St Joseph's Ricketts Point Parish
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49 Cloris Avenue, Beaumaris, Vic 3193
Rev. Anthony Denton
(03) 9589 2271- Office
Mon, Tue, Thu – 9am to 1pm



In the latter half of the nineteenth century , settlement began to expand outwards from Melbourne. Part of this expansion was southward along the bayside. St.Kilda and Prahran first, then with the establishment of the railway , Brighton was formed. Brighton beach in those days was a popular area for bathing and seaside picnics among the ti -trees. In 1887 the railway was further extended along the coast from Brighton to Sandringham.

As the various areas along the railway line expanded in population they were declared cities. Brighton in 1919 became the first city south of Prahran. Sandringham , separated in 1919 from Moorabbin shire to conduct its own local government as a borough and was declared a city in 1923.

Earlier in 1906 Archbishop Carr laid the foundation stone for the Sacred Heart church in Sandringham, In the early twenties the administrative control of the city of Sandringham extended over Black Rock and Beaumaris. Black Rock was the terminus of an electric tram line from Sandringham. South of Black Rock settlement began to peter out and not revive again until it reached Mentone, where another railway from Melbourne reached the coast. Beaumaris , located between Black Rock and Mentone, comprised one large hotel which still stands and many acres of ti – trees, scrub and coastal bushland.

For the Catholics of Black Rock , there was as yet no church and parish boundaries did not quite coincide with municipal development. The Black Rock church district was included in Mentone parish , but parishioners living adjacent to the tram line attended mass at Sacred Heart Church at Sandringham. Other parishioners living further to the south of the tram terminus were faced with the choice of Mentone or Sandringham. Either way it was a long journey. In order to overcome this obstacle some of the parishioners decided to celebrate mass at the home of Mr. and Mrs Murphy , which lay half a mile south of Black Rock terminus( Cnr of Ebden Ave and Fourth Street). A temporary altar was set up on a wide enclosed verandah and chairs provided for about 15 to 20 people. Outside was a delightful , rambling garden.

Black Rock church district was transferred from Mentone to Sandringham parish on 20 th May 1927. One the 1 st of Jan 1928 the foundation stone was laid for the Black Rock church school. St. Joseph’s church , Black Rock was formally opened on 22 nd April 1928. In 1931 St Joseph’s was officially formed as an independent parish with Fr Gorry as the parish priest.

The present church was officially opened on 8 th Dec 1963 by Rev Monsignor L.P. Moran


In 1952 the land area between Balcombe Road , itself a narrow strip of asphalt overhung by native trees, and Beach Road was virtually uninhabited. It was this area which gave birth to the parish of Stella Maris. Most of what was to become the desirable suburb of Beaumaris was owned by the Dunlop Rubber Company which had earmarked it for industrial purposes.

To the north between Balcombe and Weatheral Roads a few developers had cut thin paths between the local gum trees building mainly cheap timber homes without any obligation to provide roads or sewerage for the pioneers who went to the area not because it was the desirable suburb of Beaumaris but because both land and houses were cheap. The Catholics amongst those early settlers found that they belonged to the parish of St.Patrick’s , Mentone , and this required a strong faith to make the journey to Mass on Sunday morning. The few who owned motor cars risked being bogged in the mud before they reached the security of Balcombe Road. The pedestrians needed to set aside about 3 hours to push prams and coerce their walking youngsters through the dusty or muddy scrub to the relative civilization of Mentone and back again. A few of those hardy citizens decided that there had to be a better way and they successfully petitioned their parish priest, the colourful Father Frank O’Hanlon to send a curate to celebrate home masses in their isolated outpost. So it was that in September 1952 the future parish of Stella Maris was born in the home of Paul O’Toole at the corner of Balcombe Road and Howell Avenue. Paul O’Toole , a bank manager , was transferred interstate after a year and the home masses were transferred to their neighbours Roy and Shirley Costa who lived at 2 Howell Avenue. The Costa home was a Sunday shrine for local Catholics in 1952 and 1953. It was still not easy to get there but the journey was a lot shorter than the long trek to Mentone.

The plans of the Dunlop Company to build a factory and housing settlement for its workers on the 300 acres of Beaumaris land which it owned were frustrated when various restrictions imposed by the Sandringham council made the venture not viable. The Company then moved its operations to Bayswater and subdivided its Beaumaris property for sale. This led to a decided change of thinking on the part of Father O’Hanlon , of Mentone, who had been well aware that his Beaumaris parishioners could not continue with their make shift arrangements to attend Mass. Father O’Hanlon went into negotiations with Dunlop to buy 22 building blocks centred around Pellatt Street. This negotiation failed as the land was inadvertently sold to another purchaser. In a gracious act of recompense Dunlop then made available 4.63 acres of land which runs from Oak Street to Dalgetty road. This is the current land on which Stella Maris , the school and the Tennis club now stand. Having acquired the land Father O’Hanlon formed a building committee in 1953 , to draft up plans to build the new church.

Thus the initial Stella Maris church was built and officially opened on Jan 15 , 1956. Four months later the school was opened. On Jan 27 , 1957 Stella Maris was declared a separate parish. From July 1959 for the next year the church construction was expanded to accommodate about 500 people. The new church , in it’s current form, was opened on 31st May 1960.


In 1992 Fr.O’Callaghan , the parish priest of St Joseph’s Black Rock , retired and Fr Tom White , the parish priest of Stella Maris ,was appointed as administrator for St.Joseph’s. The two parishes have since continued to be served by just one parish priest . In 1998 Father Tom White retired and was replaced by Fr John Dupuche who on 26 July 2008 officially combined the 2 churches to form one parish under the name NAZARETH PARISH OF RICKETT’S POINT

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