The Parish Community of St Brigid's and St Mark's
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St Brigid's:
378 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy North

St Mark's:
543 Lygon Street, Carlton North
Fr Frank Yangminta CS
9489 6777
Monday to Friday - 9.30am to 4.30pm

History

St Brigid's is a large blue stone church with cement dressings, in the Decorated Gothic style. The original nave was designed by architect T.A. Kelly and built in 1870, with the two aisles added in 1881 and 1885. The main facade includes three fine rose windows while the interior is of hall church construction, without clerestory.


The first organ was the original organ from St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, was opened in 1882 but removed later to the Congregational Church, Castlemaine by Alfred Fuller; it is now at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Knoxfield, an outer Melbourne suburb. The present organ was built by Alfred Fuller, of Kew, and opened 24 July 1886 by David Lee. Later restoration work was carried out by George Fincham & Son in 1908 and 1911 (at one of these times the original Bassoon & Clarinet stop was replaced by a spotted metal Trumpet with dust bonnets). Further restoration took place by George Fincham & Sons in 1970, when a later Gamba 8 was restored to a Twelfth 2-2/3, while very recently Wakeley Pipe Organs has carried out a complete overhaul. This is the only surviving Fuller organ where all of the metal pipework (apart from the facade) is of spotted metal. Unusually, the Swell Flageolette 2 has tapered pipes. The internal painted finishes survive intact. The casework contains elaborately stencilled facade pipes (possibly decorated by rival organ builder William Anderson's artist - note the cartouches bearing saints' initials) while the mahogany console is of lavish construction, with elegant raised music desk, chamfered edges and rear panelling. This is a large and very original example of Fuller's work in fine condition.

St Brigid's Parish timeline through the ages

Up to 1854: The area was known as “The Quarries” and “The Swamp”, North Melbourne.

From 1854: The area is gradually transformed into a housing area, growing rapidly.

14 February, 1869: Laying of the foundation stone of a small gothic style church, designed by T.A. Kelly, Architect.

12 October, 1873: Blessing and opening of the church by James Gould, Bishop of Melbourne. The church is then also used as a school with lay teachers.

10 January, 1883: North Fitzroy is officially made into a parish, with Fr McKenna as the parish priest, separating it from St Patrick’s Cathedral.

1885: The original small church (built in 1873) is widened into a three-nave church and doubled in length. The Presbytery is also ready for the parish priest to live in (later on additions and modifications were made).

1886: Sisters of Mercy are called to teach, while living at The Academy.

1887: Opening of the hall, also used as the school.

1905: The Good Samaritan Sisters replaced the Sisters of Mercy as teachers at the school.

1917: The parish hall was severely damaged by fire and was rebuilt later that year.

1919: Building of the Convent commences.

1920: Opening of the Convent.

1925: Opening of the new and enlarged Primary school (closed in 2010).

1930: Opening of St Ida’s Central School for girls on a four-year High School Scholarship (closed in 1967).

21 January, 1968: The Scalabrinian Fathers take over the parish, making it a multicultural community with Fr John Raccanello CS, the parish priest.

2010: Simond’s College, Years 11 and 12, occupies the school building.


St Mark's Church timeline

1907: Fr Kelly purchased a block of land at the corner of Lygon and Patterson streets.

1935: The church-school is built, blessed and opened by Archbishop Daniel Mannix.

The building was used as the school (preps to grade 4) until 1970. The church is still used regularly on weekdays and Sundays.

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