History

The area occupied by St Felix de Valois Parish was originally known as Irishtown on account of the large number of people of Irish extraction who lived there. While occupation of the district goes back to the earliest days of European settlement of the colony, little is known about the religious life of the inhabitants until 1839 when the area came under the jurisdiction of the newly formed parish at Liverpool. Masses were subsequently celebrated at two locations, (probably private homes), in Irishtown.

In 1853, responsibility for Irishtown was transferred to the new parish of Petersham, but in 1858, responsibility was returned once more to Liverpool.

From approximately 1885, Irishtown passed into the care of the newly created parish of Rookwood, (Lidcombe), and was to remain so until St Felix's became a parish in its own right on the 17th March, 1916.

Particular milestones in the history of the parish include the following:

  • 1856 - The first church/school of St Felix de Valois was built on land donated by John Abbott. This church, of sandstone construction, was erected directly in front of the present church.
  • 1856 - John Abbott dies and is buried in the churchyard next to the church.
  • 1885 - Bl Mary MacKillop agreed to setting up a convent school.
  • 1886 - Convent opened.
  • 17 March, 1916 - St Felix becomes a parish.
  • 17 December, 1916 - Archbishop Kelly laid the foundation stones for the presbytery and the new convent.
  • 8 December, 1925 - A new church/school was built immediately behind the stone church to accommodate the increase in parishioners. This structure, since renovated several times is the core of the present church.
  • 28 August, 1932 - The church was renovated to serve specifically for worship.
  • 1933 - First Solemn celebration of the feast of St Felix de Valois, patron of the parish.
  • 22 November, 1937 - Convent school built.
  • 25 July, 1944 - demolition of the old stone church due to its dilapidated condition. Remnants of the church have since been used in the Lourdes grotto and the sundial in front of the church. The latest renovations, (1998), unearthed some of the original foundations which have been incorporated in a garden plot in front of the church.
  • 1951 - De La Salle College opened.
  • 23 July, 1960 - The temporary school buildings were destroyed by fire.
  • 1962 - The parish hall and renovation work to primary school.
  • November, 1979 - Demolition & rebuilding of the presbytery. Commencement of renovations to the church, in keeping with the changes introduced by the Second Vatican Council, and the building of a new presbytery.
  • 9 November, 1980 - Renovated Church and presbytery blessed by Cardinal Freeman.
  • 1996 - Extensions to St Felix School blessed by bishop Geoffrey Robinson.
  • 1998 - Major renovation of the church.
  • 1999 - The cemetery is heritage listed.
  • 22 May, 2001 - Dedication of St Felix de Valois Church by Archbishop George Pell, DD. Bishop Peter Ingham and 25 other priests were concelebrants.

 

Since the 1930's, the following parishes have been created from parts of the original Parish of St Felix de Valois: St Jerome's, Punchbowl (1935), St Luke's, Revesby (1949), Christ the King, Bass Hill (1955), St Brendan's, Central Bankstown (1953), St Mary, Queen of Heaven, Georges Hall (197?), Sts John Vianney and Thomas More, Greenacre (1956), St Therese's, Padstow (1962), St Christopher's, Panania (1952), St Patrick's, Revesby Heights (1974).

Of particular note are several murals (1959), by noted Australian artist John Coburn which are attached to the walls of St Felix School.