St Patrick’s Church

By Liam Hannah

St Patrick’s Church1Early parish history goes back to 1890 when the first Mass was celebrated in Wagerup in the home of Mr and Mrs Eastcott by Rev. Father Brady, Parish Priest of Bunbury. Within the next decade, Catholic families including the Fitzpatricks, Corrigans and McCabes settled in the Hamel area. The first mass in Drakesbrook (Waroona) was celebrated shortly after their arrival by Rev. Father Donogher in the Drakesbrook or Waroona Hall, at that time situated just north of the Drakesbrook School. Bishop Gibney visited Waroona in 1901 and administered the Sacrament of Confirmation in the hall.

Soon after the Irish families settled on the 10 acre Hamel blocks they had bought (already cleared), from the Government, Bishop Gibney sent a well-known Missionary, Rev. Father Clune to conduct a Mission. The Mission then decided that they needed a church. A block in Waroona on which to build the church was donated by Mr Barrett. In 1906 Rev. Father Clune travelled from Perth to bless and open St Mary’s - the only Catholic Church between Bunbury and Armadale at that time. The Parish Priest of Busselton, Rev. Father Donogher, came at frequent intervals to celebrate Mass.

In 1909 the districts of Pinjarra, Waroona, Yarloop and Harvey were constituted, a Priest, Rev. Father Fahey became parish priest and resided in Yarloop until he was succeeded by Rev. Father McCabe and later Father Doddy. In 1939 Father Power was made Parish Priest. The present day St Patricks Church was opened in 1941 and replaced St Mary’s. The official opening was held on 19 August that year and blessed by the most Rev. R. Prendiville.

St Patrick’s Church2