At the turn of the century, Mandurah was a small fishing village which filled with holiday makers in the summer. It was part of the Pinjarra Parish when the first priest, Fr John Fahey was appointed in 1909. He would say Mass in the Capitol Theatre or the Hotham Valley Hall in summer and in parishioners’ homes in the winter. In 1934 land was purchased at Lot 44 and 45 Creery Street in Mandurah for 120 pounds. Lot 45 was later sold to cover rate payments of 15 pounds. In 1950 the parish was named “Our Lady’s Assumption.” At that time less than 20 parishioners were wage earners, but the priest Fr Rupert Kelly decided to build a combined church/school with final support from the whole community for a cost of 3,800 pounds. From 1955 the school was used by the Presentation Sisters.
Mass was first celebrated in the new church on Christmas Eve 1952. The first resident Parish Priest was Fr Franz Hope, arrived in 1956 and departed soon after the drowning tragedy in 1959. The community was devastated when a visiting priest, Fr O’Hara and three Presentation nuns were tragically drowned as a result of a boating accident on the estuary. When Fr Formosa arrived in 1961 the population was 1,200 of whom 40 were Catholic. By 1969 100 people were attending Mass and a new church was built at a cost of $30,000 It was blessed by Bishop Goody and is the church which stands today, of modular design with additions in 1975, the 1980s and 1990s.
The first parish council was formed in 1976 with Ross Kirkpatrick the inaugural Chairman. On 23rd November 1979 Bishop Myles McKeon proposed new boundaries between Perth and Bunbury (east along latitude 32 25’ to 116 longitude; south along 116 long. To 32 45’6” thus removing Mandurah from the Perth Archdiocese and locating the parish in the Bunbury Diocese. From 1979 to 1991 Fr John Walsh served the parish until his retirement to Golden Bay. His Assistant Priest, Fr Neville Faulkner was then appointed Parish Priest, his assistant being Fr Adrian Van Klooster. They served the parish, with Pastoral Assistant Sr Aquinas McMahon from 1992 to 1995. Frs Noel FitzSimons and Bernie Dwyer then took over and together with Deacon Frank Nieman and Sr Kathleen Power served the parish community. 1999 saw the transfer of Fr Dwyer and he was replaced by Fr Pierangelo Repuyan (Fr Pierre) as assistant to Fr Noel.
Our Lady’s Assumption.
Reflecting Mandurah, with our city’s floral emblem the Templetonia, our beautiful marine wildlife and our numerous waterways looking across to the Darling Range.
Designed and made by Judith Gardiner.