St Patrick's Church at Tatong will mark 140 years with a special Mass next month.October 4, 2012 5:22am
A significant celebration will take place on Sunday, November 4, commemorating 140 years of St Patrick’s Church at Tatong.
The unfolding story is one of warmth, love and beauty.
Between the years 1860 and 1870 Rev Father Scanlon travelled on horseback from Beechworth to visit his far-flung flock in the new colony.
Beechworth, at that time, was touted to be the inland capital due to gold being found there.
Father Scanlon celebrated Mass in Violet Town two or three times a year, mostly on weekdays.
At this time Bishop Goold was in charge of the See of Melbourne, and presided over the Diocese of Melbourne.
With the arrival of the railway in 1872, the township of Violet Town shifted to its present site.
At this time the priest travelled from Wangaratta on horseback and, with an increase in the number of worshippers, a meeting was held to discuss the erection of a Roman Catholic Church.
A site was procured and a wooden church was built — the first Roman Catholic Church in Violet Town. The church was opened in 1872 and was dedicated to St Attracta, an Irish nun who lived in the 6th Century.
The erection of this church preceded the formation of the Diocese of Sandhurst (Bendigo) and was initially administered under the sole jurisdiction of the Diocese of Melbourne.
Parishes had not been formed at this stage.
In 1876 Father Scanlon was appointed to the newly formed Parish of St Joseph in Benalla.
In 1899 it was decided, due to the larger congregation in Violet Town at that time, that the original wooden church would be replaced by the present brick building.
Violet Town at this time was in the Benalla Parish.
In a somewhat unusual manner it was decided by Dean Davey, then Parish Priest of Benalla, to transfer the original church building to a district called Rothesay. This district is situated halfway between Tatong and Swanpool, and the building was placed so that it would serve both farming communities.
The church was transported in 1900 via horsedrawn wagons from Violet Town to Rothesay, taking five days to complete. It was moved onto land donated by Mr M. Maher of Tatong Rd and situated on the corner of Samaria-Tatong Rd because it was considered a central position to all districts.
The new church was recreated and furnished for the sum of £350 pounds, with cost covered by donations.
This second opening of the church on February 10, 1899 was undertaken by Dr Reveille, Co-Adjutor Bishop of Sandhurst, assisted by Dean Davey who performed the dedication ceremony.
The church was then dedicated to St Patrick.
The opening event at Rothesay was attended by a large crowd from many different denominations. Many non-Catholics subscribed liberally towards the cost of the communities at different times.
St Patrick’s continues to inspire and witness.
The ancient text, ‘‘The stone which the builders rejected, has become the cornerstone,’’ aptly sums up the future of St Patrick’s.
To celebrate 140 years of this building, there will be a special Mass celebrated on Sunday, November 4.
The principal celebrant will be Bishop Tomlinson, Diocese of Sandhurst, with Father Taylor, Parish Priest of Benalla, along with visiting priests.
After Mass a luncheon/afternoon tea will be held in the church grounds.
A warm welcome is extended to everyone to go along and join in this most important milestone.
In keeping with the historic hospitality extended at St Attracta’s, Violet Town and St Patrick’s Church, Rothesay, a plate of food to share would be appreciated.
Anyone with any old photos or memorabilia associated with St Attracta’s, Violet Town prior to 1900 or St Patrick’s Church, Rothesay would be appreciated as it is planned to compile a book shortly.
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