Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."

- John 14:6

Beginning

IN THE BEGINNING

 

Tribute must be paid to Fr (later Monsignor) John O'Driscoll, who established the first St Declan's church. He was a pioneer priest who became responsible for all Catholics in the St George district then known as the Hurstville Parish (bordered by Tempe, the Royal National Park, Cronulla and the Lidcombe parish). There were 4 churches in the parish at the time - Kogarah, Hurstville, Rockdale and Sutherland.

In the 1880s, the Illawarra railway line opened up the Hurstville area to development. Land was subdivided in the area, one of these being in Victoria Avenue, linking Penshurst and Mortdale. This was to become the site of the first St Declan's church.

The area surrounding Penshurst in 1906 was still regarded as bushland with scattered settlements. Before 1900, Catholics in the area attended mass in private homes, at St Michael's Church, Hurstville or in St George's Hall, Mortdale.

In 1906, Fr O'Driscoll purchased land in Victoria Avenue, constructing the St Declan's School-Church on the site. The school-church was opened and blessed on 10th March 1907 by Cardinal Moran, under the invocation of St Declan.

As the growth of the area increased, St Michael's Hurstville became a separate parish, no longer under the responsibility of Fr O'Driscoll. The Hurstville parish included St Declan's with Fr Briody as Parish Priest.

>>O'Kelly Years

92 Penshurst St PENSHURST NSW 2222 | Phone: 9580 1310 | Fax: 9580 7170 | Email:declans@tpg.com.au