During the early 1980’s the Commonwealth Government relaxed conditions for the establishment of new Catholic and Independent schools. The area in the state of NSW where most of this initial growth occurred was in the south-west of Sydney, known broadly as the Macarthur Region.
The schools established previous to this time already had sporting and cultural competitions leaving little room for new schools to join. It was because of this that the sports organisers from four of these new schools met in late 1985 with a view to forming a sports association. The schools represented at that initial meeting were: Broughton Anglican College, John Therry Catholic High School (now known as John Therry Catholic College), Macarthur Anglican School and Berea College.
Initially, the name of the association was to be Macarthur Independent Schools Sports Association. The sports organisers however, with a vision for the future, felt that other activities such as Drama and Public Speaking may be encouraged in addition to sport. Consequently, the word ‘Sports’ was removed and the Macarthur Independent Schools Association (M.I.S.A.) began in 1986. M.I.S.A. was then established as an association of Christian schools in Sydney’s south west offering a range of activities and opportunities for its members.
In those early years, the sports organisers ran M.I.S.A. meetings to discuss progress once each term. In 1991 Brother Neville Solomon, Principal of Mount Carmel High School (now known as Mount Carmel Catholic College), organised the first meeting of M.I.S.A. Heads and from this meeting M.I.S.A. became an incorporated association with the Principals also meeting once each term. The schools at that first Principals meeting were: All Saints Catholic Senior College, Broughton Anglican College, Freeman Catholic College, John Therry Catholic High School, Macarthur Anglican School, Mount Carmel High School, St Patrick’s College and William Carey Christian School.
In 1993, two other schools joined M.I.S.A. namely St Gregory’s College and Bankstown Grammar (subsequently renamed Georges River Grammar). This growth has continued throughout the years with the further addition of Magdalene Catholic High School (now known as Magdalene Catholic College), Thomas Hassall Anglican College, Clancy Catholic College, Good Samaritan Catholic College, Wollondilly Anglican College, St. Benedict’s Catholic College, Oran Park Anglican College, Mount Annan Christian College and St Francis Catholic College. In 2020 All Saints Catholic Senior College Casula merged with the All Saints Junior College at Liverpool to form All Saints Catholic College as a 7-12 school. At the end of 2021 we unfortunately lost our four Sydney Catholic Schools; All Saints Catholic College, Clancy Catholic College, Freeman Catholic College and Good Samaritan Catholic College. As an Association, we continue to grow though with two new schools joining us, Macarthur Adventist College and St Peter's Anglican Grammar. As of 2022, there are 15 schools involved in M.I.S.A.
What makes M.I.S.A. important is not just the activities it gives to students, but that it is unique in that it provides interaction between Catholic, Anglican and Christian School staff and students, all working together for the advancement of God and the faith.
Author: Terry Lidgard