News from our Parishes

The Rock of St George wins coveted

2017 Ron Rathbone Local History Prize

St Mary’s MacKillop’s Parish, Rockdale City is celebrating their recent parish history book being awarded the highly coveted 2017 Ron Rathbone Local History Prize. The book, The Rock of St George: Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the first St Joseph’s Church-School, Rockdale, won the Prize for the best piece of original research on any aspect of Rockdale City.

In a highly competitive field, the award went to the parish’s historian, Damian John Gleeson for his comprehensive research of the Rockdale Catholic community from its inception in 1855 to the present day.

Commissioned and mentored by Rockdale City Parish Priest, Fr Brendan Quirk, The Rock of St George details the individuals, families, religious sisters and clergy of Rockdale from the late 19th century to the present day. It draws heavily on previously uncited primary materials from Irish, English, and Australian archives.

The Rock of St George is of broad interest as it places Rockdale’s developments in the context of the Catholic Church’s growth across Southern Sydney

Ongoing generosity and selflessness by Rockdale’s Catholic community was pivotal in the establishment of new parishes at Arncliffe, Bexley, and Brighton-le- Sands, and in the successful development of the first Catholic Regional School in Sydney – now known as Marist College Kogarah.

The Rock of St George is fully referenced, includes dozens of rare photos, and has a comprehensive Index. The prize-winning book is available for purchase from St Mary MacKillop’s Rockdale City Parish, Sydney: email or by phoning 9567 1558.

Dr Gleeson is currently writing a history of Gymea Catholic Parish.


The Rock of St George: Contents

Foreword – Introduction – Colonial Missions – German Foundations – Rocky Point ‘Roman Catholic’ School – First St Joseph’s Church-School – ‘Diabolical Conspiracy’ or Miscarriage of Justice? – Pioneer Families – Under Kogarah’s Wing – Independence and Consolidation – Supreme Sacrifices – Marist Conflict – Arncliffe, Bexley, and Brighton-le- Sands – Grand Designs – The Long Wait – Wyndham’s Forgotten School – Plain Speaking – Contributions – Charity and Hospitality – St Mary MacKillop’s Parish, Rockdale City – 2017 ends

Photo caption

From left, Dr Damian John Gleeson and Fr Yacub Barkat, Assistant Priest of the Parishes of St Mary MacKillop’s Rockdale City and St Gabriel’s, Bexley,  at the prize- giving ceremony at Rockdale Library on Saturday, 7th  October, 2017.




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