HISTORY 2017-10-27T13:01:59+00:00
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About the Treacy Centre

The Treacy Centre is located at 126 The Avenue Parkville. Victoria. Australia.

The Treacy Centre is function venue for events, conferences and weddings. It is also the Oceania support office (Vic\Tas) for the Edmund Rice Organisation. The property boasts a 1880’s mansion surrounded by manicured gardens. Its proximity to the Royal Park zoological gardens make it an excellent venue for a range of events.


The Treacy Centre rests on the timeless land of the peoples of the Kulin nation, for whom the Melbourne area was a centre of trade, celebration, spirituality and law. Peoples from all over Victoria would come to ‘Melbourne’ and each group had their designated camp. What became Royal Park was traditionally a camp area for Koorie peoples from the Geelong and Western districts. In 1861 there was a gathering of Wathourong, Bunurong, Woiwurrung and Kurnai/Gunai peoples. At a time when the effects of colonisation had decimated each of these groups and exacerbated warfare between them, these people pledged peace amongst each other.

History of Treacy Centre

During the Gold Rush, the land presently accommodating the University and Royal Park became huge camping sites and it was from this site that Burke and Wills set out on their ill-fated exploration. After processing around the park the citizens of Melbourne sent them on their way.

In the 1850’s the park was regarded by the citizens of Melbourne as being ‘out in the bush’ for it was left entirely in its natural state. Not for long. With public pressure for development it was soon stripped of some magnificent trees. In the 1860’s the land became a hot political issue as it was believed that the metropolis had more park than any other city in the world. Very excessive reservations of land were seen to check ‘reasonable expansion’ and cause unfair reduction in public revenues.

In 1868 Mr Richard Gibson acquired land on the corner of Ross Street (later renamed Walker Street after one of the city Councillors) and Royal Park Road, from a Crown Grant for the princely sum of £235/2/6. The neighbouring two allotments were purchased two days later by Mr Robert Mailer for £212/17/0 and £213/0/7. In 1872 Mr Gibson, a Real Estate Agent, extended his property by purchasing the neighbouring block from Mr Mailer and soon after built a twelve roomed villa which appears in the rate notices in 1876, rates of which were based on an annual value of £180/0/0. In 1873 Robert Mailer sold his remaining block of land to Thomas Reynolds James, Manager of the Electric Telegraph Department who built Les Buissonnets at the same time as Mr Gibson built Barbiston. Among the Italianate characteristics of these two prominent buildings are the slate roof, verandah with cast-iron-lace and mosaic tiled floor, and the heavy four-panelled oak door. Richard Gibson died in 1886 and his Trustees sold the property to James Munro, a manufacturer in Elizabeth Street who in turn, sold it to the Catholic Church in 1917.

With the intention of establishing a University College for Catholic women, Archbishop Mannix purchased this building from Mr Munro in 1917 as a sister College for Newman College which was about to be opened. He believed it to be most suitable for the purpose of founding a University College for Catholic women and entrusted the administration to the Sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters). Fifty years later, in 1966, the women students moved to the new St Mary’s Hall next door to Newman College, within the University.

The Christian Brothers purchased the property in 1965 for £114,000 and the whole property was called Treacy College, named after Br Ambrose Treacy who was the leader of the band of four Brothers who first came to Australia from Ireland in 1868. The Provincial Council took possession of No. 156 (now Garvey House) in 1966, and lived and worked there until 1970. They leased No. 126 (now Kelty House) to the Baldock family. In March 1967, eighteen student Brothers in their second year of training arrived at Parkville. When the large number of students caused a crisis in accommodation, the Provincial Council decided to buy back the lease on No. 126 from the Baldock family, and after some renovations, the Provincial Council moved into that building during the early days of 1970.

By the late 1970s, the Brothers in training moved to St Joseph’s, Box Hill, leaving a community of older Brothers and some Brothers doing full-time studies and renewal courses. In 1988 Mt Sion Hostel was built as an aged care facility for elderly Brothers. Around this time, part of Treacy College was opened up as a general Conference Centre.

During the 1990s, the name was changed from Treacy College to Treacy Centre.

Major renovations and extensions to Garvey House were carried out in 2000-2001. The building has now three discrete sections – Conference Centre on the ground floor, Province Administration on the first floor, and temporary residential accommodation on the top floor. Since 2009 the Treacy centre has been hosting events and conferences.

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