150th Anniversary of Immaculate Conception Church

* Click/Tap item to view

1869 to 2019 - Celebrating 150 years of serving the community

The Immaculate Conception Church Hawthorn was consecrated and opened on October 10th 1869, and in 2019 we celebrated this milestone in our parish.

We hope you enjoy the glimpses into the past via the photographs and articles below which highlight the history of the church and parish.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

ICC 150th Anniversary Events

On Sunday 6th October 2019 the 150th Anniversary of the consecration of Immaculate Conception Church was commemorated at a special Mass celebrated by Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli, who was joined by Jesuit Provincial Fr Brian McCoy SJ and Parish Priest Fr Des Dwyer SJ.

Those attending the Mass listened to an inspiring homily by Archbishop Comensoli.    
'Faith is a light to be fanned into a blazing fire, not typically left on the mantelpiece to give off a reassuring glow', said the Archbishop,
'The gift of faith that Christ set alight 150 years ago still needs fanning and still needs fanners … You stand on the sacred ground of those Christian disciples who went before you who did not demand “give us more faith” but humbly declared “we are his servants”.’

The choir delighted the congregation with beautiful music, including a new musical setting for the Hail Mary composed by Fr Christopher Willcock SJ (Listen here; see sheet music).

The Mass was followed by a light lunch and gathering on the lawn, during which the raffle was drawn. As part of the celebration St Joseph’s Primary School Principal, Sharon Kenyon-Smith, presented a time capsule prepared by the students and blessed by Archbishop Comensoli (see details of time capsule). A framed portrait gallery of all the Parish Priests of Hawthorn over the last 150 years was also gifted to Fr Des Dwyer.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

At another event, on Sunday 11th August, eminent historian, Dr Joan Barclay Lloyd, presented a most informative lecture entitled ‘Faith, Family and Fine Art: Reflections of the Architecture and Stained Glass Windows in Immaculate Conception, Hawthorn’.

In addition, an enchanting Musical Prelude was performed by Georgina Docherty, Han Cahyono and Krishna Martin.


A Spring Concert was held on Sunday 8th September featuring the charming music of St Joseph’s School String Duet and the School Choir of students from Year 3 to Year 6, Xavier College Senior Singers, Hawthorn U3A Orchestra (conductor Julie Lancashire), Georgina Docherty, Han Cahyono, Gabriel and Raphael C., Fiona Dyball, Patrick Shannon, Ben Colley-McKinley, Jane Schleiger, Heather Stockart and Yu Lin. The historic George Fincham organ was showcased by Vincent A. (Xavier College), Simon and Lucas D’C. (Whitefriars College) and Maureen Mahon.


Our Parish 1869 to 2019 (an online exhibition)

Grateful Thanks to Kevin Slattery for collecting and writing all the fascinating historical items featured throughout the 150th Anniversary year. Appreciation to Fr Michael Head, from whose history much of the material comes and his assistant Liz Parker who supplied many of the photos. 

The narrated slideshow below provides a brief summary of the history of Immaculate Conception Church and the people of Hawthorn Catholic Parish.

ICC History slideshow

Enjoy browsing below the more detailed items created for the 150th Anniversary Historical Exhibition which was scheduled to be held in the Hawthorn Arts Precinct. The full set of Weekly articles which were published in 2019 is also included.

(Click/Tap Item to view PDF of each article and photographs, or Play Audio)

icc-new-2 sketched via paint no wires ti

Immaculate Conception Church 1869 -2019

00:00 / 04:50
Dialogue Mass men coming out of church e

Men's Sacred Heart Confraternity

00:00 / 01:43
Vi Feil as a girl cropped exhib thumb ti

Two special parishioners - Bill Box and Vi Feil

00:00 / 07:29
Fr Nolan cropped exhib thumb tiny.png

Pioneer priest and founder of our parish church

00:00 / 02:13
manresa orchestra 1920 exhib thumb2 tiny

A rich musical history from the earliest days

00:00 / 10:20
St Johns 1951 exhib thumb tiny.jpg

St. Joseph's, St. John's, Lyndale, Kilmaire

00:00 / 16:35
Sir John O'Shanassy exhib thumb tiny.jpg

Four extraordinary parishioners

00:00 / 01:55
Manresa Musical Society exhib thumb tiny

Manresa Musical Society - operettas and more

00:00 / 01:25
Fr Harper exhib thumb tiny.jpg

Fr John (Johannes) Peifer and Fr Pat Harper

00:00 / 06:32
Manresa Cub Scouts exhib thumb tiny.jpg

Hawthorn 12th (Manresa) Scouts and Cubs

00:00 / 02:58
advocate icon exhib thumb tiny.PNG

Original newspaper reports of ICC history

00:00 / 00:45
weekly items book cover.jpg

Collection of all the weekly articles published in 2019 

00:00 / 00:45

Would you like to read more?

More extensive accounts of Hawthorn Catholic Parish, Immaculate Conception Church and St. Joseph's church may be found on our Parish History page.


A extremely comprehensive article about the historic George Fincham organ is available on the Organ Historical Trust of Australia website.  


To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.