St Bernard's Church - Bacchus Marsh
Bishop Carr - May 3 1905
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St Bernard's Church
61 Lerderderg Street, Bacchus Marsh 3340
Our Lady Help of Christians
309 Myrniong-Korobeit Rd, Korobeit 3341
Fr Fabian Smith
5367 2069
Tue, Wed, Thu – 9am to 1pm; Fri – 10am to 3pm


Bacchus Marsh

A small number of Catholics are know to have lived in the Bacchus Marsh, Melton and Ballan areas as early as 1841 and mass may have been celebrated in private homes in those early days.

Bacchus Marsh was originally part of the Keilor Mission and the first recorded mass was celebrated  by Bishop Goold on 16th October 1850 when he laid the foundation stone for the chapel of St Laurence O'Toole, near what is now the Hopetoun Catholic Cemetery. This building was also used for our first school.

The Catholic parish of Bacchus Marsh was formed in1852 and covered Bacchus Marsh, Melton, Ballan, Gisborne, Blackwood and surrounding areas.  Several priests visitied the area to say mass during those pioneering days.

As the population moved further west, a new church/school was built in Fisken Street in 1863.  St Laurence's church was badly damaged by floods in 1864 and a few years later only the foundations remained.

St. Bernard’s church in Lerderderg Street was built between 1872 and 1874. The ceremony of dedication and opening took place on 20 June 1874 by the Vicar General, the Very Reverend Dr Fitzpatrick, accompanied by Fr Kelly SJ.  St Bridget's Choir of Gisborne sang the V G Mozart's No 12 Mass.  The church was built at a cost of £3600 and local stone from Parwan was used in its construction.

The land on which the church is built was purchased by Bishop Goold in January 1866 for the sum of £40.

In February 2017 St Bernard's Parish entered a partnership with St Anthony of Padua's Parish, Melton South - sharing priests between both parishes.

List of parish priests after the pioneering period:

  • Dr Daniel Horan    1886-1910
  • Fr M Ryan    1910-1911
  • Fr Paddy Gleeson    1911-1919
  • Fr J Ellis    1919-1936
  • Fr L Hartnett   1936 (1 week only)
  • Fr G Gavin Duffy    1936-1963
  • Fr Herb Steele    1963-1987
  • Fr Brian Glasheen    1982 - 2017
  • Fr Fabian Smith    2017 -

In 2002 the church was refurbished to meet the needs of the modern liturgy and consequently a new section was added to the entrance making it a welcoming gathering place for weddings, funerals and for the general parish community.

The Sisters of St Joseph opened St Bernard's School in Gisborne Road in 1890. Saint Mary of the Cross McKillop was a regular visitor as this was the first Josephite school established in the Melbourne Archdiocese.

Our Lady Help of Christians - Korobeit

A Catholic school was opened at Mt Blackwood in 1866. It closed in 1889 and then became known as St Michael's Chapel.  The current church of Our Lady Help of Christians was opened in Korobeit in October 1903.

Catholic Museum

Located in the old convent chapel in the school gounds.

Hopetoun Catholic Cemetery

Located off the freeway - east of Bacchus Marsh.
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