Parish History

History of our Parish

The Parish extends over an area of some seven kilometres across and includes the suburbs of Chatswood, Castle Cove, and (in part) Roseville, Lindfield, Artarmon and Lane Cove.

Established and separated from Pymble Parish on 8 December 1910.

First Mass celebrated in private homes: A house attached to Peter Vines' tannery, High Street Willoughby (1880s), Windsor Gardens, Mowbray Road Chatswood (c1890s).

The building of first church/school took place in 1895 on a portion of an 1863 cemetery grant of some three and a half acres in Archer/Anderson Streets. The building was used as a school up until 2001 (now demolished).

Sisters of Mercy began teaching in Our Lady of Dolours' church/school in 1896. Also, established a private school; St. Catherine's on opposite side of Archer Street after purchasing of house Hillgrove (demolished). New Convent and school established in 1905 opposite present church.

Chatswood Catholic Parish History Image


8 Dec

Chatswood parish separated from Pymble and established
1911 13 Aug Cardinal Moran laid the foundation stone of Presbytery; completed in 1912
1920 18 Apr Foundation stone of new (second) church blessed
1921 21 Aug Church of Our Lady of Dolours (Sorrows) opened (only partly complete)
Cost ten thousand pounds
1937 17 Jan Christian Brother's school and monastery opened. Named St Pius X College
1954 11 Apr Foundationstone of primary school laid by Bishop Carroll
1955 16 Jan Parish school opened and blessed by Cardinal Gilroy
1961 31 Dec Church of Our Lady of Dolours completed (seating 800)
Additions of transepts and bell tower etc. Costs 82,716 pounds
1978   Our Lady of Dolours refurbished and painted
1986 8 Apr Parish become part of new Diocese of Broken Bay
First Bishop: Most Rev Patrick Murphy 1986 - 1996
Second Bishop: Most Rev David Walker 1996 - 2013
Third Bishop: Most Rev Peter A Comensoli 2014 - 2017
Fourth Bishop: Most Rev Anthony Randazzo 2019 -
A history of the parish from 1895 (including Willoughby, Naremburn, Lindfield and Lane Cove/Greenwich) completed in 2001 is available for purchase from the Piety Stall at Our Lady of Dolours Catholic Church Chatswood.

Heritage of our church

1920 Notes from original design description prepared by Architects; Messrs. Hennessy and Hennessy in 1920:

- Architecturally it is a simplified treatment of Italian Renaissance complete with coloured brick in-lays- campanile, apsidal sanctuary – semi-circular vaulted ceiling with intersecting groins giving necessary height for the lateral lighting.
- 'The completed building will comprise a large nave 40ft (12.2m) wide and 92ft (28m) long and 50ft (15.2m) high. Transepts 40ft (12.2m) wide finished with side chapels, apsidal sanctuary, sacristies, vestry, strong room, three mural confessionals, baptistery, tower campanile and gallery…’ 

1921 C.R. Massent, of Waverley, Sydney, only completed a half portion in 1921. This was caused by a substantial ‘blow out’ in costs of construction, after commencement of projects and resulted in plans being modified.

1921 The completed section in 1921 comprised the whole of the front with baptistery, entrance vestibule, gallery, two confessionals (instead of three) a temporary sanctuary and vestry, finished with asbestos cement. Walls and ceilings were finished in KEEN’s cement and plaster. The front elevation consisted of a large semi-circular arch, springing from Ionic entablature flanked each side by large piers in coloured brickwork. The arch divided by two Ionic columns into three main entrance doorways surmounted by modelled panels. The columns supported two adoring angels that divided the semicircular arch into three large leadlight windows. The arch itself was flanked by panels containing a set each of Arms of the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Archbishop of Sydney.

1960 Tower was added.

1961 Completed and extended. The Sanctuary, which is normally separated from the nave and transepts was brought forward. Behind the altar, a sandstone Reredos provides a simple and fitting background. The altar is of sandstone, the table being in a single great stone. It rests on stone legs at the end, in filled at the front with carved panels with a red granite centre-piece bearing the symbol of Our Lord in gold, on the face. The floors of the sanctuary, which is on two levels, are covered with parquetry.

Our church seats 800.

Opening of church newspaper article - Church History

Bishop Anthony's Homily on Our Lady of Dolours Church's 100th Anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone.