A Brief History of the Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Waterloo

Beginnings

The hill, which was once known as Hungry Hill because of its bare and craggy aspect, later became known as Mount Lachlan after Governor Lachlan Macquarie. It was part of a grant given to John Thomas Campbell, an Ulster man and secretary to Macquarie in 1825. The Legislative Assembly donated one acre of land of the area to the Catholic Church in 1858.

Mr William Monroe drew up plans for a magnificent church on top of the hill (Drawings of this church can be seen in the foyer of the present church.) but financial consideration meant that a simpler church be built. The foundation stone

was laid by Archbishop Polding OSB on 15th August 1859. He came back twenty months later to perform the dedication of the now completed church. The high Mass was celebrated by Fr Sheehy, with Frs Curtis and Fitzpatrick acting a deacon and subdeacon. Fr Kenyon preached.

 

The Municipality of Waterloo had been newly constituted but the church was still part of the St Benedict's Parish of Broadway which ran from the harbour to Botany Bay at that time. The Parish Priest of the time was Fr M. A. Corish OSB. It was not until 1866 that Fr Peter Farrell OFM was appointed as the first parish priest and he lived in a house on Redfern St near the present St Vincent's Church. Fr Athy followed as next Parish Priest in 1870 but it was Fr J. Cunningham who built the first presbytery (Priest's House) in 1870. Fr Cunningham built the first school in 1876. (The original building is the current administration block). Up until then, school lessons were given in the church from 1858.