Sacred Heart Basilica, Timaru 

Scared Heart, Craigie Ave, 1999. Front view taken from St Mary's.

Scared Heart Basilica at 7 Craigie Ave, with its twin towers, creamy limestone facings and a cupola of copper celebrated its centennial the weekend of 28th - 30th Oct. 2011 with the mass, speeches, tributes and a reunion of current and past parishioners. Listen to the service, the sound of the organ and the hymns e.g. King of Heaven. The school choir and 35 members from the ChristChurch Cathedral Choir sang at the mass. The opening hymn was Faith of our Fathers. A centennial dinner and book launch was held at the Roncalli College gym and the basilica was open for viewing on Saturday afternoon where the public could admire the beautiful stained glass windows, read the various inscriptions including the war memorial honour boards. The parish itself is 150 years old and this is the third church built on the site. The previous church burnt down soon after the foundation stone was laid for the Basilica in 1910. Fr. Tubman inspiration for the design came from a visit to Reno, Nevada in 1907. He had a brother on the staff of the Reno Cathedral. Fr. Tubman came back with photos of the Cathedral of St. Thomas Aquinas and asked Frank Petre to draw up plans. Dean John Tubman thought the nave was too large for "the parish and purses" and Petre refused to remove two bays so Petre refused to have anything to do with the building. John Tubman took over and supervised the work and hired Bart Moriarty as building surveyor. In a letter to the Bishop of Christchurch - Tubman outlined his decision to press ahead. Father Tubman wrote "it is, I recognise, an immense undertaking for a place the size of Timaru where there is not a single man who can afford to give a big donation and a great majority very little". The basilica was built in a true parochial effort with the parishioners clearing and levelling the ground and carting materials and helping with the construction. Farmers felled blue gums to use as scaffolding. Many farmers contributed labour, materials and helped with transportation of materials. Sand and shingle came from St. Andrews via train and Timaru parishioners transported this to the site by bullock cart. Most of the materials used were ferro-concrete, Oamaru stone and locally made bricks. Tubman paid the workers daily so he knew how much money was available. A couple of days before the grand opening the electric lights were turned on. The church cost £23,000 and was blessed and opened by Dean Tubman on 1st October 1911, Rosary Sunday. The plan is a true cruciform, the mark of the Christian basilica and the style is Roman Renaissance of the Ionic order. In 2001 a $250,000 restoration to the interior of the Sacred Heart Basilica got underway with new steps to the main entranceway and all the work was completed by mid-December. Mt Cook can be seen from the walkway around the base of the external dome which rises to a height of 115 feet .The dome is 40' in diameter at its base. It rises 70 feet from the floor.

Drew more than a little inspiration -  a family

The inspirational mother church : In Sept. 1906, Father Thomas M. Tubman returned to Reno from a conference with the Sacramento Catholic bishop with approval for a new cathedral in Reno, with construction slated to start by Sept. 22 1906. Fr  Tubman arrived in Reno in the fall of 1904, he knew that the little church no longer could satisfy Reno’s growing community. He announced plans to build a much larger structure closer to the centre of town. “The time has come for making the structures in Reno attractive as well as useful,” Father Tubman said. “The church will be one of the finest buildings in the state.” Before undertaking such an immense task, he visited Ireland for a needed retreat. While there, he received a telegram informing him that St. Mary’s Church had been destroyed by fire. He sent the message, “From the ashes of the old church will rise a greater and grander church.” On June 21, 1908, the doors of St. Thomas opened to parishioners. In the summer of 1909, Father Tubman visited Ireland for another well-earned retreat. When he returned to New York, a messenger handed him a telegram telling him his church had burned. pg 11. Without flinching, he began raising money to reconstruct Reno’s only Catholic Church. In late Nov. 1910, Bishop Grace rededicated St. Thomas Aquinas Church. Father Tubman continued as pastor for 19 years, after which he relinquished his duties in the active priesthood due to ill health. He died in 1931. His brother Dean John Tubman visited Reno again in 1920.

The brother: Progress, 1 Feb. 1910, Page 132 The Roman Catholic Church at Timaru. A stone building to cost between £13,000 and £15,000 is being erected by day labour and sub-contract. B. Moriarty is superintendent of works. Architect, Frank W. Petre, 125 Princes Street, Dunedin.

The clone: A church of Bart Moriarty's design, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Paddington, NSW, AUS, had its foundation stone laid in July 1917. Bart Moriarty drew his inspiration from the Sacred Heart Basilica in Timaru.  

Tubman's of Ballinamor​e in County Leitrim, Ireland - Fr John was a legend in the family along with his brother, Fr Tom, who founded a church in Reno.

Photo by Margaret Todd, Sept. 2011 
Inside the Roman Catholic Church, Sept. 2011, the nave has an internal dome supported by Ionic columns 

Poverty Bay Herald, 7 October 1911, Page 5 The Visit to Timaru.
His Lordship Bishop Cleary received a warm-hearted welcome from the Catholics of Timaru on Monday night. The building was packed with people from all parts of the parish, and there were present the four Roman Catholic Bishops of New Zealand and clergy from every diocese in the Dominion. Dr. Cleary, on taking the platform, met with prolonged applause. He commenced by sketching the history of the well-known saying made use of by Dean Tubman. This saying, he said, had originated in Ireland in the old pagan days. When Dean Tubman spoke of this saying the story came back to him, and he thought that it had a local application, because it was some two years since he lost sight of Timaru, and his memory came back, at seeing so many familiar faces. He came at the expense of no sacrifice, but as the Archbishop came, he considered every mile of the long journey a mile of joy. The joy increased when he saw the beautiful building and stood amongst old friends. When he had first got a sight of the noble edifice it struck him that Dean Tubman had been to Arabia, and somehow or other got hold of Aladdin's lamp, and had just to rub the lamp and express a wish. But there, was this between the magic building and the very substantial basilica here erected, it would take a good many rubs of a great many lamps to wipe out the very substantial edifice they had there beside them. It would take a great many ages of time to make an inroad into the monument of Dean Tubman, and ages to come would still see it in its splendour, and when the last blow came and destroyed it, it would be about time for the crack of doom to come.

