• grovedale@cam.org.au
  • 03 9412 8444

The Parish of Grovedale

Is one parish, and as such it is a community of communities.

It is made up of three very different and quite unique communities. In significantly different geographical areas, each has its own history, personality and charism. Recognising the independence of each community is a vital part of our work, alongside the recognition that at different times one or other community may be dependent on the other communities. As one Parish though we constantly strive to work together with one another, a significant example of this being that our parish was the first to achieve all required compliancy checks and standards. We know that we are interdependent with each other and in fact do indeed need the support and encouragement of each other to help us live out the Gospel message. For that is our everyday mission – to live and breath the Good News.

Anglesea Community

The church building itself has some history. Built in 1968 to an architectural design, it was partly destroyed in the 1983 bush fires, then restored and reopened in 1984. It is situated on the Anglesea River with the views and scents of the river and surrounding bush.

The design of the building with sunken central floor gives the feeling of “togetherness” and lends itself beautifully to the small permanent congregation and to wedding celebrations. The bringing of the “outside in” (river & bush) with the opening of the extended louvre windows is another unique feature of the building.

In 2021 the internal area of the Church was revamped to remove the sunken steps down. The floor has now been raised and provides a consistent level. Attached to the church building there is a small kitchen and a community/meeting space.

The regular community is a small, predominantly aged population of long term residents or retirees, well known to each other with a strong bond of companionship and caring. Church maintenance, beautification and celebration preparations are achieved by this small band of parishioners and the influx of holiday makers is made welcome during the busy times.

The community is blessed with the leadership and guidance of our Parish Priest who celebrates the Eucharist on Saturday evenings at St. Christopher’s. In times of need he is able to gain the assistance of retired clergy in the area, and sometimes a Jesuit priest who might be staying at the Anglecrest
Retreat in Anglesea.

The St Christopher’s community has a strong and special relationship with the other Christian church communities in Anglesea with regular interaction involving shared services and activities.

Grovedale Community

The suburb now known as Grovedale was originally named Germantown, as it had been settled around 1849 by several German Lutheran families. The name change came about post WW1, in 1916.

In the early days and up until the early 1970’s, a very small Catholic community existed in Grovedale as part of St. Bernard’s Parish in Belmont. Most Catholics went to their Sunday masses at St Bernard’s in Belmont, or to the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall in Reserve Road, whenever a priest came there from St Bernard’s. By the mid 1970’s, the community was growing at such a rate that it became clear that Grovedale would need a permanent ‘Mass Centre’. In March 1980 Fr. Bill Gill was appointed as Parish Priest for the Parish of Nazareth, which would encompass Grovedale and Torquay.

The first stage of the Nazareth Primary School had been built by the time Fr Gill arrived, and the community celebrated Mass in the school until such time as the current church building was blessed and opened in 1983. At this stage, there were 280 children enrolled at the school and the parish was blessed with a vibrant community of parents and parishioners who laboured together to develop both school and church.

In parish life, a variety of groups were established which included an Altar Society, a Social and Goodwill fundraising group, a Catholic Ladies Group, and a Liturgy Development group. During the 1980’s, the needs of the burgeoning youth was a priority, and parishioners banded together to build a dedicated youth centre. This was to include spaces for meetings, a kitchen and games activities. This building has in recent years been remodelled as a very efficient Parish Office.

In the Grovedale community, we enjoy a wonderful community of faith, one which has been built through the commitment and hard work of so many parishioners – past and present. We have a strong base to build on and so much to celebrate.

Torquay Community

Perhaps the first public record of a Catholic community in Torquay comes in the Mass Times advertised in the Advocate of 1938 – under ‘Holiday Places Geelong’. At that time Mass was celebrated in the Torquay Improvement Association Hall, by the priests of St Bernard’s Parish Belmont. There has definitely been an established Catholic community in Torquay since the mid 1950s, as records show the existence of a Ladies Committee around that time. Largely comprising early immigrants, many of whom had come from Holland, this dedicated group was to become the driving force for the building of a church in Torquay, In 1958 land was purchased, and the first Mass in St Therese Church was celebrated on July 26, 1959.

Over the ensuing years, the community has obviously grown. Part of its development has been due to the ‘seachange’ people (those who holidayed year after year in Torquay) settling here in retirement. The church continued to serve the parishioners well, even catering for the holiday influx that occurred every Christmas and Easter.

In 1980, Fr Bill Gill was installed as the first Parish Priest of the newly formed
Nazareth Parish, which took in both Torquay and Grovedale, and our community gathered more strongly, and developed deeper relationships both within itself, and between the two areas of the parish as well as within the local community.

In 1986, St Therese Primary School opened and this was greeted with great joy as children no longer needed to be bussed up to Grovedale each day.

In 2010, in the 50th Anniversary Year of the First Mass, the completely revitalised St Therese Church was blessed and reopened – a project of mammoth proportions which has been more about building community and providing for the needs of the Parish, than simply being about the rejuvenation of a tired building. This church in its more modern form reaches out to all and provides innumerable ways to be church in the future, on any and every day of the week.