BRIEF HISTORY OF ST ANTHONY’S PARISH WANNEROO

Fr. Leonard Guiang, OSM

The first (recorded) Mass in Wanneroo was celebrated in 1887 by Fr. James Duff in the home of the Gibbs family at the “The Ten Mile”. From thence onwards Mass was celebrated on an irregular basis by a priest from St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth who commuted on a bicycle to celebrate Mass in homes. From 1911 to 1927 Mass was offered monthly by priests from the Cathedral. Then from 1927 onwards Fr. Redmond Prendiville, who later became the 2nd Archbishop of Perth (1935 – 1968), provided religious services.

 

The first church in Wanneroo was erected, blessed, and opened on Sunday 17th July 1932 by the first Archbishop of Perth, His Grace Patrick Joseph Clune CSSR (1913 – 1935), at the cost of six hundred and seventy pounds. At the opening, he was accompanied by Fr. Lancelot John Goody, who later become the 3rd Archbishop of Perth (1968 – 1983), who had recently returned from studying in Rome and Dalmatia. With his ability to preach in Italian, Slav, and English, he gave much joy and delight to the multi-cultural people in the locality.

 

In February 1937, Wanneroo and Osborne Park became one Parish under the jurisdiction of Monsignor Albert Langmead as Parish Priest. It remained under the care of St Kieran’s Parish Osborne Park until December 1951 when the Servite Friars arrived in Australia from the United States to assume pastoral care of Wanneroo as a Parish with Very Rev James Mary Keane, OSM being the first Parish Priest.

 

Father Keane arrived in Perth, WA on 30th November 1951 and was greeted by Archbishop Redmond Prendiville. It was the Archbishop’s intention to create a new parish for the Servites (Order of the Servants of Mary - OSM) in a district outside Perth called Wanneroo. The large area was occupied by immigrant vegetable farmers mainly of Italian and Yugoslav origin. They had already built a small church called St Anthony’s which was under the jurisdiction of St Kieran’s Parish. Since St Anthony’s was not yet a parish, Fr. Keane took up residence at Osborne Park. Two days after his arrival, the Archbishop himself introduced Fr Keane to the parishioners. He laboriously worked in the parish of Osborne Park and Wanneroo, visiting, giving retreats, starting a Novena to our Lady of Sorrows and the Pilgrim statue going from house to house for a week. In 1952, Fr. Brunetti was appointed as the resident Parish Priest of St Anthony’s Parish.

 

In 2001 the present parish church was blessed and opened by the 5th Archbishop of Perth, His Grace Barry James Hickey (1991- 2012) and Fr. Patrick ‘Paddy” Boyle as the Parish Priest. The Servite Fathers continued to care for the parish for fifty years, until 2002, Fr. Fitzgerald, Fr. Carlo Marchetti, Fr. Patrick Boyle, Fr. Pitzen, Fr. Lawrence (Martin) Jenco – has been hostage in Lebanon of 19 months and the same time who gave the relic of St Anthony to the Crisafulli Family, Fr. Spicer, Fr. Christopher Ross, Fr. Myles Lynch, Fr. Liam Mackle.

 

In 2003, the parish was returned to diocesan administration with the appointment of Fr. Michael Separovich. Under his pastoral care, the Banksia Grove Primary Catholic School was established within the northern boundary of the parish. On 14th July 2007 Fr. John Daly was appointed as parish priest. During this time Mass was established in Banksia Grove Catholic Primary School. This led to the establishment of Banksia Grove Parish in 2015. Fr. Benedict Lee was appointed as the parish priest from 2018 to 2021. He was the first Asian parish priest of the parish.  

 

The Archbishop approached the Servites to see if they would return to St Anthony’s Parish. On the 2nd March 2021the 6th Archbishop of Perth, His Grace Timothy John Costelloe SDB appointed Fr. Peter

James Porteous, OSM as the Parish Priest and Fr. Leonard Guiang, OSM as the Assistant Priest. Perth Auxiliary Bishop Donald George Sproxton visited the Parish on Sunday 20 June to celebrate the installation Mas, of Fr Porteous and Assistant Priest and fellow Servite, Fr Leonard Guiang OSM. The installation of Fr Porteous and Fr Guiang marks the return of the Servite Order to the Wanneroo Parish, following their arrival in 1951 and departure in 2003, after more than 52 years administering the Parish. Speaking to the congregation of some 250 people during his homily, Bishop Sproxton said Fr Peter Porteous with the assistance of Fr Leonard, will serve the parish which is so special to the Servites. “The return of the Servites to St Anthony’s has been welcomed by the parishioners, many of whom have experienced the care of the Order since they arrived in Western Australia,” Bishop Sproxton said.

 

When the parish was first established it extended from Main Street, Balcatta to Yanchep. These last seventy years have seen several parishes in the northern suburbs of Perth carved off from the original Parish of Wanneroo.

 

The Parish Boundaries: (a)North: South Mulga Road west to Hawkins Road, from that intersection, due west north west to Caporn Street, west along Caporn Street to Pinjar Road, north along Pinjar Road to Conti Road, along Conti Road to its end, and a line due west from that point to Wanneroo Road. East along Cecil Road to the city of Wanneroo boundary (b) East: City of Wanneroo boundary to Gnangara Road (c) South: From the junction of the City of Wanneroo boundary and Gnangara Road, west along Gnangara Road to Sydney Road, south along Sydney Road to Gnangara Road junction, south west along Gnangara Road to Wanneroo Road, north west along Wanneroo Road to Ocean Reef Road, west along Ocean Reef Road to the Mitchell Freeway. (d) West: From the junction of Ocean Reef Road and the Mitchell Freeway, continue north west along the Mitchell Freeway to Burns Beach Road, north east along Burns Beach Road (turns into Joondalup Drive) to Wanneroo Road.

 

 

Sources:

  1. St Anthony’s Church Golden Jubilee Book 1932-1982,

  2. The writings of Fr. Patrick Boyle, OSM 2001 booklet

  3. The RECORD: accessed 29 July 2021, https://therecord.com.au/news/local/new-wanneroo-parish-priest-marks-second-coming-of-the-servites/?fbclid=IwAR2uJ1APXdfRnRY-Lu1cAOiEI3ai651oErWL-u-O-DdebNO9aKseYPHzk3s )

  4. accessed 29 July 2021, http://www.perthcatholic.org.au/Parishes__Mass_Times.htm?cms%2Erm=Boundaries