Parish History

  • 1833     First recorded Mass in Illawarra (celebrated by Father Therry)

  • 1838     Fr John Rigney is entrusted with the pastoral care of the Illawarra Mission (which included the settlement of Jamberoo).

  • 1838     Bishop Polding consecrates the ground for the Jamberoo Cemetery.

  • 1839     A wooden church school built in Jamberoo.

  • 1852     Kiama - Shoalhaven area established as a parish with Fr Pierre de Jonge O.S.B. (Fr Peter Young) as first Parish Priest.

  • 1858     Saint Peter's Church Kiama, opened at a cost of 1,600 pounds

  • 1860     Fr Michael Flanagan, appointed second parish priest. The Kiama presbytery completed during this year.

  • 1863     Shoalhaven - Ulladulla detached from Kiama and made a separate parish.

  • 1864     Small wooden school and chapel erected at Gerringong.

  • 1867     Shellharbour detached from Kiama parish and included in the new parish of Albion Park.

  • 1871     Gerringong Catholic School closed.

  • 1875     Archbishop Vaughan visits the parish and confirms 60 at St Peter's Kiama.

  • 1879     The present St Matthew's Church, Jamberoo blessed and opened by Archbishop Vaughan

  • 1882     Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Gerringong blessed and opened by Archbishop Vaughan. (The name of the church was later changed to "St Mary, Star of the Sea")

  • 1883     Tragic drowning of Fr McGrath and Fr Clarke (both of Nowra) off Kendell's beach, Kiama.

  • 1884     Care of parish school at Jamberoo entrusted to Sisters of St Joseph.

  • 1887     Catholic school established at Kiama, Later that year the Sisters of St Joseph took charge of the Kiama school and the Jamberoo school was closed.

  • 1888-1889     Convent built and opened.

  • 1905     Fr (later Dean) Michael Malone appointed parish priest of Kiama (Parish Priest 1905-1914, 1916-1960)

  • 1908     Celebrations to mark the Golden Jubilee of St Peter's Church, Kiama.

  • 1935     Fr (later Monsignor) Michael Irish begins long association with the parish as administrator (1935-1960) then as parish priest (1960-1970).

  • 1930s   Extensive renovations and enlargement of Presbytery

  • 1942     Fr Michael Malone celebrates Golden Jubilee of his priestly ordination. Archbishop Gilroy confers the title "Dean" on him, and he is presented with a gold chalice and paten by the people of Kiama. (Chalice still regularly in use at Kiama).

  • 1952     New parish school built.

  • 1952      Kiama becomes one of the parishes making up the newly formed diocese of Wollongong. Bishop Thomas McCabe becomes the first Bishop of Wollongong.

  • 1960     Death of Dean Malone. Monsignor Michael Irish becomes parish priest of Kiama

  • 1963     The new parish Church of Ss Peter & Paul is opened and blessed by Bishop McCabe.

  • 1970      Monsignor Irish dies and is succeeded by Father Alan Robinson.

  • 1974      St Joseph's Parish School renamed "Ss Peter and Paul".

  • 1975      Bishop William Murray becomes second Bishop of Wollongong on retirement of Bishop McCabe.

  • 1976      St Matthew's Jamberoo restored, and consecrated by Bishop Murray.

  • 1977      Fr Richard Hazlitt becomes Administrator of Kiama, and parish priest the following year.

  • 1981      Second storey of new Ss Peter and Paul School block completed. (Begun in 1977)

  • 1982     Centenary of St Mary Star of the Sea, Gerringong.

  • 1983     Bishop McCabe dies.

  • 1984     Fr Pat Kenna succeeds Fr Hazlitt as Parish Priest of Kiama. First Lay Principal (M. De Busch) of Ss Peter and Paul School.

  • 1986     Meeting room built near Church at Gerringong.

  • 1989     Benedictine Abbey at Jamberoo opened and blessed.

  • 1990     Sisters of St Joseph cease teaching in Parish School but continue pastoral care in parish. New Grade 6 and Library added to school buildings.

  • 1993     Consecration of Ss Peter and Paul Church by Bishop Murray.

  • 1995     New block (Grade 5) of Ss Peter and Paul School.

  • 1996     Bishop Philip Wilson becomes third Bishop of Wollongong on retirement of Bishop Murray, who makes his home in Kiama. St Mary Star of the Sea Church in Gerringong is extended to almost double its size. Dedicated by Bishop Wilson.

  • 1999     Meeting room and Catechist Centre added to Ss Peter and Paul Church. Extensive renovations to exterior of Church.

  • 2000   Meeting room built at Jamberoo.

  • 2001    Bishop Peter Ingham appointed fourth Bishop of Wollongong, following Bishop Wilson's transfer to Adelaide. Father Peter Thompson, CM Administrator of Kiama. Sister Helen Madden RSJ leaves the parish after six years as pastoral associate, bringing to an end the work of the Sisters of St Joseph in the parish.

  • 2002    Sister Mary Louise Walsh ISSM appointed pastoral associate of Kiama Parish. Father Bernard Dowdell appointed parish priest following the retirement of Fr Pat Kenna. Kiama Parish celebrates Sesquicentenary of its foundation. Father Paul Gurr O' Carm appointed administrator of parish with sickness of Fr Bernard Dowdell.

  • 2003    Fr Chris Roberts appointed as Parish Priest.

  • 2004    Minor refurbishment of Ss Peter & Paul Church and Presbytery. Sister Mary Louise Walsh finishes her term as Pastoral Associate.

  • 2010     On 29 June Bishop Ingham blesses and opens the new section of Ss Peter & Paul Primary School, comprising Administration, Library and six classrooms, built from a CBGA grant of $2.8million and a Parish loan of $1.1 million.

  • 2011     On 21 April the old Meeting Room in Ss Peter & Paul Church becomes the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. The new Meeting Room moves to the old Admin block of the school and the Catechetical Centre moves to the old school classrooms behind the Parish Hall. On 10 June Fr Chris blesses the new School Hall, Canteen and four classrooms, which are all a part of the BER project.

  • 2013     Bishop William Murray dies on 21 April. The 50th Anniversary of Ss Peter & Paul Church sees the 50th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone. This is marked by the blessing of two mosaics of St Peter and St Paul, made by parishioners Clare Anderson and Joan O'Neill. Bishop Ingham celebrates the anniversary marking the opening of Ss Peter & Paul Church. The old bell from the 1858 St Peter's Church is reinstalled outside the Parish Office and electrified to ring out the Angelus at 12noon daily.

  • 2014     A stained glass window of the Annunciation, made by parishioner Joan O'Neill, is installed in Ss Peter & Paul Church and is blessed by Fr Chris on 29 September.

  • 2015     Gerringong community members propose a Memorial Garden be constructed in the grounds of St Mary's Church. Approval is given and construction begins.

  • 2015-2016    A series of stained glass windows commissioned by parishioner David Burke, designed by Peter Edward and constructed by Kaye Vincent are installed in Ss Peter and Paul Church. Each window depicts major events which occurred throughout Jesus' ministry - the Baptism of Christ, the Transfiguration, the Wedding at Cana, the Calming of the Storm and the Institution of the Eucharist

  • 2016     Gerringong Memorial Garden is completed, and blessed and opened on 24 January by Fr Chris Roberts.

  • 2017     Bishop Peter Ingham retires and Bishop Brian Mascord is ordained as fifth Bishop of Wollongong.

  • 2018    Sr Maureen O'Halloran rsj appointed part-time Pastoral Assistant.