercise went on until the first section of the new church was opened in 1937.


1939 - New School

The Dominican Fathers were responsible for the building of the new school, situated at Highfield Road, of which the Dominician nuns had charge. The blessing of the new St. Dominic's was performed by his Grace Archbishop Mannix on October 8, 1939. The school opened with 230 children enrolled.

During the war years 1939 – 1945, air raid trenches were dug alongside the northern boundary from the milkshed, then known as the bike shed, up to where the northern adventure playground is now sited. At that time the playground was not asphalted.

From 1941-1945 the main hall of the school was used for fortnightly Saturday night dances.

(Photos provided by Parish archives and past students of St. Dominic's - anyone who wishes to supply copies of photos of historical value please contact the school office on (03) 9836 8300 or email to )

Please click here for St Dominic's Primary School History photos.

Our Beginnings

Meet the Team

Meet the Team
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Natalie Kenny


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Helen Anania

Deputy Principal, Learning & Teaching and Mathematics Leader

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Andrea Connell

Administration & Enrolments 

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Karen Cummings

Administration & Finance

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Jenny Levitan

Student Wellbeing & Learning and Diversity Leader


Sarah Iwaniw

Literacy Leader, Library Specialist & Literacy Support

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Catherine Archibald

Literacy Intervention & Visual Arts Teacher

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Vivian Dean

Year 3/4 Teacher &

Religious Education Leader (Liturgy & Sacraments) 


Jenny Box

Literacy & Maths Intervention, 3/4 Level Classroom Teacher

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Jenny Sinclair

Prep Class Teacher


Chris Karalis

Year 1/2 Teacher

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Sarah Perronnet

Year 3/4 Teacher, Religious Education Leader (Curriculum & PL)


Sarah Trapani

Year 3/4 Teacher & STEM Specialist teacher

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Sarah Rak

Year 5/6 Teacher & DigiTech Leader


Sophie Miezis

Year 1/2 Teacher


Tom Gorman

Year 5/6 Teacher & Sustainability Coordinator

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Lyn Hunt

Learning Support Officer

Jennifer Stout

Learning Support Officer

Wendy Gagliardi

Office & Learning Support Officer

Carmela Di Iorio

 Italian Teacher

Frank Stokes

Year 5/6 Teacher

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Maria Mitchell

Physical Education Teacher

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Lily Homes-Smith

Learning Support Officer

Our 2023 Performing Arts Program will be in collaboration with:

Footsteps Dance & Drama, African Drumming & Circus Crew!

School community is...

“The school story grows richer and stronger with every student enrolled, every staff member employed and every partnership formed.”

(SIF School Community Sphere)

Learning Spaces

Learning Spaces