PARISH PRIESTS & ADMINISTRATORS
Rev Paul Venticinque 2002 – 2009
Rev Kevin Walsh (Administrator) 2008 – 2010
Rev David Hume 2010 – 2014
Rev John McSweeney 2014 – current
The parish of St John XXIII was established on 6 October 2002. Geographically, the parish includes the suburbs of Glenwood, Stanhope Gardens, Parklea, Newbury and Kellyville Ridge.
When the parish started, the community first gathered for Sunday Eucharist in the library at Holy Cross Primary School on Meurants Lane, Glenwood.
In the pioneering days, the focus was the building up of the faith community and the building of the church. Construction of our new church was completed in March 2007, and formally dedicated to God’s glory on 2 June 2007.
The church is located on Perfection Avenue, Stanhope Gardens. On the same parish site, are the primary schools, John XXIII, which opened in 2005 and St Mark’s Catholic Secondary College, which opened in 2007.
When it was proposed that the North West sector be developed for private housing, it seemed reasonable to extend the boundary of St Bernadette’s Parish from Meurants Lane to the intersection of Sunnyholt Road and Old Windsor Road. This suggestion was accepted by the diocese and the boundaries were changed to meet the pastoral needs of this new area, which is now known as Glenwood.
It was proposed that land be bought in the vicinity of what is now the intersection of Glenwood Park Drive and Forman Avenue. Here a Catholic Primary School would be built together with an imaginatively planned multi-purpose building to double as a parish hall and church, much as happens in expanding areas of the United States. This plan would not come to fruition as a second Primary School was built on Meurants Lane.
Now there were two Catholic Primary schools in the parish. While Holy Cross was on the drawing board, the pupils of Holy Cross were accommodated in portable classrooms at St Bernadette’s. In October 2002, Glenwood would be cut off from Lalor Park, and a new parish established, Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens, under the title of John XXIII and the boundaries of St Bernadette’s were restored to their original position.
On Saturday 2 June 2007, there was great rejoicing as our church was formally dedicated (link to dedication photos) by Bishop Kevin Manning, second Bishop of Parramatta.
But the history of SJ23, as it is affectionately known, starts much earlier.
In about 40,000 BC an Aboriginal tribe called the Darug settled on the Western Cumberland Plain and their descendants have lived in the surrounding area ever since.
In 1791, just three years after the First Fleet landed in Botany Bay, Governor Phillip travelled to the area known later as Prospect Hill and settled 12 people in the area to develop it. From the 1880’s thousands of residential lots were released in the Mt. Druitt, Rooty Hill and Marsden Park areas.
The Aboriginal people of the Western Cumberland Plain referred to themselves as the Darug (also spelt as Dharug, Daruk, Dharuk and Dharruk). The three Clans of the Blacktown area included: Gomerigal – South Creek; Wawarawarry – Eastern Creek; and Warmuli – Prospect. After many thousand years of Aboriginal occupation and 150 years of agricultural use, the area bears little resemblance to the forest environment that once covered the site. Evidence of Aboriginal settlement, including a broad distribution of stone artefacts from campsite activities, abounds in the area, especially along the creeks. Aboriginals farmed the area in their own way, often planting yams and other edible foods and the creeks were known for good fishing both by Aboriginals and white settlers. White and red ochres obtained on site were used for corroborees. Local fauna, including kangaroo and possum provided good hunting.
The impact of white settlement meant that there was competition for land and resources. While numbers declined there has always been an Aboriginal presence in Blacktown and today, this is reflected in the name of the City and its suburb Dharruk and the fact that Blacktown has the largest Aboriginal population in the state. In 1819 Governor Lachlan Macquarie granted two areas of land to local and well respected Aboriginals, Colebee and Nurragingy.
Governor Macquarie also set up a Native Institute, the aim was to achieve the ‘Civilisation of the Aborigines of both Sexes’. The institute was not a success and was later put up for auction in 1833. Although the institute itself was not a total success, the foresight in Lachlan Macquarie granting land to Colebee and Nurragingy resulted in more land on the south side of Richmond Road being set aside for Aboriginal married couples to settle and farm.
Eventually five families settled adjacent to the Nurragingy and Colebee land grants. The Aboriginal name for the area was Boongarrunbee, it became known as the ‘the black town’ and from 1822 the name ‘Black-Town’ started to appear on maps and in letters.