St Peter's and St Mary of the Cross Mackillop Parish Epping/Epping North/Wollert
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St Peter's
13 Davisson Street Epping 3076
Parish Priest: Rev. Anh Nguyen Assistant Priest Rev Tien Tran
9401 6300
Mon 9am-3pm, Tues-Wed 9.30am-3.30pm, Thurs -Fri 10am-4pm


Epping Parish

Parish History Part 1: Epping and Woodstock
The area now included in the Epping Parish was administered until 1910 under the Coburg and Heidelberg Missions. Plenty Road was approximately the line which determined what part were in the Coburg Mission [west of Plenty Road] and what part were in the Heidelberg Mission [east of Plenty Road]. Hence it was not until 1910 that Epping Parish as we know it came into existence but the story began long before then.

Historical Committee
The history of Epping Parish was compiled and written by the Historical Committee, Parish of Epping, 16 November 1991. The members of the committee were: Maureen Cooper, Maureen Doyle, Warren Ellem and Pam Prendergast. The committee is still very interested in hearing from people about your experiences, about your history and that of the community. Please contact Epping Parish.

Phase 1: Part of the Coburg Mission [St PauI's]
According to the Whittlesea Post, the first Catholic services in the area were conducted by a priest from St. Francis in Melbourne who came out to Darebin Creek [now Epping]. On 18 May 1848, Fr. P.B. Geoghegan was reputed to have said the Mass at the home of Alexander McKillop in Darebin Creek. The areas of Darebin Creek [Epping] and Woodstock were originally part of the mission of Coburg set up in 1851 whose base was St. Paul‘s Church Pentridge, work on which began on 30 June 1850. The first priest of the mission was Fr. Patrick Dunne. When Fr. Dunne was transferred to Geelong early in 1853, the Coburg Mission was taken on by Fr. C. O‘Hea, fresh from Cork in Ireland. Fr. O'Hea saw the mission reduced to Coburg, Brunswick, Preston, Epping and Woodstock. He set up a number of small schools and maintained those already established until his departure in 1882. It was during Fr. O‘Hea's time that work began on St. Peter's Church. Bishop Gould celebrated High Mass in a marquee and laid the foundation stone on November 5, 1865. St. Peters Church became the second oldest church in Victoria outside the city area. Epping had by this time a population of about 300 people.
Tenders were called for the church on 5 January 1865 in the Argus and were sent to Mr Thomas Mahoney at the firm of architect Alfred Kursteiner of Melbourne. The land for the church was conveyed on 8 March 1865 from Frederick Crook of Melbourne to Bishop J.A.
Goold, Rev. Dr. Fitzpatrick V.G., Thomas Henry Rawlins of Epping, Hugh McGlynn of Glynn Park and William Dodd of Epping. Tenders for joinery work to the roof were called in on 4 April 1866. The splendid high ceilings of interlocking oregon demonstrated craftsmanship of
a high order but the name of the person responsible has not been found. Built of bluestone St. Peter's Church was opened January 13, 1867.
Fr. O‘Hea's successor, another Fr. Dunne, died shortly after taking over and was followed in 1883 by Fr. M. Hayes, who tended to the Pentridge Stockade arid the Melbourne Gaol along with the large parish, as had the priest before him. Fr. Hayes remained until Epping became a separate parish.

Phase 2: The Epping Parish
The huge Coburg mission was dismantled about 1910 and a new parish of Epping, the parish we now know, was established by Archbishop Carr in 1910 from the Heidelberg and Coburg missions. It took in Epping, Bundoora, Woodstock, Mernda and Whittlesea and included part of Donnybrook and South Morang. Fr Joseph McCarter became Epping's first parish priest.
An Edwardian style home was built as a permanent residence for the priest in the area through the help of the parishioners and the bazaar fundraising. The parish in the 1950's consisted of the parish centre at Epping where Mass was celebrated each Sunday and three outside churches at Whittlesea, Mernda and Woodstock. In addition, Mass was also held in the Donnybrook Hall. In each of the outside churches and the hall there was Sunday Mass once a month. There was confession before Mass. Each church usually had a family that looked after the church's cleaning and maintenance.
By mid-1950‘s the bluestone church needed repair. The migrant community which had played a major role in building up the area, housed two parishioners whose expertise combined with generosity of parishioners who provided labour and equipment, to restore and extend the church. The state roof was replaced with an iron roof, flooring was concreted and the bluestone wall was repaired. On the east side of the church, a sacristy, side chapel and confessionals were added. The need to expand had evidently been provided for in the original design as the four Gothic pillars now in the church were found already in place when the plaster on the east wall was removed. Electric lights were put in as was a bell in the new spire. The fine carved wood altar which graces the church was given by the priest [Fr. Willis, R.I.] and parishioners of Moonee Ponds. The original one was transferred to the side altar where it remains. The spire was added to St. Peter‘s Church in 1957 and was donated to the parish by the then parish priest Fr. LR. Griffin in memory of his parents. He became parish priest of St. Peter‘s in l955 and served there until 1959, then Fr. Frederick M. Chamberlain took over. 

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