No. 1250 - King Island - Currie - Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church

Currie is the main town and administration centre of King Island. The ship "Netherby" ran onto rocks off the island in 1866 and was salvaged by Captain Archibald Currie. The harbour and later the settlement were named in his honour.

Father Patrick Hayes was the first Catholic priest to visit King Island. In September 1909 he sailed from Launceston on board the ‘steamer Yabacoona’. Hayes records:

“The Catholic inhabitants are not numerous. Comprising about one dozen families scattered here and there, they form, perhaps, about one ninth of the population. They have come principally from Victoria or Tasmania. A few Irishmen have made their home there, and are prospering at either grazing or dairying industry….When I landed on the island there were two children waiting baptism. Before ten days had elapsed three others were born…There is an entire absence of sectarian strife…The Protestants were as warm in giving me a welcome as members of my own flock…”.

In 1913 the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart began a permanent ministry on King Island. Masses were mostly held in the Methodist Church. Father Goodman oversaw the construction of the first Catholic church which officially opened in April 1914. The event was recorded by The King Island News:

“A few months ago the Rev. Fr. Goodman…came to King Island for t.he purpose of ascertaining the prospects of building and maintaining a new Catholic Church in the island….Fr. Goodman soon found himself on good terms with the residents and was not long in solving the problem. Offers of financial assistance from members of all denominations were so rapid in their forthcoming that the energetic priest soon obtained possession of a block of land which was shortly afterwards set apart for the Church and in due course the foundation stone of the new building was laid by Rt. Rev. Monsignor Gilleran…assisted by Rev. Fr. O'Flynn, of Port Cygnet. In what appeared a surprisingly short period Fr. Goodman had collected sufficient; money for building operations to commence on plans drawn by Mr Geo. Maloney, builder, who subsequently made and donated to the Church a beautiful altar.…”.

“On Saturday 25th…His Grace, Archbishop Delany, arrived at Currie…. On Sunday, April 26, His Grace, assisted by Fr. Goodman administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to 31 candidates after the last Mass, and at 3 p.m. on the same day blessed and dedicated the new Church, which will be known in future as the Church of "Our Lady Star of the Sea." After the dedication ceremony Fr. Goodman, at the request of the Archbishop, presented a financial statement showing the cost of the building to be £557…”.


Missionaries of the Sacred Heart priests continued to visit King Island until 1933. In 1963 a catechetical school was established and a convent was built for the Presentation Sisters. Our Lady Star of the Sea continues to serve the Catholic community of King Island".

Our Lady Star of the Sea - photograph supplied by Denice Walter

Our Lady Star of the Sea - photograph supplied by Denice Walter

Our Lady Star of the Sea - photograph supplied by Denice Walter


Our Lady Star of the Sea - photograph supplied by Denice Walter


Sources:

King Island News, Friday 23 May 1913, page 3
Mercury, Tuesday 5 May 1914, page 6
King Island News, Friday 8 May 1914, page 3
King Island News, Friday 28 August 1914

Southerwood, W. T Planting a faith in Tasmania : the country parishes. [W. T. Southerwood], [Hobart], 1977.



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