Named after the Duke of Brunswick, a Prussian General killed at the Campaign at Jena in 1806. The first Mass was not celebrated at Brunswick until the year 1909, however, the history of the church in the district dates back to 1896 with the arrival at Roelands of the late Mr James Devlin. The Ferry family arrived at Roelands shortly afterwards, followed by the Shine and Rafferty families in 1899. Mrs Ferry soon set about raising money from the few families and a number of Irishmen working at the local quarry. They soon built a small iron and timber church at Roelands in about 1901. In those days, Fr Martelli travelled from Bunbury to say Mass once every four months. Roelands later became part of the Collie Parish.
When some of the Catholic families moved to Brunswick and more families settled in the district, it was decided to move the church to land in Brunswick (near where the present church stands today). Mr Devlin had collected money to buy this land. The first Mass was offered toward the end of September 1909. Fr Gilroy was the first parish priest.
In 1914 a start was made to raise money for the present church and in 1915 Brunswick was then included in the Yarloop parish under Fr McCabe who would drive from Yarloop to Brunswick in a horse and sulky once a month to say Mass. In 1918 there was a further change and Fr Doddy took over and it was during his time as Parish Priest that the present church was built. The official blessing and opening was held on 12 February 1922 with Archbishop Clune officiating.
There were several changes over the years and Brunswick was part of the Dardanup/Harvey/Brunswick parish under Fr J. O’Grady from 1918 to 1939 when the Harvey/Brunswick parish was formed under Fr Ryan followed by Fr Power and in 1948 Fr Cleary took over parish duties. In the mid to late 1930s a number of Italian migrants arrived in the area and over the next decade there was quite a large population of Italian people in the parish. It was due to these people that the annual Fiesta to celebrate Our Lady’s Assumption became so well known. After the second world war, a number of Polish families arrived in the town and also contributed to make our parish a very successful one.
The year 1951 saw the arrival of the Presentation Sisters and in February 1952 the first Catholic school (originally erected as a cheese factory) was opened in Brunswick. Fr McSweeney succeeded Fr Cleary and during his term the new school was opened in 1954.
Other Parish Priests over the years were: Fr Luigi, Fr Phillip, Monsignor Cunningham, Fr N. FitzSimmons (two terms), Fr S. Kelly, Fr P. Rooney, Fr W. Costello, Fr N. Faulkner and Fr I. Thambuswamy.
1995 saw the final year of the Presentation Sisters as teachers in our school. We are most grateful for the care and attention that they gave to several generations of our students. For a number of years, we were without a Parish Priest and we, the parishioners, have attended to the daily work of the parish ourselves. Since 1994, when we began to share a priest with Harvey, we were assisted by our parish worker Sr Michael who has since left and our parishioner Fay MacNish has ably filled this position. We still have a continued association with the Presentation Sisters as Sr Patricia Downey lives at the Convent and is our organist and assists Fay with prayer programs.
Centrepiece – Our Lady of the Assumption, copied from the Church’s statue.
General Background – The Darling Ranges, which rise at the eastern edge of town.
L & R Background – The train and railway station, representing the time (90-100 years) when Brunswick was an important railway junction employing up to 70 families.
L Foreground – Potato growing, an important source of income for the early Italian community.
R Foreground – Dairying, the mainstay of the district.
The patch was designed and painted by Sr Patricia Downey PBVM from suggestions made by numerous parishioners.