St Joseph’s Delegate Celebrates its Centenary 1915-2015

Author: Greg Crotty

Organisers of St Joseph’s Centenary were thrilled with the outstanding success of the weekend celebrations on 28 & 29 November 2015. Every aspect including the history display, Trivia Night Saturday night; the prayers at the cemetery Sunday morning; Centenary Mass at St Joseph’s Church and outdoor luncheon in the school grounds made the weekend one that will be long remembered.

Archbishop Christopher Prowse & Fr Mick Andrews unveiling the Centenary Plaque

The magnificent history display in the former school building attracted many on both days and featured old photos, newspaper articles, visual display and items of nostalgia bringing back many memories of both the church and school. The display, originally the concept of the late Sonia Clear, will stay permanently in the school and already more items have been donated to enhance same.

Saturday night saw over seventy trivia buffs attend the “Aussie Trivia Night” at the Delegate Country Club. A trivia night with a difference, the questions being visually displayed on a giant screen and included both visual and audio content, was well received by those in attendance. The Stewart family of Delegate were the winning team for the night and they graciously donated their prize winnings back to St Joseph’s.

On Sunday morning, with the weather conditions being perfect, many joined Archbishop Christopher Prowse and Father Mick MacAndrew at the Delegate Cemetery for a prayer and blessing ceremony. Immediately following was the Centenary Mass at St Joseph’s Church with the church filled to capacity with over 220 in attendance. Additional seating had to be set up outside the church to accommodate the large numbers. The children of Delegate welcomed the congregation with a wonderful dance routine specially prepared for the occasion under the guidance of Sr Teresa Keane. Clive Cottrell, on behalf of St Joseph’s, then welcomed and thanked all present for joining in the centenary celebrations with a special welcome and thanks to Archbishop Prowse, Father Mick and the Sisters of St Joseph. Archbishop Prowse & Father Mick then unveiled the official plaque to commemorate the 100 years since the original church foundation stone was laid. At the conclusion of Mass, Father Mick presented the chief organisers Clive & Lorraine Cottrell, Sandra Walker, Dolly Guthrie, Joyce Reed and Greg Crotty with a token of appreciation for the many hours of work undertaken in preparation for the weekend.

Following Mass, lunch was held in the school grounds under an array of gazebo’s erected for the occasion. The new kitchen facilities, donated by the Crotty family in memory of the late Madge Crotty, certainly proved a great asset for the weekend. In typical Delegate style, the delicious food was plentiful with a wide variety to suit all tastes.

Clive Cottrell and Greg Crotty thanked all again on behalf of the organising committee. Robyn Mikula responded on behalf of the Clear family complimenting the excellent history display, one that Sonia would indeed be proud of and recalled Sonia’s great devotion to St Mary MacKillop. Sr Christina O’Connor responded on behalf of the Sisters of St Joseph and emphasised how much St Mary MacKillop had the country people close to her heart. She gave apologies from Sisters who were unable to be present at the celebrations including Sr Mary (Colletta) Noonan and Sr Dominica Bampton. Sr Christina thanked all for the wonderful Centenary Celebrations and recalled her involvement in the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations back in 1980 when she was principal at St Joseph’s School. She concluded by reiterating the great love the Sisters have, and will always have, for Delegate.

Sr’s Helen Madden, Kathleen Price and Teresa Keane looking over the history

The cutting of the centenary cake was then undertaken by Robyn along with her brother, Jeremy Clear and Barry Reed, Robyn & Jeremy being relatives of Les Kelly and Veronica Clear the first couple to be married in the present church, and Barry being a descendant of Geoff Stewart and Ellen Jones the second couple to be married in the present church.

Many old acquaintances were renewed on the weekend along with recollections of stories and memories being shared amongst friends. As well as a wonderful support of locals, there was great support from St Mary’s Parish Bombala, St Peter’s Parish Pambula and Reverend Judy Holdsworth and the Anglican Parish of Southern Monaro. Many travelled from near and far places to join the locals for the occasion including Brisbane, Moree, Lightning Ridge, Sydney, Wollongong, Wagga Wagga, Orange, Traralgon, Gundagai, Goulburn, Canberra, Queanbeyan, Cooma, Eden, Pambula, Nimmitabel and Bombala.

Sisters of St Joseph present for the celebrations were Sr Kathleen Price, Lightning Ridge, Sr Christina O’Conner, Hunters Hill, Sr Helen Madden, Croydon, Sr Mary Timothy Monaghan, Wagga Wagga, Sr Marietta Drew, Goulburn, Sr Brigid McMahon and Sr Rosemary Hart, Eden, Sr Bernadette O’Sullivan, Nimmitabel and Sr Teresa Keane, Bombala.

Souvenir glasses and “A Brief History of St Joseph’s Delegate” booklet are still available and can be purchased through Sandra Walker on 02 6458 8089 or email to .

The organising committee would like to thank all those who helped in any way towards the success of the weekend. They are already planning another event for next year which they hope to hold as a yearly event at St Joseph’s.

The old school building has been given a long awaited new lease of life and the committee are keen to make further improvements so as it can be suitably used by both the parishioners and the community. Already donations have been pledged for a new access ramp and upgraded bathroom facilities. The committee were recently recipients of a very generous donation from the local Sunday Raffles Committee which distributes to local organisations. A “thank you” Christmas Dinner for all those assisting with the centenary was held in the school in late December and was very well received.

Well done to all and happy centenary St Joseph’s Delegate !