Early Years

early-yearsThe Cloverdale Parish was canonically established on 20 March 1960 by the Archdiocese of Perth. The decision to form a new Parish was a result of rapid postwar development in the Belmont district. The increase in population in the local area highlighted the inadequacy of the existing Mass Centres to cater for the growth in Catholic families attending Mass.

Families living in the Cloverdale area previously attended Mass at St Therese’s Catholic Church in Kewdale. During this time, Cloverdale was part of the Belmont, Carlisle and Redcliffe Parishes.

Mass was first celebrated in the new Cloverdale Parish in the Scout Hall on Hardey Road, on 3 April 1960. This inaugural Mass was celebrated by Father Peter Kelly who was formally appointed Parish Priest of Cloverdale and Kewdale on 13 March 1960.

A meeting was held of parishioners after the inaugural Mass to discuss the future of the new Parish. After much discussion, it was decided that planning commence for the erection of Parish buildings such as a Church School and a Presbytery. Earlier, His Grace the Archbishop, Most Reverend Dr. R. G. Prendiville had secured land on the corner of Wright and Daly Streets in Cloverdale for the future development of a parish. This land was later to be used for the erection of buildings to support the Catholic community in Cloverdale.

On 11 April 1960 (Passion Sunday), the Archdiocese of Perth advised Father Kelly that the new Parish was placed under the patronage of Our Lady. On that day, the Parish was formally named ‘Notre Dame’. Notre Dame is French for Our Lady and is a title for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

During this time, work commenced on the building of a Church School and a Presbytery. The Church School was situated on Daly Street and would cost £6 840. It was one large building divided into three classrooms with movable walls. The Presbytery was located on Wright Street and would cost £2 800 to build. Father Kelly moved into the completed Presbytery in October 1960.

By November 1960, the planned school building was completed. Archbishop R. G.Prendiville officially opened and blessed the new building on 11 December 1960. The school was administered by the Presentation Sisters who had established St Augustine’s School, in 1956, in neighbouring Rivervale. Notre Dame School officially commenced in January 1961 under the auspices of the Presentation Sisters with approximately 60 students. The foundation staff included Sister Stanislaus Ryan (Principal) and Sister Immaculata Crocetti (teacher). The Presentation Sisters continued to administer the school until December 2007 when the Order finally withdrew from the school and transitioned to a lay Principal. Sister Catherine Warner retired from the position in December 2007, having been Principal since 1997. Margaret Sweetman was appointed to the principalship; the first lay Principal at the school.

The ensuing years witnessed rapid development of the area. Further extensions to the school occurred during this time to cater for the growth. In addition, extensions to the Presbytery occurred in 1967.

In September 1969, Father Kelly advised the congregation at Mass about the need to establish a Parish Council. Following these discussions, a ballot was held on 12 October 1969 resulting in the election of 16 members to form the inaugural Notre Dame Parish Council. Under the Parish Council Constitution, Father Kelly exercised his right to nominate an additional three members for the Parish Council.

The inaugural Parish Council included:

Chairman Laurence Kane
Vice Chairmen Denis Green
Ronald Murphy
Secretary Charles Orloff
Councillors Alan D’Mello
Albert Honey
Fred Hoppenbrowers
Bert Inkster
Iris Irwin
Emily Jamieson
Colin Johnson
Colm Kelly
Alexander Lomas
Jane Murphy
Antonius Schoenmakers
Corry Schoenmakers
Michael Simons
Henryk Szklarz
William Willans

The Parish Council appointed four sub-committees through which its work was carried out. These included:

  • Adult Education Committee
  • Liturgy Committee
  • School Education Committee
  • Social Activities Committee

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