In The Begining

Father John Joseph Therry  Father John Joseph Therry [1790-1864]

In 1835 Father John Joseph Therry, who had arrived in Sydney from Ireland on the 3rd May 1820, was made Parish Priest of Campbelltown. From there he had to minister to a parish which involved visiting at monthly periods, five outlying stations, the closest being 12 km away and the other four being over 65 km. It included Mt Pritchard and Cabramatta.

In 1838 the great flow of Irish Priests began that have helped to shape our great Australian Church. The 13 priests & 5 students became known as the "Men of 38" by Father John O'Brien.

From these men came the first pastor of Liverpool, Father Richard Marum (Rip), who was appointed to the County of Cumberland, Parish of St Luke more commonly known as Liverpool on New Year's Day, the 1st Jan 1839, and so began the story of All Saints Liverpool.

Tradition has it that the masses were celebrated in a spare room in the old Liverpool Hospital or in the homes of the parishioners.

For its first 58 years Liverpool was served by District Priests and it was not until 1897 that All Saints turned another corner in becoming a great parish. Father James Joseph Walsh was appointed as the first Parish Priest of All Saints. No longer was the community an "interior outpost of the colony" as it had been known.

As Parish Priest of Liverpool, his ministrations included the boundaries of Wetherill Park, Denham Court and Fairfield. By 1933, Father Walsh had begun to consolidate the surrounding stations, especially Cabramatta where the land for the Sacred Heart church and school was bought.

The years between 1934 and 1941 were quieter times. Father James McComack was appointed as the new Parish Priest, assisted by Father Thomas Leen. At that time the priests were visiting four stations regularly, Mt Pritchard, Hoxton Park, Bossley Park and Glenfield.

In August of 1939, Father John McComack, then 2nd Parish Priest of Liverpool, wrote to the Archbishop of Sydney, N. T. Gilroy asking for permission to purchase land in Mt Pritchard for church purposes.

On the 23rd Jan 1945, Father Patrick John Collins (then the 3rd Parish Priest of Liverpool - All Saints), assisted by Margaret Mary O'Neil (White) wrote to Monsignor Richard Collender (then Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Sydney) asking for permission to purchase the land, 2 acres, on the corner of Humphries and Cabramatta Roads.

Approval was also given to negotiate to purchase a C.U.S.A. Hut (Catholic United Services Association) to be erected on the site. On the 18th Apr 1946 approval was received from the Commonwealth of Australia – Ministry of Post War Reconstruction, to remove a wooden army hut from Narellan Camp and re-erect at Corner of Cabramatta Road & Humphries Road, Cabramatta for use as a church.

At the time Mass was being celebrated in the old Mt Pritchard picture Theatre know as Cundy's Hall.

 Cundys Hall  
 Cundy's Hall

On the 1st Dec 1948, Father P. John Collins (rip), wrote to the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Norman Thomas Gilroy (rip) and proposed that a separate parish of Cabramatta be formed with St Peters Mt Pritchard as an out-church (outstation).

On the 1st Feb 1949, Cabramatta was inaugurated as a new Parish in its own right and its  boundaries included Mt. Pritchard. The Rev Michael Kiely (rip) became the inaugural Parish Priest of the Parochial District of Cabramatta.

In late January or early February of 1952 (1st term) the Mt Pritchard Catholic Primary School was opened in the C.U.S.A. hut that was placed on the second block in 1947. It was known as St. Peters Primary School.

St Peter 4
St Peter

It was staffed by two Sisters of Charity. Sister Mary Le Merci Walsh was the first principal and Sister M. Brendan O'Flaherty was in charge of the infants.

From 1949 up until November 1960, when Father Thomas Fennell arrived, Father Kiely who was the parish priest of Cabramatta (from the 6th Feb 1949 to February 1959), or Father Darcy O'Keeffe who became the parish priest in March 1959, or one of the assistant priests would come out to say mass and perform Baptisms etc.

On the 8th Nov 1960, Father Thomas Fennell (rip) came to Mt.Pritchard then known as St Peters as "Priest in charge of the new Parochial District of Mt Pritchard".

On the 3rd of December 1961 a celebration was held for the laying of the foundation stone for a new church. The Cardinal was invited, however he was unable to attend that day and he asked Bishop Thomas Muldoon (Rip – Dec: 13th Jan 1986), Auxiliary Bishop, to represent him.

When the Bishop unveiled the foundation stone he stated that the new Church would be called "Our Lady of Mt Carmel" and not St Peters as it had been previously.

 OLMC Church 1961

For a full history of our parish a book to commemerate our 50th Anniversary, titled "The Old & The New - A History of the Parish of Our Lady of Mt Carmel Mt Pritchard" was printed in 2011 and is available from the OLMC Parish Piety Stand.