St Bernard's Catholic Parish | Bacchus Marsh
Bishop Carr - May 3 1905
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St Bernard's Catholic Church
61 Lerderderg Street, Bacchus Marsh 3340
Fr Fabian Smith, Parish Priest
5367 2069
Tue, Wed, Thu | 9am - 1pm Fri | 10am - 3pm


Bacchus Marsh

A small number of Catholics are known 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 in 1852 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 20th 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:

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

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 Catholic 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 grounds.


88 Main Street West
Convent Lane
Bacchus Marsh

Hopetoun Catholic Cemetery

Located off the freeway - east of Bacchus Marsh.

Bacchus Marsh Road
Bacchus Marsh

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