Early History of Christ the King Parish by Barry Hishion
In 1955 the areas of Bass Hill and Georges Hall were annexed from Sefton Parish on 24 April to form the Parish of Christ the King. Fr Francis Corrigan on being appointed Parish Priest, continued in celebrating Mass in the Council Hall at Georges Hall, and at Bass Hill in the garage of ‘Notre Dame’, the family home of Norman and Marcia Brown. ‘Notre Dame’ was located along the Liverpool Road, now the Hume Highway, being opposite Cann Street. It was dubbed ‘The Basshillica’ with apologies to St. Peter’s in Rome. Today the site is the location for a skate park.
It was after the Housing Commission of NSW had developed an estate at Bass Hill that Cardinal Gilroy chose to establish a parish at Bass Hill. Fr Corrigan chose to name his parish Christ the King.
After renting a house in Buist Street he drove to both centres driving a battered old Vanguard car. With great difficulty he obtained a loan from the Rural Bank, had plans drawn up and on land purchased from the Housing Commission, the Church/Hall and Presbytery were built by his brother-in-law, builder John Finlay. These were duly blessed and opened by Cardinal Gilroy on 12 August, 1956.
Repayment of the loan came from the proceeds of Housie (Bingo) conducted by parishioners at Newtown twice a week over a period of 7 years. Late in 1956 newly ordained Fr. James Gallen was appointed as Fr. Corrigan’s curate. It was he who on New Year’s Day 1957 found the large cross outside the Church/Hall had been vandalised with red paint. On 20 January 1957 two Sisters of St. Joseph came from Lidcombe to establish schooling in the parish hall. There were no desks, just ‘Stackabye’ chairs. Sr. Patricia O’Brien RSJ and Novice Sr. Assunta that day enrolled 76 pupils. They were daily transported from Lidcombe until the Convent was built, being blessed and opened on 22 January, 1961. Desks were then made and over time demountable classrooms were purchased.
In 1970 when Fr. Corrigan became ill, it was assistant priest Fr. John Alt who administered the parish, receiving great help from parishioners. When Fr. Corrigan died on 16 August, 1970, he was aged just 57. It was on the solid foundation that he had built, which allowed for future parish priests to expand. In turn each did, seeing the ultimate goal of a permanent church come to fruition. The church building that serves us today is the result of all who have laboured in “The vineyard of Christ the King at Bass Hill”. May that labour long continue, so to preserve “The Faith of Our Fathers”.
On 22nd November 2015 the Parish celebrated it’s 60th Anniversary of Christ the King Parish and every year in November , on the Feast of Christ the King we reflect on our proud history.
Other Key dates:
1955- Fr. Francis Corrigan appointed first Parish Priest
1956- Church/School and Presbytery built and opened.
1957- Sisters of St. Joseph commenced teaching in Parish.
1959/60 – Other classrooms added.
1961 – Convent built to house the Sisters.
1982 – New Church built and opened.
1986/87-New School built and opened.
Our Past Parish Priests:
Fr. Frances Corrigan (1955-1970)
Fr. John Farrar (1970-1978)
Fr. John Dougherty (1978-1985)
Fr. John Williams (1985-1995)
Fr. Graham McIntyre (1995-2006)
Fr. Phillips Royan – Parish Administrator (2006-2012)
Fr. Dinesh Macwan (2012- Present)