“Even though we are primarily a women’s theological college, men are more than welcome to study with us, and some already do!”


Here at Mary Andrews College, we equip women to serve Christ throughout a whole lifetime, so we have tailored our courses to suit your needs.

The Diploma courses, Certificate courses, Pastoral Care Course and Cross-Cultural Ministry Course offer many different pathways to equip our students for service. The women who currently study at our college range in age from 19 to 80. We have women with multiple degrees, and others who did not finish high school. All these women study, learn and grow together. And even though we are primarily a women’s college, men are more than welcome to study with us, and some already do!

Mary Andrews College also provides a pathway into community chaplaincy, and we want to help anyone who wishes to explore this avenue further.

At Mary Andrews College, friendships are formed and skills are learned. Some of our students go on to work in churches, hospitals, schools and many other organisations as a result of their training. Others simply continue to serve in their homes, churches and communities, now armed with knowledge and skills that allow them to talk to and understand others far better than they thought possible. Even though we are a women’s college, men are more than welcome to study with us – and some already do!

Every day at Mary Andrews College brings another story of a life impacted by the things that have been learnt within our walls. Won’t you come and join us? We have teaching centres in Dapto, Emu Plains, Manly Vale and Mittagong, as well as our main campus in the heart of Sydney city. We would love to see you here, equipping yourself for a lifetime of service.

Director of Studies, Jackie StonemanIn His service,

Rev. Jackie Stoneman
Mary Andrews College

Our story

In 1885, the Sydney Anglican Diocesan Synod passed ‘a resolution in favour of deaconess work’ 1. The first Australian ordination of an overseas-trained deaconess was in Sydney in 1886. There were five deaconesses at work in Sydney before the idea of operating a training home took shape 2.

The Rev. Mervyn Archdall and his wife Martha were the founders of the Deaconess Institution ministry in Australia, which was modelled on similar work in Germany and England. On 17 August, 1891, the deaconess training school ‘Bethany’ opened in Balmain.

“Mrs Archdall was content to take up teaching and her equally devoted husband cheerfully surrendered one-fourth of his income that Sydney might have the benefit of a suitably trained body of Christian women workers. Men and women who can thus spend themselves and their possessions for the work of God have always accomplished great things in the world of service.” 3

Deaconesses worked in parishes – visiting people in their homes, visiting and nursing the sick, teaching Sunday school in churches and Scripture in schools, and conducting evangelistic meetings, among other activities. Other works were begun in addition to training deaconesses. The needs of the expanding work resulted in the purchase and consecration of 28 Carillon Avenue, Newtown, on 6 December, 1916, which became the headquarters of the Deaconess Institution (now ADM). Various renovations were made to Deaconess House over the years, to improve living arrangements for the ever-increasing number of students.

In the 1970s, female students began to enrol in the Bachelor of Theology offered by Moore Theological College (MTC), next door to Deaconess House. Deaconess House began a ministry training program for women enrolled at MTC, to address the special pastoral needs of female students. A variety of other programs were also begun, including ministering to the university students living at Deaconess House, part-time Bible courses for lay women in Sydney, an annual women’s conference, and Diploma courses. The clerical role of deacon was opened up to women in 1989. In 1991 the last Sydney deaconesses were ordained.

A joint enrolment agreement was introduced between Deaconess House and Moore Theological College in 1993. In 1997 Deaconess House changed its name to Mary Andrews College, in recognition of the outstanding lifelong work of Deaconess Mary Andrews, who died the previous year. Ten years later, a formal partnership agreement between Anglican Deaconess Institution Sydney Limited and Moore Theological College saw degree-based theological education of female students pass fully to Moore.

Mary Andrews College moved from Newtown to Stanmore at the end of 2007, focusing on teaching the Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Theology and Ministry.

In December 2009 Mary Andrews College moved again. This latest move from Stanmore to St Andrew’s House in Sydney Square sees the college well located in modern premises for our main teaching centre, library and staff offices.

Mary Andrews College is unique as the only Bible college in Australia founded to equip women for ministry, a mission begun in 1891.

1 Source: The Vision Unfolding. Deaconess Institution 1891-1991
2 ibid
3 ibid

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