Killarney Parish History
The Killarney/Yangan locality was home for a very long time to the Keinjan Aboriginal people, however white people did not make the Darling Downs their home until the arrival, in 1840, at Canning Downs of the Leslies and their party, some of whom were Catholics. The localities of Killarney and Yangan were settled shortly after the arrival of the Leslies. Although priests visited Warwick as early as 1849, the earliest record of a priest in the Killarney/Yangan area is the Baptism of Margaret Crane by Father McGinty on the 3rd September 1855. For the next 75 years the Catholics of the area had to look successively to the mission stations or parishes of Brisbane, Ipswich, and Warwick, and the dioceses of Sydney, Brisbane and Toowoomba, for guidance. During this time the devotion to the Church was displayed by the people erecting four church buildings. But more importantly, in the days when there were no churches, the people demonstrated their love of God by attending Mass, in private homes, as often as a priest could visit for the purpose. The parish of today sits firmly on the foundations of those first 75 years.
In 1930, the parish of Tannymorel was established with its centre at Tannymorel. The timing, coming as it was near the start of the Depression, probably caused the fledging parish some financial hardships. In 1956 at the direction of Bishop Brennan, and in the face of some spirited local opposition, the presbytery was moved to Killarney which then became the centre of the parish, retaining the name of Tannymorel. However over the years this has changed and it is now known as the parish of Killarney/Yangan. A building program continued with the building of two presbyteries, two churches and a hall. At the time the presbytery was moved the parish priest, Father Flynn said, “That as the parish developed further and a convent was established, it was likely the presbytery would be converted into a convent building.” Due to changing economic conditions and other factors, it has not been found necessary to build a convent, sadly also due to these same factors, four of the original churches and one of the presbyteries have been removed.
Fourteen priests have served the parish, and at one time the laity were actively involved in the Holy Name Society and the Sacred Heart Sodality. Without a convent school the laity, with help from time to time from visiting nuns, have been involved in the preparation of the children for the Sacraments and the religious education in the Schools. Now the involvement of the laity in the running of the parish is through the “Parish Council” and a “Parish Ladies Group” which has always been independent of the Diocesan Catholic Women’s league. During a period in the mid 1990s when there was no resident priest, the laity with the help and guidance of a visiting priest, continued to function as a parish, this was a great learning experience for those who were here at the time.
There is still a strong link with the beginnings of the church in the area, as some of us are the direct descendants of the early residents, whose families have kept the faith alive over several generations, with a number of’ their sons and daughters answering God’s call to the priesthood and religious life. We are mindful of the independent pioneering spirit of the people, of bygone days, and we like to think that the parish still emulates that spirit. The parish is still a country parish and in the tradition of the country, new parishioners and visitors are made to feel welcome. The parish is a caring community, shown in a small way, by the strong Conference of the Society of St Vincent de Paul functioning in the parish. There is a vibrant movement of cooperation arid friendship between the different denominations, and in recent years the Religious Education program in the school is a cooperative one in which all the churches are involved.
We believe we are a people of faith and loyalty to the Catholic Church, being proud of the long, by Queensland standards, history of our local church. However we are realists and understand that if the present trend continues the day may come where we will not have the blessing of a resident priest and if that happens we will accept it, but we will fight to maintain our identity as a separate parish even without a resident priest.
Churches and Mass Times
Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Yangan
Holy Cross Parish, Killarney