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Anecdotal History

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Victorian two story residence and churchFormer St Joseph's Convent and St Brendan's Church.

Convent with enclosed balconies (c1970). The enclosures have since been removed.

Mary Mackillop and Annandale

On the eve of Mary Mackillop's Cannonisation by Pope Benedict XVI, an anecdotal history of her influence in Annandale.

St Joseph's Convent, Collins St

In 1906, the Sisters of St Joseph moved from the Terrace house in Johnston Street to their new home, Coringa, a former Gentleman's residence at 36 Collins Street. "OPPOSITE THE HUNTER-BAILLIE MEMORIAL CHURCH, NORTH ANNANDALE, Corner Block, having a frontage of 185ft, to Johnston street, by a side frontage along Collins-street of 206ft, on which is erected CORINGA, A COMMODIOUS FAMILY RESIDENCE, containing 14 rooms"...1893 'Advertising.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842-1954), 5 December, p. 3, viewed 9 April, 2011,

In 1919, when a second floor was added to the four room school house school activities were relocated to the convent. - St Brendan's A Journey The Story of an Australian Catholic Parish 1898-1998 Julian Porteus

While the four room school house was being expanded, the children were taught in the convent - St Brendan's A Journey.

"The new school at St. Brendan's, at the corner of Collins Street and Trafalgar Streets, Annandale, which was officially opened last Sunday, is a substantial two-story brick structure, with slate roof....The architect Is Mr. Albert Edmund Bates, and the contractor Mr. Q. W. Brower. Tho cost was approximately £1300. -The Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday 4 July 1917 (page 6).

Photographs of St Brendan's students in front of Presbytery (1923) and School(1930)

"The Mother-general of the congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in South Australia (Miss Mary Agnes Mackillop)...In 1866 ... opened the first school of the new institutes at Penola. On June 24 of the following year the first community of the Sisters of St. Joseph was established in Adelaide, Miss Mackillop being named the superior.... -The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889-1931) 10 August 1909

"The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, are a faith community of women, passionate about our share in God’s Mission, engaged with the challenges of our reality and with the call to mission in our times." - Who We Are

In 1883 Bishop Reynolds, misunderstanding the extent of his jurisdiction over the Sisterhood, told her to leave his diocese. She then transferred the headquarters of the Sisterhood to Sydney. On 11 May 1901 she suffered a stroke at Rotorua, New Zealand. Although retaining her mental faculties, she was an invalid until she died in Sydney on 8 August 1909. -MacKillop, Mary Helen (1842 - 1909)

"The Sisters of St Joseph, arrived in Sydney in 1880. Once established in the Rocks area, they walked up George Street and Parramatta Road to teach at Camperdown. From their next residence, in Missenden Road Camperdown, they walked to Johnston Street Annandale, to teach 48 children in a terrace House. By 1896, there were 154 children which grew to 170. St Brendan's four room school was built in 1898 and it served as a church on Sundays" - St Brendan's A Journey (more about Annandale at this time)

In 1906, Margaret Mary Holloway married Herbert Henry Galvin and moved into their first home in Annandale. After the birth of two girls, they moved to Marrickville for a short time before returning to live in Young St. Their six children attended St Brendan's primary school.

"TRINITY COLLEGE, LONDON. JUNE PASS LIST Junior, Winnie Farrel, pupil of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St Joseph's Convent, Annandale" -Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 5 September 1907

Mary Mackillop was one of the Trustees, on the deed of transfer for the "gentleman's residence" at 36 Collins Street in 1906. This became Saint Joseph's convent and the nuns continued to run St Brendan's school, until they pulled out of the parish in 1978 - St Brendan's A Journey

"LEGISLATOR'S WIFE SHOOTS HERSELF....was found lying in the grounds of St. Joseph's Convent, Annandale, with a bullet wound in the chest... grounds of St. Joseph's Convent, Annandale...amount of the school account due to the sisters for her three little girls, who had formerly been pupils at the convent...." - The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889-1931) (about) 21 January 1909

20 november 1925
St Joseph's Convent Annandale
Sister M Ulmar Ryan: "While a novice I had the privilege of nursing mother mary during her last illnes"
Sister M Leonard Roche: "Mother Mary [Mackillop] was indeed a soul set apart by god for the apostolate of saving souls, especially the souls of the poor children. To educate them was her first aim." Source: Memories of Mary by those who knew her.

Mary MacKillop, Mother Mary of the Cross, will be Canonised on October 17, 2010 in Rome.

