Parish History

Brief History of the Parish

1833 First recorded Mass in Illawarra (celebrated by Father Therry)
1838 Fr John Rigney is entrusted with the pastoral care of the Illawarra Mission (which included the settlement of Jamberoo).
1838 Bishop Polding consecrates the ground for the Jamberoo Cemetery.
1839 A wooden church school built in Jamberoo.
1852 Kiama - Shoalhaven area established as a parish with Fr Pierre de Jonge O.S.B. (Fr Peter Young) as first Parish Priest.
1858 Saint Peter's Church Kiama, opened at a cost of 1,600 pounds
1860 Fr Michael Flanagan, appointed second parish priest. The Kiama presbytery completed during this year.
1863 Shoalhaven - Ulladulla detached from Kiama and made a separate parish.
1864 Small wooden school and chapel erected at Gerringong.
1867 Shellharbour detached from Kiama parish and included in the new parish of Albion Park.
1871 Gerringong Catholic School closed.
1875 Archbishop Vaughan visits the parish and confirms 60 at St Peter's Kiama.
1879 The present St Matthew's Church, Jamberoo blessed and opened by Archbishop Vaughan
1882 Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Gerringong blessed and opened by Archbishop Vaughan. (The name of the church was later changed to "St Mary, Star of the Sea")
1883 Tragic drowning of Fr's McGrath and Clarke (both of Nowra) off Kendell's beach, Kiama.
1884 Care of parish school at Jamberoo entrusted to Sisters of St Joseph.
1887 Catholic school established at Kiama, Later that year the Sisters of St Joseph took charge of the Kiama school and the Jamberoo school was closed.
1888-1889 Convent built and opened.
1905 Fr (later Dean) Michael Malone appointed parish priest of Kiama (Parish Priest 1905-1914, 1916-1960)
1908 Celebrations to mark the Golden Jubilee of St Peter's Church, Kiama.
1935 Fr (later Monsignor) Michael Irish begins long association with the parish as administrator (1935-1960) then as parish priest (1960-1970).
1930s Extensive renovations and enlargement of Presbytery
1942 Fr Michael Malone celebrates Golden Jubilee of his priestly ordination. Archbishop Gilroy confers the title "Dean" on him, and he is presented with a gold chalice and paten by the people of Kiama. (Chalice still regularly in use at Kiama).
1952 New parish school built.
1952 Kiama becomes one of the parishes making up the newly formed diocese of Wollongong. Bishop Thomas McCabe becomes the first Bishop of Wollongong.
1960 Death of Dean Malone. Monsignor Michael Irish becomes parish priest of Kiama
1963 The new parish Church of Ss Peter & Paul is opened and blessed by Bishop McCabe.
1970 Monsignor Irish dies and is succeeded by Father Alan Robinson.
1974 St Joseph's Parish School renamed "Ss Peter and Paul".
1975 Bishop William Murray becomes second Bishop of Wollongong on retirement of Bishop McCabe.
1976 St Matthew's Jamberoo restored, and consecrated by Bishop Murray.
1977 Fr Richard Hazlitt becomes Administrator of Kiama, and parish priest the following year.
1981 Second storey of new Ss Peter and Paul School block completed. (Begun in 1977)
1982 Centenary of St Mary Star of the Sea, Gerringong.
1983 Bishop McCabe dies.
1984 Fr Pat Kenna succeeds Fr Hazlitt as Parish Priest of Kiama. First Lay Principal (M. De Busch) of Ss Peter and Paul School.
1986 Meeting room built near Church at Gerringong.
1989 Benedictine Abbey at Jamberoo opened and blessed.
1990 Sisters of St Joseph cease teaching in Parish School but continue pastoral care in parish. New Grade 6 and Library added to school buildings.
1993 Consecration of Ss Peter and Paul Church by Bishop Murray.
1995 New block (Grade 5) of Ss Peter and Paul School.
1996 Bishop Philip Wilson becomes third Bishop of Wollongong on retirement of Bishop Murray, who makes his home in Kiama. St Mary Star of the Sea Church in Gerringong is extended to almost double its size. Dedicated by Bishop Wilson.
1999 Meeting room and Catechist Centre added to Ss Peter and Paul Church. Extensive renovations to exterior of Church.
2000 Meeting room built at Jamberoo.
2001 Bishop Peter Ingham appointed fourth Bishop of Wollongong, following Bishop Wilson's transfer to Adelaide. Father Peter Thompson, CM Administrator of Kiama. Sister Helen Madden RSJ leaves the parish after six years as pastoral associate, bringing to an end the work of the Sisters of St Joseph in the parish.
2002 Sister Mary Louise Walsh ISSM appointed pastoral associate of Kiama Parish. Father Bernard Dowdell appointed parish priest following the retirement of Fr Pat Kenna. Kiama Parish celebrates Sesquicentenary of its foundation. Father Paul Gurr O' Carm appointed administrator of parish with sickness of Fr Bernard Dowdell.
2003 Fr Chris Roberts appointed as Parish Priest.
2004      Minor refurbishment of Ss Peter & Paul Church and Presbytery. Sister Mary Louise Walsh finishes her term as Pastoral Associate.
2010 On 29 June Bishop Ingham blesses and opens the new section of Ss Peter & Paul Primary School, comprising Administration, Library and six classrooms, built from a CBGA grant of $2.8million and a Parish loan of $1.1 million.
2011 On 21 April the old Meeting Room in Ss Peter & Paul Church becomes the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. The new Meeting Room moves to the old Admin block of the school and the Catechetical Centre moves to the old school classrooms behind the Parish Hall. On 10 June Fr Chris blesses the new School Hall, Canteen and four classrooms, which are all a part of the BER project.
2013 Bishop William Murray dies on 21 April. The 50th Anniversary of Ss Peter & Paul Church sees the 50th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone. This is marked by the blessing of two mosaics of St Peter and St Paul, made by parishioners Clare Anderson and Joan O'Neill. Bishop Ingham celebrates the anniversary marking the opening of Ss Peter & Paul Church. The old bell from the 1858 St Peter's Church is reinstalled outside the Parish Office and electrified to ring out the Angelus at 12noon daily.
2014 A stained glass window of the Annunciation, made by parishioner Joan O'Neill, is installed in Ss Peter & Paul Church and is blessed by Fr Chris on 29 September.