Our History

Welcome to our school community


Dominican School Semaphore was established in 1899 and was opened and staffed by the Dominican Sisters in order to give the Catholic children of Semaphore a sound religious and academic training.

Over the years this aim has remained central to an ever expanding and changing educational system. We focus on nurturing children's faith and their development as Catholic Christians and we extend our enrolments to all  people wishing to educate their children in the catholic tradition.

Our Dominican History


"The history of Dominican School Semaphore is dedicated to those pioneer Dominicans – Marianne Boylan, Catherine Kavanagh, Agnes McDonough, Lucy Bell and Bridget O’Neill – who together broke the first ground in building up this school community, and to those who followed them throughout the twentieth century."

                                                                                       Gabrielle Kelly OP


In 1899, on the eve of Australian Federation, when the Dominican Sisters arrived in Semaphore, the South Australian colony was barely sixty-three years old. The colonial community was still relatively small.

The sisters themselves had begun their mission in Adelaide only thirty years earlier when in 1868, a band of seven Dominican women arrived from Cabra, Dublin, to commence their first school at St. Mary’s Franklin Street.

The sisters were undoubtedly aware of the main features of the colony’s white settler history and of the Lefevre Peninsula developments which had created the need for the school which they were about to open on the corner of Military Road and Dunn Street.

On Monday 10th July 1899 the new school was opened and "bid fair to meet with the great success."

                                                                                                      Tides of Change