Post Script

Mary MacKillop was Canonised on October 17 at St Peter's Basilica, Rome. Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed Mary's sainthood during the Canonisation Mass. Over 8000 pilgrims from Australia and New Zealand attended the ceremony. - After Canonisation

"E’ quanto hanno fatto i sei nuovi Santi che oggi vengono proposti alla venerazione della Chiesa universale: Stanisław Sołtys, André Bessette, Cándida María de Jesús Cipitria y Barriola, Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Giulia Salzano e Battista Camilla Varano." - OMELIA DEL SANTO PADRE BENEDETTO XVI, Piazza San Pietro Domenica, 17 ottobre 2010. [Google Translation: And 'what did the six new saints that are now proposed to the veneration of the universal Church: Stanisław Sołtys, André Bessette, Candida Maria de Jesús y Cipitria Barriola, Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Giulia Salzano and Camilla Battista Varano.]

Saint Mary Mackillop Website:

St Brendan's Parish School, Presbytery and Church

St Brendan's Presbytery

New presbytery at 34 Collins Street was opened in 1920.

In 1898, Cardinal Moran opened the first catholic church and presbytery: "the new church and presbytery that have been erected in connection with the new parish,...the cardinal went on to remark that he was reading a celebrated work a few days ago on the achievements of the present century. ...It was both a wonderful century and a wonderful age in which they lived - wonderful because of the scientific and distinguished achievements that had been made. One of the paramount features of the age lay in the great facilities that were furnished by commerce in bringing them in touch with distant lands. Nowadays they were so close with the old world that it seemed by comparison to be but the next village, when viewed in the light of what existed half a century ago. of railways that now entwined the various continents...great ocean steamships...vast strides made with gas and the electric light; of the latter even many of the small villages had availed... themselves of the privileges....Our leading statesmen were engaged in formulating a constitution which, whilst preserving and safeguarding the interests of respective peoples, would enable Australia to rise in the exuberance of its resources and preservere the energy of its citizens....Reginald Cohen moved,-'That a collection be taken up with a view of helping to liquidate the debt on tho building.' This having been carried, a generous response was made by those present, upwards of £60 being contributed... the Cardinal intimated that he would add £10, and a number of other promises were received.... The Mayor of Annandale (Alderman Allen Taylor) seconded the vote of thanks to the Cardinal ia a eulogistic speech.... The new school-church with presbytery that has been completed is to be called " St Brendan's," erected on a block of land situated at the corner of Trafalgar and Collins streets, Annandale, and has a commanding and picturesque position. - The Sydney Morning Herald 17 October 1898 page 9

The brick church on the south east corner of Collins and Johnston Street was opened in 1912..


School BuildingBoy with Bible1950s Student outside 69 Trafalgar Street

"Then, as the Emmanuel School’s Rome mission does, participants underwent a two-day parish mission at St Brendan's at Annandale in conjunction with Credo, Bishop Porteous' initiative, where they gave testimonies at the local secondary school and spent a day with students." - The Record Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Construction work in School Ground, with school assemblyDuring 2009-10, Major alterations to St Brendan's School ( Site Inspection D/2009/110 & Supplementary Report) are being undertaken as part of the Australian Government Stimulus package. Collins Street Annandale 19 January 2010."Recommendations... That Council sell to The Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the Archdiocese of Sydney that part of the drainage reserve lot 14 DP 2973 which has been incorporated into its property for a price of $66,000" - Sale of Drainage Reserve 15 September 2009.

Insulating the Old School Building

School Buildings of different periods and styles School BuildingIn December 2011, the slate roofing on St Brendan's School was replaced. They also took the opportunity to install insulation.

References and Further Reading

  1. Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. 2010, Memories of Mary by those who knew her : Sisters of St. Joseph 1925-1926 / [Trustees of the Sisters of St. Joseph] John Garratt Publishing, Mulgrave, Vic. NLA
  2. History of St. Brendan's 1898-1989 / compiled by Mrs Davida Peters. Author: Peters, Davida. Published: 1989 More detail Reserve Write a review Published: [Annandale?] : Davida Peters, 1989. Collation: : illus., ports. ; 30 cm. Leichhardt Library: LH 282.9441 HIS
  3. St Brendan's a journey : the story of an Australian Catholic parish 1898-1998 / Julian Porteous. Author: Porteous, Julian. -- Catholic Church. St Brendan's Parish (Annandale, N.S.W.) Published: 1997 More detail Reserve Write a review Published: Annandale, N.S.W : St Brendan's Parish, c1997. Collation: ix, 93 p. : ill., facsims., ports ; 25 cm. ISBN: 9780646342122 Includes bibliographical references p. 93 Leichhardt Library: LH 282.9441 POR

This page last Updated: 19 December 2015.