St Brendan’s

The parish of St. Brendan's, Flemington was founded from St. Monica's parish in 1891. It is also currently the base for the Coptic Catholic community of Melbourne and within its boundaries is the St. Vincent Liem Centre which serves the Vietnamese Catholics of the northern and western suburbs.

In the early days of Melbourne, the Catholics of the Flemington area came under the pastoral care of St. Augustine's, Keilor Mission. As early as December 1853, Archbishop Goold visited Flemington to select a site for a church, which Hugh Glass had offered as a gift.

St. Monica's ChurchIn the boom years of population growth and expansion of wealth and resources in Melbourne in the 1880's, the Flemington and Kensington areas became an independent borough in 1882. The Catholics from Flemington contributed financially to the building of St. Monica's church, officially opened in 1884. Many of the parishioners were going to Mass at St. Mary's, West Melbourne.

Hence, it was high time that there was a church and parish in the Flemington area. A church dedicated to St. Brendan was built in Church Street in 1886; the memorial stone was the last one laid by Archbishop Goold before his death. The first school was built in 1887. Archbishop Carr in January 1891 announced at the end of the annual clergy retreat that Father Cornelius Sheehan of Collingwood had been appointed as the first parish priest to the new parish of Flemington. The first presbytery was the house now on the corner of Bryant and High Streets. The priests moved into the present presbytery in 1908.

Prep students at St. Brendan's in 1955A new Infant School was opened in Eltham Street in 1910. The year before, in 1909, the Sisters of the Mercy opened up their Novitiate and Teacher Training College, located in Mt Alexander Road within the parish, and took charge of St. Brendan's School which up to that time had been in the care of the Sisters of Charity, residing in Essendon. The present Wellington Street school building was opened in 1914.

A new St. Brendan's Church (the present one) was built in 1924 and blessed by Archbishop Daniel Mannix on 6th July. St. Brendan's Kindergarten was built in Eltham Street in 1945. On April 24th 1963, fire destroyed the original church and school buildings in Church Street. A few months later, a double storeyed school building enlarged the Wellington Street School size.

St. Brendan's from Wellington Street The present parish hall was built in 1971 on the site of the old church and school. A new kindergarten was opened in Bryant Street by Archbishop Frank Little on 4th April 1982. The most recent extensive building programme involved the school refurbishment and extensions blessed by Bishop Peter Connors on 7th August 1988.

St. Brendan's parish is part of the Central West Deanery, which comprises the parishes of St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Francis' Church, St. Augustine's (Bourke Street), St. Mary's West Melbourne, St. Michael's North Melbourne, St. Carthage's Parkville, Holy Rosary Kensington and St. Brendan's Flemington.


Holy Rosary

Prior to 1902 there was no church in Kensington, despite the opening of the saleyards in 1859 and the increased population that came with it. St Brendan’s in Wellington St Flemington (opened in 1886) was the local church for all.  Flemington and Kensington formed a borough from 1882-1906 so there is a history of a strong connection between the two suburbs. Even to this day they share the same postcode.

In 1902 the first church opened in Kensington on the corner of Ormond Rd and Derby St, however it wasn't until 1915 that Holy Rosary was established as a separate parish. Prior to this, the priest from St Brendan’s would ride his pushbike to the church in Derby St to celebrate mass there.

The Parish School was built in 1916 and until then children also had to walk to St Brendan’s. The foundation stone of the first school building was laid and blessed by Archbishop Carr on 14th May 1916.

For reasons unknown, the church in Derby St was pulled down and replaced by what is now the church on Gower St. The first mass was celebrated in this church on Christmas day in 1928, and was officially opened by Archbishop Mannix.

Over the many years Holy Rosary Parish has been, and continues to be,  a home away from home  for many migrants - Irish, Italian, Maltese, Salvadorians, Vietnamese, Sri Lankins and Somalians. The closing of the saleyards and abbatoirs in 1984 and consequent urbanization of the pocket of land boarded by Smithfield/Epsom/Dynon and Kensington Rds has brought many new families to the suburb.

Sitting high on the hill,  Holy Rosary Church remains to this day one of the most  prominent and beautiful buildings in Kensington.  Its spires can be seen from as far away as the bridge that crosses the Maribyrnong River at the edge of Kensington Banks.  It boasts a magnificent stained glass window, donated by the Hardiman family, long-time parishioners. The interior renovations has brought back Holy Rosary Church to its former glory.


Parish Priests at
St Brendan’s
and Holy Rosary

Fr Hein Vu
Fr Max Vodola
Fr William Jordan


Parish Priests at
St Brendan’s

Fr James Scannel
Fr Gavin Fitzpatrick
Fr Michael Rafter
Fr Kevin Hannan
Fr Patrick Lynch
Fr William O’Dwyer
Fr John Glesson
Fr Maurice Carroll
Fr William Ganly
Fr John Daly
Fr Cornelius Sheahan


Parish Priests at
Holy Rosary

Fr Michael Mulcachy
Fr Neville McKie
Fr Rom Murphy
Fr David Kehoe
Fr James Gearon O.Carm
Fr Leo Saleeba
Fr Francis Kissane
Fr Michael O’Sullivan
Fr Patrick O’Connor
Frs Galea and Borg
Fr Jim English (Administrator)
Fr Thomas O’Ryan
Fr William O’Farrell
Fr Thomas Bride
Fr Patrick Power
Fr John Bolger
Fr Aeneas Hennessy