Rutherglen's Catholic church marks 50

MARY McLinden stood on church land at Rutherglen that once used to house her family home and her memories flooded back.

The Barnawartha woman returned to her home town of Rutherglen to celebrate 50 years since St Mary’s Catholic Church was built after the former church burned down.

After the fire, the parish had to decide where to build the new church.

“In my heart I knew it would be built here on the corner where our family home was,” Mrs McLinden said yesterday.

The home had been left to Mrs McLinden after her father passed away.

After some “wheeling and dealing” she said they came to an agreement on a price, though she had mixed emotions seeing her home dismantled.

“I know my father would have been delighted to see the church rise on that corner,” she said.

About 250 residents gathered to mark yesterday’s jubilee with a Mass, lunch and a visit from the Bishop of Sandhurst, Bishop Leslie Tomlinson.

Rutherglen Historical Society compiled a history and about 400 photographs of the church and its former convent.

Parish priest Father John Ware was happy with the turn-out and recognsied some old faces in the congregation.

Arthur Francis remembered all the “young fellas” like him getting together to help re-build.

“There were a lot of working bees, everyone pitched in and got the job done,” he said.

“I also remember cleaning the old bricks from the fire.”

Event organiser Tony Jones said the day was topped off by tucking into pig and lamb on the spit.

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