No. 45 - The Holy Family Catholic Church at St Leonards - A 'Pioneering' Move

This small Church at St Leonards now serves the Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Church. It used to serve a another Catholic community but not originally at St Leonards. The building was in fact the Catholic Church in Pioneer in the remote Tasmanian North East. Pioneer was once a mining boomtown but when the industry collapsed, the population declined and the church closed.

In 1947 the Pioneer Church was purchased for £100, cut up into pieces and transported to St Leonards where it was reconstructed and given a new roof. Prior to this Mass had been conducted in a hall in Station Road. In 1947, at its dedication by Archbishop Tweedy as the Church of the Holy Family, it was reported that he:

“…envisaged a presbytery, school and convent on the site. The land was not originally intended for use as a church site, he said, and it was hoped that before long more of the property would be used for the purpose for which it was bought, as a site for homes for elderly people.”

This vision came to pass in 1950 with the establishment of Nazareth House for the aged and in 1961 with the founding of the school Larmenier, named after Victoire Larmenier who had established the Sisters of Nazareth. The special vocation of these sisters was the care of the aged and the young. They have now left Tasmania and the congregation has withered away but the church survives albeit under the banner of new 'pioneering' community.


Examiner Saturday 1 February 1947

Examiner Monday 30 June 1947

Examiner Saturday 12 April 1947


  1. Hi Duncan, Would it possible to get your permission to reproduce your first photo of the St Leonards Church in a book to be published in the new year for release in Tasmania. You would be given credit for the photo. Happy to give you more details if needed. Cheers Peter

    1. I was chasing the second photo , not the first !

  2. Hi Peter, you are welcome to use any of the photographs


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