St Joan of Arc Catholic Church, Herston
The St Joan of Arc's Story
In 1920 the house ‘Clydesdale” on Clyde Road caught the eye of the astute Archbishop James Duhig who sent a trusted confidant to inspect. They agreed it was just what they wanted. It was central with a fine plot of land. It was purchased for £1800. They then bought the allotment at the rear which would make a fine site for a brick church. The next buy was the home of a Mr Smead, this was to become the first presbytery. The stately, two storey, “Clydesdale” was built by D. McKellar. (lithographer and engraver, Elizabeth Street, city) in 1889. The next owner was Mr William Healion and it was from his estate that His Grace purchased the property through the Union Trustees who were the executors of his will. The intention of the Archbishop was to proceed without delay to establish a church and convent school on the site and he appointed Fr William S. McGoldrick as Parish Priest. The appointee had for some time been the Archbishop’s secretary. He lived at the university college where he was well thought of by the students. So it was that on Sunday morning, 11th July 1920, the new Catholic Parish of Herston was inaugurated by Archbishop James Duhig.
The Archbishop handed “Clydesdale” over to the parish, this would eventually serve as a convent. A Salvation Army Hall from Gaythorne was purchased for £550 (a gift from Archbishop Duhig). The materials from that building were used, together with extra materials, to complete the building of the church. Archbishop Duhig praised the committee for their rapid progress and the blessing and dedication ceremony was set for 5th December, 1920 at 3.30pm.
Early in 1920 the Church in Rome had authoritatively declared that the Maid of Orleans, who had been burned at the stake five centuries ago, was entitled to be called St Joan of Arc. Her name was taken for the Herston Parish and it was believed to be the first parish in the world to bear the name of this illustrious French girl who rose from humble peasant origins.
In October 1923 Fr William McGoldrick sailed for China, the first Australian priest to work in the Columban missions overseas. His successor was Fr Bartholomew Gorman.
In 1924 the Presentation Sisters came to the parish to establish their first convent in the Archdiocese. Mothers Patrick and Ursula, after discussion with Archbishop Duhig, accepted the challenge of starting a new school at the Herston Parish. The primary school of St Joan of Arc was opened on the 14th July, 1924. When 5 pupils were enrolled on 3rd August the convent was blessed and formally opened by the Archbishop. Numbers reached as high as 130 by about two years later and stabilised at this level for forty years and the school was always staffed by the Presentation Sisters. With declining numbers the school closed in 1968.
During the ensuing years, the Parish steadily developed under the direction of Frs Jim O’Connor, Pat Costello, the Norbertine Fathers, Fr Gerry Nicol and Fr Brian McMullen who was appointed in 1962.
In 1963 Archbishop Duhig blessed the present church and in 1972 the new presbytery was opened. The presbytery served as home not only to the parish priest but also to the hospital chaplain. In 2009 the presbytery was renamed Canali House and is now a residential center for pre seminary discernment More information about Canali House can be found here.
To mark the Silver Jubilee of the blessing of the church, extensive renovations were carried out and the provision of a new servery at the entrance to the church ensures that Joan of Arc continues its long tradition of welcome and hospitality.
While being the smallest of the Jubilee churches, St Joan of Arc, is a vibrant multicultural community which welcomes many young students from abroad, as well as local parishioners. Please accept our invitation to join us each Sunday morning for our 7:30am Mass.
47 Clyde Road
(*Please refer to the current week’s newsletter for the weekday Masses)
St Joan of Arc