There has been a Catholic presence in the Ellerslie district since the 1880s. It was due to a remarkable priest Father Walter McDonald that the church was built in his memory. Known locally as the Father Walter McDonald Memorial Church, it was given the official title of The Church of the Immaculate Conception at the laying of the foundation stone. It was through this man that we are privileged to celebrate our faith in a church that was built in 1904.
At the instigation of the Parish History Committee, a plaque was recently installed in front of the re-sited Grotto marking the arrival of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Mission in 1912. The Grotto now stands near the entry to the school.
Also of interest is the Parish Hall, a popular venue for Auckland dances in the 1940s and 50s. Many a courtship and marriage eventuated from these popular Saturday night dances. Some descendents of early families, who arrived before 1920, are represented in the Parish to the present day. Our Christmas Crib is special and has an interesting background. The Church interior reflects how the practice of our faith has changed.
In 2004, coinciding with our Centenary celebrations the book, A Good Man’s Legacy, was published recording not only the events and people involved over the years but also the development of the district.
It is important to the growth of our Parish history that we continue to add to our archive. If you have material relating to our Parish which you no longer require, no matter how new or old, please consider passing it on to the Parish History Committee.
“We are guardians of our memory, our history is everything and fundamental to our identity.” (attributed to St Paul)