Murringo, NSW - Sacred Heart Catholic

Year Built: 1874 - 1877

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Address: Boreham Street, Murringo, New South Wales, 2586

Architect: Andreas Stombucco

Traditional Owners: Wiradjuri people

Last Updated: 12/04/2023

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History and Architecture:

The Church is part of a group of buildings built by the Catholic Church in Murringo (previously Marengo) between the 1870s and 1930 to serve the local Catholic community in their faith and schooling. They included a church (opened in 1877), Convent – and original school (opened in 1917) and new school (opened in 1930). The Convent and school were sold by the Catholic Church in 1974, but the church remains operational, having occasional weddings, baptisms, funerals and other events, but no regular services.

The origin of the construction of the Catholic Church was a public meeting held in Michael O’Connor’s hotel in Marengo in July 1871. This initiated fund-raising activities for the building of the church.  

A foundation stone was laid by the Right Reverend Dr Lanigan, Bishop of Goulburn on Friday, 4 December 1874. Local District Priests Rev. J. Dunne and Rev William McGrath, as were Rev P Riordan (St. Mary’s Sydney), Rev A.T. O’Dwyer (Yass) and Rev D. O’Dwyer (Young). The stone to build the church was sourced from local farms, with teams of local volunteers from the region hauling the stone to the church grounds.  

The design of the Church was attributed to architect Andreas Stombucco. Stombucco was also the architect for St Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Goulburn – which was built between 1871 and 1890. The Murringo Church was to be 47 feet (14.3m) long, 25 feet (7.6m) wide and 16 feet (4.9m) high from the base course, with capacity to seat 300 people. Early building work was done by William Costello. Following his death in December 1875 the work was completed by the Cranston Brothers. Credit for construction was also given to Mr J O’Connor of Grenfell, with the cedar altar by Mr Millard of Marengo.  Samuel Knightly did the carpentry and joiner’s work.  

The Church was officially opened on 15 July 1877 by the Right Reverend Dr Lanigan, Bishop of Goulburn. Also present were the Very Rev. P Bermingham of Wagga and local Burrowa (now Boorowa) priests Revs J. Dunne and W. Long. In 1882-1883 a sacristy and sanctuary were added to the Church. The foundation stone for the additions was laid on Sunday 22 October 1882 by the Right Rev. Dr William Lanigan, Bishop of Goulburn.

By the early 1900s the Church was becoming too small for the growing congregation. The plans for the extension were prepared by an architect, Mr Copeland, from Bathurst and the builder was Mr Blackett. Father Leahy, Parish Priest of Koorawatha was the key proponent for the extension with the support of Father Sheehan (who replaced Father Leahy).  Sand for the mortar for the extension came from the local Marengo Creek. On Sunday 21 July 1907, following a further fund-raising drive, the new additions to the Church were officially opened. The additions included a 12 feet by 24 feet (3.7m x 7.3m) extension to the church, which included a gallery with seating for 60 people (and perhaps also used by the choir), as well as an entrance porch, two side altars and a pulpit. The Right Rev. Dr. Gallagher, Bishop of Goulburn, attended the opening along with Rev Andrew, CP, Rev McGurk, and Rev. Sheehan.  The additions cost around £400.  

In 1911, Father Fogarty convened a meeting to support plans to build a convent next door to the Church.  Fund raising commenced immediately. A foundation stone for the Convent was laid by His Lordship Dr. Gallagher, Bishop of Goulburn on 1 September 1912 (the whereabouts of this foundation stone is not known). He was assisted by Very Reverend Father Hennessy, Parish Priest of Young as well as Father E Hennessy (Burrowa – now Boorowa) (who had replaced Father Fogarty). The Convent was designed by William John Monks (known as Bill or Billy) (1869-1943).  William Monks worked as an architect in country NSW for more than 40 years, designing many building in the Federation style. The builder was David Larcombe. During construction, a foundation stone was blessed and laid in the building on 28 November 1915 by His Lordship Dr. Gallagher, Bishop of Goulburn. He was assisted by Reverend Father Edmund Sheehan, Rector (Boorowa). Mother Gabrielle Campbell attended the ceremony.  This stone can still be seen on the front of the building today.

The official opening day was on 25 February 1917.  The ceremony was performed by his Lordship Dr Gallagher, with Rev. Father Slattery, Diocesan Inspector of Schools also preaching.

On Saturday 3 February 1917, the Sisters of Mercy nuns arrived from Goulburn to take up residency and teaching responsibilities. The nuns included Mother Mary Bonaventure Macguire (first community leader) and Mother Mary Gabriel Mistress of Method (who only stayed a few days).     Forty-eight pupils, over half of the students from Marengo (now Murringo) Public School, transferred to the new Convent school in 1917.

With growth in student numbers, a new schoolhouse was built on the land next door. On 5 May 1929, a foundation stone for the new building was laid by the Right Rev. J Barry, Bishop of Goulburn, in the presence of Rev E. Sheehan, Parish Priest.  The school was officially opened in February 1930 by the Right Rev. Dr. Barry. School classes moved there. The Convent remained a residence for the nuns.

The school was closed in 1961 due to a shortage of Sisters and the availability of a bus service to take students to nearby larger towns. It was more than a decade after this that the Convent and School buildings became private residences when they were sold by the Church in 1974.



This list may not contain every serving cleric, past or present, for this church.
Further submissions welcomed.

Years Name Annotation D.o.B D.o.D
1876 - 1880 Rev John Dunne From Boorowa Parish (1876–1903)
1876 - 1877 Rev William McGrath Asst 1965
1879 - Rev Edward Fallon Asst 1912
1889 - 1885 Rev Thomas Long
1883 - Rev Andrew Walsh Asst
1885 - 1896 Rev William Bermingham 1900
1887 - 1891 Rev Terence O'Shaughnessy Asst
1890 - 1891 Rev Patrick Hanrahan Asst
1892 - 1895 Rev Thomas Hayes Asst
1895 - 1896 Rev Peter McAlroy Asst 1934
1896 - 1903 Rev James Kennedy
1900 - 1903 Rev Timothy Cleary Asst
1903 - 1905 Rev Edward Laide Asst 1931
1903 - 1909 Rev Daniel Leahy From Koorawatha Parish (1903-1911) 1909
1907 - Rev Thomas Mullins Asst 1939
1907 - 1908 Rev Edmund Sheehan - more details Asst 1877 1960
1908 - Rev Peter McGurk Asst
1910 - Rev Peter Mulligan
1910 - Rev John McDwyer Asst
1911 - 1911 Rev Edward Laide
1911 - 1912 Rev John Fogerty Asst
1912 - 1915 Rev Timothy O'Connell 1936
1913 - 1914 Rev Patrick Reidy Asst 1938
1914 - 1919 Rev P Bailey Asst
1943 - 1946 Rev John W Morrison From Boorowa Parish (1911-1961) 1904 1988
1920 - 1922 Rev Edward O'Donnell Asst
1922 - 1924 Rev Clarence Lehane Asst 1960
1925 - 1925 Rev Peter Donnelly Asst 1945
1925 - 1925 Rev Alphonsus Deegan Asst 1963
1926 - 1927 Rev Austin O'Connor Asst 1972
1928 - 1937 Rev Matthew Bugler Asst 1957
1929 - 1930 Rev Joseph McDonnell
1931 - 1932 Rev Joseph Keating Asst 1947
1933 - 1933 Rev George Crennan Asst
1934 - 1936 Rev Timothy Harnett Asst
1936 - 1938 Rev Patrick Landers Asst
1937 - 1939 Rev Michael Edwards Asst
1939 - 1940 Rev Terance Dunleavy Asst 1946
1940 - 1941 Rev Lawrence Gallagher Asst 1969
1941 - 1941 Rev David Lonergan Asst
1942 - 1942 Rev Marcus Crowe Asst 1916 2006
1943 - 1946 Rev John W Morrison Administrator 1904 1988
1943 - 1944 Rev Christopher O'Donovan Asst
1944 - 1948 Rev John Bartley Asst
1948 - 1950 Rev Michael O'Brian Asst
1946 - 1951 Rev Patrick Coffey Administrator
1952 - 1952 Rev Francis Casey Administrator 1980
1952 - 1955 Rev Daniel Greene Administrator 1977
1955 - 1955 Rev Lloyd Reynolds Asst 1983
1955 - 1959 Rev John O'Connor Asst
1959 - 1960 Rev Michael O'Shea Asst 1965
1960 - 1961 Rev John W Morrison 1904 1988
1960 - 1961 Rev John O'Brian
1956 - 1964 Rev John Tiernan From Koorawatha Parish (1961-1976) 1980
1964 - 1969 Rev Cyril Commins
1969 - 1972 Rev John O'Connor
1971 - Rev Terence Pigram
1972 - 1973 Rev Patrick Flanagan
1974 - 1975 Rev Hilton Roberts
1975 - 1976 Rev Marcus Crowe 2006
1976 - 1982 Rev George Weissel From Young Parish (1976–2021)
1979 - 1979 Rev Michael Burke Asst
1979 - 1980 Rev Peter Gannon Asst
1979 - 1982 Rev Maurice Hasler 1994
1980 - 1982 Rev Thomas Thornton Asst
1982 - 1989 Rev Kevin Flynn
1982 - 1985 Rev Thomas Thornton Asst
1985 - 1988 Rev Richard Thompson Asst
1987 - 1990 Rev Paul Huthnance Asst
1989 - 1995 Rev Christopher Kirwin
1990 - 1991 Rev Warrick Tonkin Asst
1991 - 1994 Rev Anthony Percy Asst
1992 - 1993 Rev John Tran Asst
1994 - 1996 Rev Peter My Asst
1995 - 2000 Rev Lachlan Coll
1996 - 2000 Rev Dermid McDermott Asst
1998 - 2000 Rev Francis Fuchs Asst
2000 - 2006 Rev Warrick Tonkin
2000 - 2003 Rev Mietek Markowicz Asst
2006 - 2014 Rev Richard Thompson
2010 - 2011 Rev Loorthsamy Irudeysamy Asst


In 1994, the two original organs were sold and replaced by a new Yamaha organ. The original organs were played by many parishioners over the years, including Mrs Jim O’Connor, Helen North and Joan Parkman. Catherine Cusack played the new organ at the last Mass held on 21 December 2014.


1. The material presented here was sourced from: Morris, Paul 2021, Former Sacred Heart Convent, Murringo, including the History of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Sacred Heart School, Murringo,, December 2021, Murringo, NSW, ISBN 978-0-6451022-3-9. Copies of the publication are available for purchase from Paul Morris at email: or can be borrowed from the Boorowa or Young Libraries, the National Library of Australia or the NSW State Library.

Material reprinted with permission, Paul Morris 2021.


1. Ryerson Index.