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Portland - building on a dream.

Two years after she shifted to Penola to work as a governess for Alexander and Margaret Cameron, Mary MacKillop returned briefly to Melbourne to visit her family before moving to Portland. From April 1862, she worked as a governess for another relative, Mrs Duncan Cameron, and became actively involved in Portland life. Mary was sacristan at the All Saints Catholic Church which was completed in the year of her arrival, and now features a stained glass window in her honour.

In October 1863, she successfully applied for her first formal teaching position at Portland's Catholic Denominational School. The financial independence allowed Mary to reunite her scattered family under a single roof, and she rented Bay View House from Portland pioneer Stephen Henty. The building was also large enough to accommodate additional boarders, and Mary established the Bay View House Seminary for Young Ladies, offering instruction in a range of subjects.

The stables of Bay View House provided comfortable sleeping quarters for Father Julian Tenison Woods when he visited the MacKillop family during his travels through Victoria's Western District. Mary had confided in Father Woods her desire to devote herself 'to poor some very poor Order' and his visits to Portland kept that dream alive. Father Woods persuaded her to return to Penola to help him establish a school based on 'purely Catholic principles', and Mary accepted his offer at the beginning of 1866 following an unfortunate disagreement with Portland's head of school, John Cusack.

Mary left behind many friends in Portland, including some who later became Josephites.

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