Catholic Parish of Pambula
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79 Main Street, Merimbula NSW 2548
Fr Pale Leota
(02) 6495 1880

History

Past Priests

Priests of the Parish of St Peter’s, Pambula [ prepared by John :Liston]

 1843-1850 Fr Michael Kavanagh, based in Queanbeyan, performed baptisms at Kiah 1844, marriage in Twofold Bay in 1846.
1851-1857 Fr Henry Garnett, based in Broulee (Moruya), built a slab church at Pambula River, did baptisms at Boyd Town.
1857-1865 Fr Patrick Birch, based at Moruya. Built 1st church at Eden circa 1860 & second Pambula Church in 1862. (burnt down)
1865-1875 Fr Patrick Slattery, made 1st PP of Twofold Bay. Built present 3rd church at Pambula in 1868. Built Bega presbytery.

For further information refer to Parish News.

Parish History

History of Pambula Parish [ written by John Liston]

The first ministers of religion were searching out and ministering to their flocks at the very start of settlement. Throughout the 1840's these 'Apostles on horseback' forged tracks throughout the rugged Australian bush to bring instruction and sacraments to the pioneers. The Catholic priests were generally young, newly ordained Irishmen, who proved excellent horsemen and bushmen. Their congregations were normally poor, Irish Catholics, who were encouraged by Governor Burke to emigrate and settle the new land.

There were no villages or towns between Yass and Melbourne, but Fathers Brennan and Fitzpatrick were given a district centred at Yass - Goulburn and encompassed by the Great Divide to the sea as far as Bass Strait.  In 1841 young Father Michael McGrath visited Twofold Bay to administer sacraments. By 1843 a new Queanbeyan Mission was formed with Father Michael Kavanagh, the first resident priest of the Monaro district, including the coast. He rode 4 000 miles each year for 10 years to tend his flock of souls. In 1844 he baptised Patrick Whelan at Kiah, Twofold Bay. He visited Pambula in 1849 as part of his parish. By 1850 Father Henry Garnett from Broulee (Moruya) had a parish that extended down to the Victorian border. He built Pambula's first Catholic church of slab construction, near the Pambula bridge. Unfortunately huge floods of the early 1850's destroyed the church, along with other buildings like the Governor Fitzroy hotel and school.

For further information refer to Parish News.

Our Lady of the Princes Highway Church Kiah

Though few in numbers the Catholic community at Kiah erected a church in 1903.  It was burnt down in the bushfire of 1926.  The present church was opened and blessed by Dr Barry, Bishop of Goulburn, in 1929 with most of the furniture donated by parishioners.  In 2009 it was repainted and is well maintained inside.

St Joseph's Church Wyndham

St Joseph's was built in 1898 and included a small bedroom with fireplace for visiting priests.  The local parishioners raised the money and had hoped to build in brick but it was beyond their means.  The timber building was restored in 2012 thanks to a bequest from ex-parishioner Patricia Majors and a small heritage grant from Bega Valley Shire

 

St Joseph's Church Merimbula

 Until 1962 the village of Merimbula was without a church.  Sunday Masses were celebrated in Twyford Hall.  Parishioners ran housie, street stalls and balls to raise money to purchase the present site in Main Street.  St Joseph's Church was opened and blessed by the Most Reverend J Cullinane DD in December 1963 and was extended in the 1980's.  In 1977 the old presbytery at Pambula was sold and a new parish home was built alongside St Joseph's Church.  

St Peter's Church, Pambula

Our parish's first Catholic church was of slab construction near the bridge at Pambula.  It was destroyed by huge floods in the early 1850's.  A second timber church was built opposite Pambula Court House but was burnt down in the 1862 town fires.  The present church was built in 1867.  During the 1990's parishioners raised money by cutting firewood, holding craft stall etc. to fund the restoration of the church and landscaping.  In 1999 the memorial garden was established by volunteer labour.  St Peter's is of special historical significance being the oldest Catholic church still in continual use in the region.

Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, Eden

The original church was built in 1863 and was in use until 1992.  St Mary MacKillop visited and then established a school there in 1891.  The present church was dedicated in December 1992 and involved a generous input by local businesses and individual volunteers as well as a substantial loan from the Catholic Development Fund.

A small group of parishioners then undertook the enormous task of restoring the old church.  With the help of some grants and community assistance the restoration was completed and the building has been renamed MacKillop Hall in honour of St Mary.  It is an official pilgrimage site, opened each day from 9.00am to 4.00pm.

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