Newspaper reports on Churches at Wallangarra – Created by Patrick Hodgson 18 April, 2004
The Roman Catholic Church at Wallangarra is now considerable advanced towards completion. The building is, to the eye, about the same size as the Roman Catholic Church here and of the same character. The flooring and walls are almost complete and the roofing will shortly be proceeded with. The building is situated near Mr. McKenna’s hotel. When finished it will be an ornament to the town and reflect much credit on the liberality of those who have furnished funds for its erection.
The pupils from St. Joseph’s School propose to repeat their concert at Wallangarra next Friday for the benefit of the building fund of the Roman Catholic Church there.
Sunday last after mass, at Mr. C. B. McCosker’s, Lyra, the Rev M. Ryan, Parish Priest Stanthorpe, presided at a meeting of Catholic men [where it was decided to] build a church on 1 acre of land immediately opposite the Railway station. The land has been donated by Mr. C. B. McCosker.
The new Catholic Church at Wallangarra has now been completed; and the opening and blessing will be performed by his Grace Archbishop Duhig on Sunday 10th February.
Archbishop Duhig will arrive in Stanthorpe next week, and on Sunday afternoon will motor to Wallangarra, where complete preparations are being made for the function of opening and blessing the new edifice. It is anticipated a large number of people from Stanthorpe and district will make the trip to Wallangarra for the occasion, Afternoon tea will be provided on the grounds for those who require it, and generally speaking it will be a great day for the border township.
Not withstanding that thunderstorms were frequent throughout Sunday afternoon and that very heavy rain fell in the Border Districts, there was a very good attendance at the new Catholic Church at Wallangarra on Sunday last when it was blessed and opened by his Grace Arch Bishop Duhig.
Those present included visitors from Stanthorpe and both sides of the border, some of who had come long distances. The blessing of the Church took place at 3 p.m. and at the conclusion of the ceremony some details as to the new edifice was supplied by the Rev Father Kelly, Parish Priest.
He said the first Catholic Church was erected in Wallangarra in 1886 sic 1887 by the late Father Davadi at a cost of ?136, the erection of the church being timed with the completion of the railway to the border.
The old church had been improved in various ways during its period, when a couple of years ago a meeting of parishioners was held and it was decided to dispose of the old building and erect a new one. The old building had been sold for removal for ?113, which was a good figure considering it had cost, ?146 in 1886 [sic 1887].
The contract for the new building amounted to ?795, and the provision of the seating accommodation, altars etc., had brought the cost of the new building up to just short of ?1000.
A decision to erect a new church was made in May 1927 and since that time most of the money had been raised in various ways so that the amount of debt outstanding was roughly ?140.
Arch Bishop Duhig in a short address congratulated the Wallangarra people on the fine church they had erected and he felt sure that the donations that afternoon would be such that they would be able to say they opened their church free of debt. They were proud of the old pioneers, and what they had done for the church, that he wanted to say that no generation had done more in the direction of church building and church work than the present generation.
He referred to the fine buildings erected in different centres in St Joseph’s (Stanthorpe) Parish, not one of which existed twenty years ago, and he said he was particularly pleased to see the fervour of the people, and the interest they took in their church.
A collection was taken up in the church and a total of ?170 was donated being about ?30 more than the sum required to clear the church of debt.
His Grace preached a sermon appropriate to the occasion, congratulating the people on the handsome gift they had offered to God in the new edifice, free of debt. A church he said was a wonderful place, greater even than the University, for in the church the greater truths were taught.
He had opened churches in many of the outback places in Queensland, and it was wonderful to him to see the unbounded joy of the children who had seen a church for the first time.
His Grace referred to the fact that most of the churches in the various centres in the Stanthorpe Parish had now been renewed, which was an assurance of the wonderful future of the church in Queensland just as the Eucharistic Congress in Sydney had astounded the Christian world and proved that the fervour in the people was as great in Australia as in any place in the world.
The proceedings concluded with benediction, and afternoon was provided for all present by the Ladies. The Reverent Father Kelly presided and Messrs J. Wilson and J. Carpenter on behalf of the residents extended a hearty welcome to His Grace the Arch Bishop.
In reply Arch Bishop Duhig he was grateful for the welcome extended to him and appreciated the kindly words of the speakers who proposed it. He often passed through Wallangarra, but this was the first occasion that he had been able to visit the place, and the happiness of his visit was only marred but the regret of not being able to come before.
He hope he would be spared to come again and when he saw the large number of bright children about he could not help hoping that some day they would have a Convent School at Wallangarra. They recognized no border line between them as Catholics and Doctor O’Connor could do as much for them if he came over as he, The Arch Bishop.
He referred to the excellent work done in the parish by Reverent Father Davadi, and to his constant advocacy at the development of the orchard industry.
His Grace said he was much interested in the orchards in the country as he motored from Stanthorpe and he felt sure they all had the kindest remembrances of the part played by the Reverent Father Davadi, who was the first to plant an orchard and vineyard in the district.
Not only was Father Davadi a great priest, but also he was a great naturalist, and knew the scientific line on which agriculture was carried on in his own country (Italy) and endeavoured to impart that knowledge to the people. He was glad to have the opportunity of saying a word about the important part played in the district by Father Davadi, whose name would never be forgotten.
He noticed in coming along they had very bad roads. He had the greatest admiration for the work of the Main Roads but did not know who was responsible for their roads but whoever it was should see to it that they were improved especially as it seemed to him from the nature of the soil that the work of making their roads was a comparatively easy matter compared with places like the Downs. He thanked them for their welcome and hoped that he would be spared to come again, applause.
Father Clancy and Father Barry also spoke the latter dwelling upon the hospitality of the Cusack family who had done so much for the church of a large number of years.
The day was a very successful one and quite a number of cars made the trip from Stanthorpe.