Mary MacKillop was canonised on 17 October 2010 in Rome. She became Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Australia’s first saint of the Catholic Church. She met Father Julian Tenison Woods in Penola in 1860 and their dream began to found a new religious order to meet the educational needs of isolated and disadvantaged children. She started teaching in a stable and then moved to the Schoolhouse, which today is a heritage building that people can visit.
At the Mary MacKillop Penola Centre there is an interpretive centre with major exhibitions explaining the lives of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods, priest and scientist. An exhibition in the Schoolhouse explains the early teaching methods of the Sisters of Saint Joseph that they co-founded in Penola.
Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church is also on the site.