Notre Dame opens a new teaching facility, Canavan Hall, honouring a distinguished leader in NSW education

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 16-10-2009

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



The new teaching facility at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney Campus was blessed by His Eminence Cardinal George Pell on Thursday 15 October, at Canavan Hall, Broadway.

Brother Kelvin Brian Canavan AM, Executive Director Emeritus of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Sydney, was honoured last night by the University at the opening of a new teaching facility, Canavan Hall. The building was named after Brother Canavan in honour of his work, support for Notre Dame and his long standing contribution to Catholic Education in Australia.

Brother Canavan joined the Sydney Catholic Education Office in 1968 as Inspector of Schools. He was later appointed as Executive Director of Schools in 1987. He pioneered new approaches in strategic leadership and management across the Catholic systemic school system, including leadership succession programs. “For ten years the Catholic systemic schools’ HSC results steadily increased” he said.

In 1997, Brother Canavan, a Governor of the University, was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to education as Executive Director of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney.

In 2008, he was awarded the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, by Notre Dame and subsequently has taken up an appointment as Visiting Professor at the University.

The building, constructed in the 1880s, was first built as a brick works and later used as a warehouse and furniture display centre. The $1 million refurbishment commenced in February 2009 and classes have been held in the building since July. It is comprised of two large lecture theatres, four seminar rooms, a performing arts space and a recreational/physical education teaching area.

Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Sydney Campus, Professor Hayden Ramsay, said the development of Canavan Hall was very exciting for the University.

“As our student body continues to grow, so too do our facilities. Canavan Hall provides our students with a comfortable and modern space for learning. We are particularly pleased that Brother Canavan has allowed us to name the building after him.

"His achievement in Catholic education is immense, and Canavan Hall is one small way of acknowledging this,” said Professor Ramsay.

Media contact: Rebecca Palser (02) 8204 4409