History of the Parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta

From Dundas Valley in the east, west to Katoomba, south to Luddenham, and north to Richmond, the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta is made of 49 vibrant Parishes.

Dating back as early as 1832, each of these Parishes has its own unique story to tell and place in the history of the Diocese's formation and growth.

Histories of the Parishes of the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
Harris Park - St Oliver Plunkett's Parish (Est 1940)
St Oliver Plunkett's Church, Harris Park. Photo: Virginia Knight

The history of the church in Harris Park is unusual. In his Will, Jack McCreedie, a wealthy merchant and amateur astronomer, decreed that no portion of his land at Harris Park should ever become associated with Catholicism. However, in 1926, when his home and land went up for auction, a group of Catholics including Rev Dr Sheey, Granville Parish Priest, got together and with a well-supported campaign raised the money to buy the mansion and land. McReedie's mansion became the convent and juniorate for those considering becoming nuns and was dedicated Mary's Mount. When the Convent was established plans were made for building a church and school on adjacent land and the foundation stone was laid in October 1929.  

The first Mass was celebrated on Christmas Day 1929. In 1930 the school/church, dedicated to Blessed Oliver Plunkett, an Irish martyr, opened its doors. Blessed Oliver was canonised in 1976 and so the parish became St Oliver's. Over the years many changes have taken place at Harris Park. 

In 1967, a carpenter was employed to make several renovations to Mary's Mount. One day, from a dismantled fireplace he unearthed a broken bottle. 

Securely and secretly tucked away in a section of the glass bottle was a piece of parchment-like paper wrapped around the tiny statues of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and the Scared Heart. Where McCreedie once ruled supreme and tried to assert his will from the grave, a new generation of the devout interpret this emergence as a direct result of prayer, especially that first one in the bottle. 

PARISH PRIESTS  & Administrators 

Established                                          1940 -  


Rev John Heaps 


Rev Peter Farrelly                                1966 - 1973 

Rev William McGuiness                         1993 

Rev Lancy D’Souza                              1994 – 1997 

Rev Eugene Szondi (Administrator)       1997 

Rev Peter Williams                               1998 - 2004 

Rev George O’Mara (Administrator)       2005 – 2007 

Rev Joseph Thomas (Administrator)      2007 – 2008 

Rev Arthur Bridge                                2008 – 2014

Rev Christopher de Souza                     2014 – present



The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.Luke 10:1-12. 17-20 (St Patrick’s Day)

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