Community History



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St. Vincent's Catholic
Church and School

1889 Building of "North Park" Mansion commenced. Built for Alexander McCracken , part owner of The City Brewery which produced "one of Australia's most popular ales". The building was later to become the Headquarters of the St Columban's Mission#.
"Rosebank" house was built for George Page Barber and Eleanor Barber (the daughter of Thomas and Jessie Napier). This building was later to become the convent.
St Theresa's Parish established.
The Columban Society purchased "North Park" and "Rosebank" estates whose homesteads are now St Columban's monastery and the Sisters of Charity# convent respectively. The purchase was made by Dr. Edward Maguire, Founding Father of the Columbans in Australia and first Director.

In all, three properties were purchased. The land lying both sides of Woodland Street, totaled approximately 26 acres and included a 12 acre paddock that extended from Napier Street to the Crossway (a street) and the present 4 acre grounds of St Vincent's Church and School, and about 10 acres with the North Park Mansion. The price:- 26,500 pounds. When purchased North Park was intended to be a Seminary for Columban priests and Rosebank was intended to be a Preparatory Novitiate for Columban nuns.

Most of the land around the buildings was later sold and the Columbans now retain only about four acres of the North Park Property.
First Columban seminarians study at North Park.
First Sunday mass for local residents is celebrated in North Park Mansion.
Fr. Peter O'Brien, Parish Priest of St Theresa's purchased land from the Columban Fathers on which to build a Mass centre and school.
August 16th - The new Church school is blessed and opened.
The Sisters of Charity accepted the invitation to be responsible for the school and on the 26th of January , the Foundation Day of St. Vincent de Paul School, the first pupils were enrolled. The first Sisters appointed to undertake the Catholic education of the forty pupils enrolled were Sister M. Avellino Walsh and Sister Helena Parker. Some time later Sister M. Frances Donavan joined the teaching staff, while Sister Alipius taught music on a part time basis.
In January, Sister Carmel Considine was appointed Sister in Charge.
The new parish of St. Vincent de Paul, North Essendon was established.
Council changed the name of the area to Strathmore.
Fr. Durkin was appointed as the first parish priest. The Columban Fathers administered the parish until then.
St. Vincent's Parish purchases the land between the church - school and The Crossway from the Columban Mission.
The new double storey wing of school was completed and a Sacristy and Sanctuary added to the original "Chapel of Ease".
The Tennis Courts were built behind school by St. Vincent's Tennis Club.
Catholic Church
St. Vincent de Paul new Church was blessed and opened by  the Archbishop Dr. Simonds. The new Church building cost about 56,000 pounds although additional site works may have taken the total cost to 66,000 pounds. Parishioners had contributed 18,000 pounds during the construction. Additional donations of the marble high alter, side altars, tabernacle, Stations of the Cross, windows, baptismal font and most of the seats were also made by parishioners. The stained glass window above the high altar was a gift of Fr. Durkin and his brother, Rev. Father Durkin of East St Kilda. The original church was converted into 3 classrooms.

The Sisters of Charity purchased "Rosebank" from Fr. Durkin for use as a Convent.
The Sisters of Charity's new convent was blessed and opened in August.
St Vincent's school ceases classes in grades 7 and 8.
The new Parish Hall was built.
Father Frank Larsen was appointed as the second Parish Priest.
The Sister's of Charity celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the opening of their convent.
St. Vincent's school celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
Extensions to the Parish Hall opened.
A new wing of St. Vincent's School, occupying the area between the old church - school and and the Parish Hall, is opened.

Main Sources:

  • "St. Vincent de Paul Primary School 1937 - 1987" booklet published by St Vincent's on the 50th anniversary of the formation of the school.
  • "Parish Profile" St. Vincent De Paul Parish, Strathmore, Nov. 1996.
  • "Houses in Essendon Broadmeadows and Bulla"