The Catholic parish of St Patrick’s, Kilmore was established in 1849 and is the oldest inland Catholic parish in Victoria.
Kilmore prides itself as “Australia’s first inland town”. Founded by William Rutledge an Irish immigrant in 1841, he named the town after his family home and local Irish diocese. The Gaelic names mean burying place and big church. And so St. Patrick’s became Australia’s first inland Catholic parish in 1849, before the State of Victoria existed.
Recollected history is that there was initially a chapel on Brewery Hill, at the north end of the town, built of 6ft paling slabs and a shingle roof. The gold rush meant increases of traffic though the area, and residents were quick to provide for the needs of this growing area and travellers. By 1848 a catholic school had been started and in 1851 three sites in Sutherland street were granted. With the usual government grant and donations, a stone church/school was built on the current site by 1854, but by then the parish priest Timothy O’Rourke, had ideas of a substantial church.
Numerous priests, nuns, brothers and lay people have served the tens of thousands who have come here to worship, to be educated, and to belong as members of this historic parish. The church you see today is a wonderful, visible sign of the faith that inspired those mainly Irish immigrants who flocked here in pioneering days, and was restored in 2012.
Our current priest, Father Grant O'Neill has served in the Parish since 2014. The Kilmore Parish covers 1500 square kilometres, from Kalkallo to halfway between Broadford and Tallarook and from Strath Creek in the east to Pyalong in the west. Schools in the parish also include Assumption College and the new Our Lady of the Way at Wallan (under construction and operating at St Patrick's until it is completed).
Mass times can be found here.
The Parish House (Presbytery) is open Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm. Parish secretary Janette Hinchcliffe is in attendance during these times. The Parish Secretary can be contacted on (03) 5782 1084 during these times or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the Kilmore Parish can be found here.