St Olivers School and Church

St Olivers School and Church

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St Oliver's Primary, Harris Park was established by the Sisters of Mercy. The parish celebrated its first mass on Christmas Day 1929. The school, known then as Blessed Oliver Plunket Primary School opened its doors in 1930. The Sisters of Mercy staffed and ran the school until 1976 when the first lay principal was appointed. Blessed Oliver was also canonised in 1976 and so the parish and school became St Oliver's Primary.

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.

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