The Canonisation of Mary McKillop

On 17th October 2010, the hopes of many Catholics across Australia came to fruition when the founder of the Order of the Sisters of St Joseph, Mary McKillop, was canonised in a ceremony in Rome and made Australia’s first saint.  Celebrations across the state were held in her honor, and Event Managers Australia had the privilege of organising the commemoration held in Saint Mary McKillop’s home town of Penola.

Event Managers Australia organised a live broadcast of the canonisation event in Rome on a large open-air screen along with a seated outdoor mass for approximately 8,000 participants. Around this we created a street festival dedicated to the life and times of our new saint, presented by the local community. This featured regional food, arts, history and entertainment in the township presented by the local community including cafes, retailers, stall holders, vendors, horses, costumes, the local Farmer’s Market and more.

The event attracted an influx of approximately 8000 national and international visitors to the township of Penola, along with an unprecedented amount of positive international, national and local media attention. The event has assisted with generating local destination tourism with an increase of over 200% since the Canonisation.

The Penola canonisation event had to be organised to a tight budget, within a short time frame, and after a tornado had caused damage to several key sites within the town.

"Wattle Range Council engaged Jodi as its Event Manager for the Mary MacKillop Canonisation event held in Penola on 17 October 2010. The event was a huge success being embraced by the locals and visitors/tourists alike, with the success of the event primarily due to the professionalism and expertise of Jodi in event management"

F.N. (Frank) Brennan, Chief Executive Officer of the Wattle Range Council.

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