August 24th, 2022St Augustine’s Church celebrates 150 years
ST AUGUSTINE’S Church Creswick will celebrate its 150th anniversary on the weekend of September 17 and 18.
Coordinator David Preston, who is also president of the Creswick & District Historical Society, said the church was opened on September 16, 1872 by Archbishop James Goold of Melbourne.
“In those days, the whole of Victoria was his parish with the Ballarat Diocese not starting until 1886.”
Mr Preston said the weekend would kick off with a parish dinner at the Doug Lindsay Reserve on the Saturday night, September 17, followed the next day by midday mass at the church with Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird.
After the service there will be a big display of historic photos and memorabilia at the St Augustine’s Primary School hall from 1.30pm
Mr Preston said along with locals there would be many former parishioners returning for the weekend to take part in the celebrations.
“We started with the idea about 18 months ago although Covid stopped us for a while, but we managed to get a fair bit done over the past six months.
“We are hoping to get 80 to 100 to the dinner but I think the Sunday will be a lot bigger which will be great. The church has been a focal point of the town and district for 150 years and just last Sunday we had four kids baptised there.
“There have also been a lot of people carried out in coffins too, and heaps of weddings. A lot of the photos will be of weddings, along with those who have a bit of depth in the place, and plenty of school kids from over the years. It will be an interesting weekend.”
Mr Preston said he had been the motivator of the event although he says he will be happily handing over the reins for the 200th celebrations.
“I really thought this was worthwhile doing and with the way the world is going in another 50 years there will be a different demograph altogether.
“We must celebrate the past and the future and also realise that whatever is here has its roots further back. It’s not all about Google.”
Mr Preston said the church remained very relevant in the community and still had about 60 to 70 people coming along each Sunday – not quite the numbers of the 50s and 60s when a large Dutch contingent arrived after WWII – swelling weekly numbers to more than 200.
Many of their descendants remained, he said, along with other locals whose heritage stretched back to the 1870s. One woman’s great-great-grandfather helped cart the stone from Dean for the church building.
As for Mr Preston, Creswick has always been home with his grandparents moving to the town in 1912. His father started the family transport company K.T. Preston in 1950.
Tickets for the dinner are $40 and on sale until September 11. There is free entry to the display in the school hall. For information and tickets visit https://staugustines150.weebly.com or email email@example.com
Top image: Members of the St Augustine’s community whose families have had connection with the parish since the mid-1800s, from left, Don McMahon, Sr Louise Hall, Margaret Goates, Ann Hall, Keiran Moore & David Preston This image & main church image: Neil Doolan
Contributed image: Monsignor James McInerney, Parish Priest of St Augustine’s 1951-1983
Words: Donna Kelly | Images below: Kyle Barnes