Saint Mary's Catholic Parish Maryborough

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St Mary's Church

Saint Mary's Parish in Maryborough, Queensland is a Roman Catholic parish within the canonical jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Historic events[edit]

Bishop James Quinn arrived in the diocese in 1861. Bishop Quinn began his first visit of the diocese accompanied by Father Renehan and Father Tissot, who also had recently arrived. They left Brisbane on the steamer Clarence on 23 July 1861, and two days later arrived in Maryborough. Fr. Tissot remained in Maryborough and became its first resident priest.[1]

  • 1852: First Mass in Maryborough.
  • 1852: Home of Sergeant (constable) William McAdam, at Baddow.
  • 1858: Wooden church/school. A school house was built on the present presbytery site in early 1858. Mass was celebrated here when priests visited.
  • On 15 July 18, it transferred from James Cleary to Arch Quinn.
  • On 29 July 1869, the foundation stone for the new church was laid.
  • Between 1869 and 1872 the church was built.
  • From 6 July 1870 to April 1880, the parish school was in the care of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
  • On 4 February 1872, St. Mary's church was completed and blessed by Bishop Quinn. The architect was Charles Tiffin.
  • On 26 April 1872, the church's benefactor James Cleary died at age 78. Cleary was buried in St Mary's church. The land was donated by himself.
  • On Saturday 10 July 1875, Fr. Tissot departed for Brisbane en route to France. He died in the Paris on 16 February 1895.
  • On 24 February 1878 the Sacred Heart church Tiaro opened.[clarification needed]
  • Suddenly Thomas O'Brien died, while going to Bundaberg on Wednesday 12 June 1878.
  • From 1878 to 1879, Fr. Hanley administered the parish until was suddenly transferred to Bundaberg parish causing the parishioners to become upset.


  • In April 1880, the Sisters of St Joseph departed. The school was closed for a short time in between the two orders leaving and arriving.
  • Thursday 1 April 1880 – Sisters of Mercy arrive.
  • Between 1884 and 1885, St Mary's was extended. The architect was F. D. G. Stanley.
  • The extensions were blessed 10 May 1885 by Bishop Dunne.
  • In May 1887, plans were drawn for the first presbytery.
  • On Sunday, 2 September 1888, Archbishop Duhig blessed and opened the Christian Brothers school. This school was amalgamated in 1979 with the Mercy Sisters' girls' secondary school to form the new "St Mary's College".
  • In 1888, the parish established a secondary boys school, inviting the Christian brothers to staff the college on its present site in 1888. (In 1979 the college became co-educational by the amalgamation with the Sisters of Mercy's St. Mary's high school for girls established on the site now occupied by St. Mary's primary.


  • In 1892, a new convent was built and blessed Sunday 27 August 1893.
  • In 1898, Fr. Reilly transferred to Brisbane. He died on 4 February 1904 at the age of 63.


  • In 1912, the organ was installed at a cost of £900.


  • Fr. Brady died on 21 June 1922 at the age of 62.

1930s to present[edit]

  • On 22 March 1936, a second extension was added to the parish. The work included relocating the entrance to Adelaide St and adding a chancel. The architect was P. O. E. Hawkes and construction was carried out by H. G. Neilsen. After its completion on Sunday November 29, 1936, it was blessed by Bishop Duhig.
  • In 1936 a large stained glass window designed by William Bustard (1894–1973) and created by R. S. Exton and Co of Brisbane, was donated by the Corser brothers.
  • The stained glass window above the high altar was donated by Mr. Stellmach.
  • In 1958 Aramara became part of the parish. The church in Aramara was built, blessed and opened in 1950. It was the only church in the parish with a spire.
  • In 1972 it was decided that a new presbytery and hall were to be built. The work was carried out the following year and was blessed on October 21, 1973 by Arch Rush. Lyons who retired in May 1978.
  • In 1977 the wooden flooring was replaced with concrete.
  • Between 1989 and 1991, the organ underwent a full restoration.
  • On 4 August 1991 it was rededicated.
  • On 9 February 1993 the church was restored by Bellero Constructions with architectural designs by Hurst and Harris Pty Ltd.
  • In 1994 the church was declared a heritage building.
  • On 24 May 2000 a jubilee wall hanging was unveiled with a cabinet crafted by Brian White and his sons, Chris and Lucas. The cabinet was funded by the Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

Parish priests[edit]

  • 1861–1875: Fr. Paul Tissot. He was born in Lyon, France, 1801.
  • 1875–1878: Fr. Thomas O'Brien.
  • 1879–1898: Fr. John O'Reilly.
  • 1898–1922: Fr. Phillip Brady. Previously Fr. Brady had been assistant priest.
  • 1922–1925: Fr. Patrick Brady. He was Fr. Phillip Brady's brother. He moved to Brisbane in 1925 and died in 1951.
  • 1926–1941: Dean John Francis McCarthy (later Monsignor McCarthy).
  • 1941–1957: Fr. Martin Jordan. He died on 17 April 1957. The grotto erected in 1951 was in memory of his nephew, who was killed in active service of the USA in Korea.
  • 1957–1978: Fr. Robert Lyons (later Monsignor).
  • 1978–1989: Fr. Guilford Lyons.
  • 1989–2002: Fr. Harry Bliss.
  • 2002–2005: Fr. Anthony Mellor.
  • 2005–present: Fr. Paul Kelly.


  1. ^ "Maryborough Catholic Parish". 

External links[edit]


  • 100 Years and More: Catholicism in Maryborough 1849–1980