Double blessing for Hills church
ONE of the oldest churches in the Adelaide Hills has celebrated its 150th anniversary alongside the opening of a new community centre.
Over 70 people from the Adelaide Hills Parish attended the celebration at St Matthew’s Catholic Church at Birdwood earlier this month, as Archbishop Philip Wilson officially opened the Mary O’Dea Community Centre.
The history behind the Shannon St church is rooted in the contributions of its parish- ioners. When Birdwood was still named Blumberg, the land where the church was built was bought from money donated by Mary O’Dea in 1865 before the building opened two years later. Ms O’Dea was an Irish widow who migrated to Australia during the Great Famine and died, aged 68, one month after the church opened.
Her great, great grandson Jim and Jack O’Dea were proud that “pioneers” of the church were commemorated.
The community centre replaced a transportable schoolroom at the back of cemetery which was used for gatherings in the past 40 years.
“Generous donations from parishioners and physical help painting the interior and tidying outside has enabled us finish close to budget,” parish member Leon Holmes said.