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Penola is a town in the Australian state of South Australia located about 388 kilometres (241 mi) southeast of the state capital of Adelaide in the wine growing area known as the Coonawarra. At the 2006 census, Penola had a population of 1,317.It is known as the central location in the life of Mary MacKillop (St. Mary of the Cross), the first Australian to gain Roman Catholic sainthood, who alongside Julian Tenison Woods in 1866 established the first free Catholic school using the Woods/MacKillop Catholic education system in Australia, St. Joseph's School. Woods and MacKillop also established in Penola 'her' order of nuns, the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart. The order, otherwise known as the 'Josephites' or 'Brown Joeys', continue to work with the poor and needy communities throughout the world today.Penola was on the Mount Gambier to Wolseley railway line which opened in 1887 until its closure to freight on 12 April 1995 and then to Limestone Coast Railway tourist passengers on 1 July 2006.