Parish outgrows St Michael’s

First St Michael's Church, dedicated on May 6, 1849, by Bishop Murphy.
First St Michael's Church, dedicated on May 6, 1849, by Bishop Murphy.

St Michael’s Catholic Church in Victoria Road, Clare, was the first substantial building in the village and the third Catholic church in the colony.

The church was dedicated in 1849 by Bishop Murphy and he chose St Michael the Archangel as patron of the church.

The first burial ground for Catholics was in the church grounds.

The first school in Clare was in a large room attached to the church and opened by William Lennon in 1849.

William Lennon died in 1895 and is buried in this cemetery.

Teaching in the church-school was carried on by secular teachers until the Sisters of St Joseph came to Clare in 1869.

At first they lived in rooms added to the back of the church until a large stone convent was built and opened in 1924.

Two rooms in this building had pianos and the nuns taught piano in those rooms.

As Clare parishioners grew, a larger church was needed and plans were drawn up and tenders called.

The foundation stone was laid in 1873 but the new church was not completed until 1883.

The first St Michael’s Church then became St Joseph’s School run by the Josephite sisters.  

It has been a school ever since with increasing enrolments, including other denominations.

  • The next Looking Back column will be on November 1. Is there something historical you’d like to learn more about? Let us know, email carla.wiese-smith@fairfaxmedia.com.au.