St Michael’s Parish
On 18 December, 1850, Michael Gannon purchased 1905 acres from the estate of Captain John Townson whose grant of crown land “took in the whole of the present suburbs of Hurstville and Carlton reaching almost to Kogarah Bay”.
Michael Gannon transferred the ownership of two acres of his land to the Most Reverend John Bede Polding on 24 November, 1855 as a site for a Catholic church; because there were few Catholics then living in the district no buildings were erected.
Almost thirty years has passed before a meeting of Catholics under the chairmanship of Rev. Placid Quirk, decided to build on this land a temporary church with the name ‘St Michael’.
The foundation stones of the church (cum school house) and of the convent for the Sisters of Charity who were to teach there, were laid on 2 May 1885 by Archbishop Moran. The buildings were blessed and opened in October the following year by the Archbishop.
The coming of the railway to Hurstville increased the population, and soon a larger church was needed. This building, which accommodates up to 400 people, was opened on 16 May, 1909 and is the still present parish church. The Presbytery was built in 1914.
The current church of St Michael’s that you see now after the alterations and additions to the old building was blessed on 18th June of the jubilee year 2000. The new administration block in the presbytery was built in 2007.
Some of the priests fondly remembered are Fr Arthur Mahr (1965-1993), Fr. Thomas Dunlea (1955-1970), Fr Ron Harden (1970-2005), Fr Mani Malana (2005- 2013), and Bishop Rev David Cremin (1974-2010). At present Rev Fr Janusz Bieniek is our Parish Priest.
According to the latest census, of the 4000 Catholics in Hurstville area, almost 850 attend the weekend masses. Major ethnic groups after Australians coming to our Church are Italians, Chinese, Filipinos, Croatians, Indonesians and South Americans.
Attached to the Church is our local primary school, St Mary’s Star of the Sea, and Bethany College. We give strong focus to the faith formation and sacramental celebrations of the children and supporting young families. St Michael’s is a very vibrant and active parish. Supporting and caring for each other, accepting and respecting our diversity draws the community together in Christ. At present there are over 200 parishioners who are directly involved in various church ministries and parish activities. The parish heartily welcome all new comers, all those who are interested to know about the faith, as well as those who have been away to come and join the Parish family.