The Holland Park Mt Gravatt Parish has a long history in which the two churches formed part of much larger parishes, before being separated and then re-amalgamated.
The original parish
The original St Joachim’s Parish was inaugurated with the blessing of the foundation stone for a temporary church on the 26th July 1936. At this time the parish incorporated the original St Agnes Church (a small timber structure first built in 1920 to service the soldiers settlement developed at the end of WWI).
On the 1st November 1936 the original St Joachim’s church was blessed and opened and the parish began under Fr David Dee.
Just over 12 months later in the January of 1938, St Joachim’s school was opened by the Sisters of St Joseph, in the lower section of the church. Then in 1947 a second school, St Martin de Porres, was opened by the Sisters of St Joseph at “The Settlement” on Seville Road.
Creating a parish for Mt Gravatt and beyond
In 1950 a new parish was formed for Mt Gravatt and beyond. The parishes first Mass was celebrated on the first Sunday of Advent by the new parish priest Fr Jack Rosenskjar.
This new, St Agnes Parish covered a vast distance, incorporating Mt Gravatt, Upper Mt Gravatt, Wishart, Eight Mile Plains, Slacks Creek, Daisy Hill, Woodridge, Kingston, Rochedale, Mansfield and Mount Petrie.
In the early years the Mass centres at these locations varied greatly from Progress Halls to an old garage on the grounds of the new St Catherine’s Church, Wishart. Between 1953 and 1965 each of these Mass centres was replaced with a church.
When the parish was at its largest up to fifteen Masses were celebrated each weekend and Fr Rosenskjar was the sole priest of the parish. He came to rely on priests from across Brisbane including Pius XII Seminary and Villanova College to supply Masses.
1955, was a big year for the parish in the early part of the year the areas of Woodridge and Kingston were ceded from the Parish to form a new Parish in Sunnybank. Later that year St Bernard’s school was opened by the Sisters of St Joseph to serve the growing number of families in the parish.
Seven years later in 1963 demand for St Bernard’s had become so high that the sisters opened a second school at St Agnes.
In 1969, the parish saw great change again when Brisbane’s southern parishes were redefined. The areas of Upper Mt Gravatt and Eight Mile Plains ceded to create the new St Bernard’s Parish, while Wishart also ceded to create a new Parish of St Catherine’s. For a time St Agnes Parish had only the one church before absorbing a major part of Mt Gravatt East Parish in 1973 and gaining St Otteran’s church (which stood where Seton College is today).
The continuation of Holland Park Parish
Following the creation of a new parish for Mt Gravatt and beyond the Holland Park parish continued to grow.
On the 25th November, 1951 St Martin De Porres Church on Seville Road was blessed and opened by Archbishop Duhig.
In the early 1950’s it was decided that a new and bigger church would be built at St Joachim’s and on the 12th February 1961 Archbishop Duhig blessed the foundation stone. The new church was blessed and opened later that year on the 27th August.
In 1964 the Sisters of St Joseph recognised the need for a secondary school in the parish and so began St Joseph’s High School, alongside St Joachim’s school. In November 1970, the decision was made to relocate the school to Klump Road and rename it MacKillop College (making it part of St Bernard’s Parish). The school went on to combine with Clairvax College in 1958 and continues to operate today at Klump road.
Sadly, on the 26th March 1977, the original St Joachim’s church – now school building burnt down. Until a suitable replacement could be built, classes were held in demountables and the new brick church. On the 2nd of July 1979 the new hall, to be used as the school building, was blessed and opened. At the end of 1979 the Sisters of St Joseph withdrew and the school was taken over by lay administration.
Ten year later the parish experienced another loss when St Martin De Porres Church burnt down on the 12th of April 1987.
Amalgamating St Agnes and St Joachim’s Parishes
In 1997 St Agnes Parish and St Joachim’s Parish, while still separate, began sharing a parish priest, Fr John Nee.
On the 30th of November 2003 the two parishes were formally amalgamated to form the Holland Park Mt Gravatt Catholic Parish.