School Houses

To develop and enhance the Good Shepherd School spirit, children at Good Shepherd are divided into four houses. We involve the children in many house-based activities during the year which promote fair play, team work and cooperation. The houses at Good Shepherd are named in honour of people who in one way or another have brought leadership, identity and connection to our community.


Written records tell us that the aboriginal elder Noolup was a great leader to his people. He encouraged a strong connection between the surrounding indigenous people. Noolup travelled across Ngunnawal country and beyond. He established strong kinship ties across the region and was deeply respected. Good Shepherd School has been built on the land that was held sacred by Noolup and his people. It is with great pride that we named our first house Noolup in his honour, and use the colours of yellow and orange to signify the earth and ochre, the sand and bark, the earthy, natural colours of the environment in which he lived. Noolup’s story teaches us the qualities we strive to develop in our own lives - a strong connection and relationship with the land and the people, and a sense that all things should be held sacred.


Our school is built on land that was farmed by the Cavanagh family who came from Ireland about 150 years ago to start a new life here in Australia. The family grazed sheep and cattle and grew crops, caring and nurturing for the earth and tending God’s creatures. The Cavanagh family was deeply respected by local settlers as honest hardworking and generous. We named our second school house Cavanagh in honour of the family who also cared for this land before we built our school. Green and white have been chosen as the house colours to represent the pastures and the sheep’s fleece. The Cavanagh’s story teaches us the qualities we strive to develop in our own lives - to become people who are patient, brave and willing to endure hardship.


As the city of Canberra changed and grew, the farms gave way to the expanding city and the suburbs crept out into the farms. People like Father Bernie Patterson, our Parish Priest, moved to this area to welcome others, to nurture their spirits, to nourish their families and to share God’s love with God’s people. In the early days of our town development a small number of people assembled in the lounge room of a home in Palmerston to celebrate the first Sunday mass, with Father Bernie saying that mass. Holy Spirit and Good Shepherd Schools are part of the Holy Spirit Parish and were begun with Father Bernie’s vision and trust in God. So with great pride, we named our third house Patterson in Father Bernie’s honour, using the colour red to symbolise the Holy Spirit working in our lives, and black to represent the traditional colour of the priests' robes. Fr Bernie’s story teaches us qualities we strive to develop in our own lives - to trust in our God who never stops loving us, and to open our lives in response to God’s immeasurable love.


In Italy almost 500 years ago, a girl called Angela Merici was born. As she grew, she was called by God to change the lives of people she met through teaching about Jesus’ love. In a little town called Brescia she gathered a community of women who were later called the Ursuline Sisters. These great women worked among the people and shared in the lives of families. Angela taught about Jesus, and about God’s great love for everyone. In our story here at Good Shepherd, Sr Genny Ryan, Sr Anne Cougle and the sisters of Angela Merici have travelled with us and blessed us with countless gifts. Their contribution to our school is beyond measure. We named our fourth house Brescia, the first place of St Angela’s work. The vibrant colours of blue and purple are the colours for joy, hope and possibility. St Angela’s story teaches us that God touches our lives in so many ways. We are challenged in turn to bless the lives of those who travel with us each day, especially those who are most in need of our compassion.