At a social to Dr. Tubman in celebration of his silver jubilee as a priest, Bishop Cleary interspersed his congratulations, with some pleasant anecdotes and incidents of travel. Bishop Cleary referred in appreciative terms to the new church in Timaru, which was in truth a temple of the living God, a standing reminder to all of us that there were things of far greater importance than the worldly affairs over which we troubled so much. That temple was the work of Dean Tubman and his people, and it would be the constant endeavor of the Dean to make of it a preparatory plate for those you would ultimately go to the city with gates of pearl. Too often we set a cold reserve about our hearts, but that night they had opened their hearts and had shown Dean Tubman that they truly loved him. The Dean had said that day that silver was showing in his hair why should it not do so on his silver jubilee (laughter) and that he was going down the hill of life. He did not know how old Father Tubman was, but whatever his age he did not look it (laughter) and they would all join in wishing that when he did come to go down the hill of life, he would have an easy sunny slope along which he would be guided into eternity.

The Very Rev. Dean John Tubman (c. 1858 - 1923)

John Tubman P.P. served the church from 1891 to 1919 and he died 23 December 1923. 

New Zealand Tablet, 28 March 1907, Page 14
March 25. On Thursday evening a large gathering assembled in the St. Andrew's Public Hall to welcome Rev. Father Tubman (who has just returned from a trip to the Old Land) to that part of his extensive parish. Mr. D. O'Callaghan presided, and after a short musical programme had been' gone through, called upon Mr. A. Wilson to read an address of welcome. Many of the leading Catholics supplemented the words of greeting contained in the address, and Father Tubman in returning thanks gave a short summary of his interesting holiday tour.

Hawera & Normanby Star, 27 December 1923, Page 7
The Very Rev. Dean Tubman, parish priest of Meeanee, Hawke's Bay, passed away suddenly on Saturday night. The late Dean, who was about 65 years of age, was born in Ireland, and came to New Zealand when quite a young man. His first commission was at St. Patrick's College, from where he was appointed to the charge of Timaru. It was there that the Dean's labours won for him the esteem of the community, his crowning achievement being the erection of the Church of the Sacred Heart at a cost of £25,000.

Evening Post, 31 December 1923, Page 8
The Very Rev. Dean J. Tubman, who was for many years parish priest at Timaru, has died at Greenmeadows, Hawkes Bay. He went to Timaru in 1891 as assistant curate, and was later appointed parish priest. He carried out a great work after the destruction by fire of the Roman Catholic Church in Timaru, his efforts to replace it by the Church of the Sacred Heart being strenuous. Sometime after he had been transferred to St. Mary's Seminary, Greenmeadows, he paid a visit to his brother in California. Since his return to the Dominion his health had been indifferent. The late Dean Tubman was born in County Leitrim, Ireland, and commenced his education at the local national school. He subsequently studied at St. Mary's College, Dundalk, and completed his education at private seminaries in England and Ireland. He was ordained by Bishop Woodlock, of Langford, in 1886 and spent the two succeeding years as a professor, first in St. Mary's College, Dundalk, and then at the Catholic University School Dublin. In 1888 he left his native land for New Zealand, and spent three years at Wellington as master of St. Patrick's College.

Timaru Herald, 30 March 1898, Page 2
New Zealand Tablet, 8 April 1898, Page 5
Yesterday the Office for the Dead, and a solemn Requiem Mass, were sung at the Church of the Sacred Heart, for the repose of the soul of the late Mr James Tubman, father of the Rev. Father Tubman, P.P., of Timaru. There were eleven priests in the Sanctuary, namely, the Rev. Father Cumming, V.G. (presiding). The Very Rev. Dean McKay, of Oamaru, sang the Requiem Mass. The Rev. Fathers Foley (Leeston) and Regnault (Waimate) were Deacon and Sub-Deacon, respectively, and the Rev. Father Bowers (Geraldine) was Master of the Ceremonies. The Rev. Fathers O'Connell (Waimate) and Cumming were Cantors. The Rev. Father Cumming preached an eloquent and moving sermon, and gave the Absolution. The Very Rev. Father Le Menant des Chesnais (Temuka) ; Fathers Marnane (Christchurch), Perkins, McDonnell, and Tubman. The deceased gentleman was a farmer of  Ballinamore in County Leitrim, Ireland, and died at the good old age of 84 years. Of his family of eight children two are priests — Father Thomas Tubman, P.P., of Virginia City, Nevada, and Father John Tubman, the respected pastor of Timaru.

Scared Heart, Timaru 2000. Back view.Francis William Petre

Born in Lower Hutt, 26 Sept 1847. Died in Dunedin, 10 Dec 1918. He was educated at Roman Catholic schools in England and France and was articled (1864–9) to the shipbuilder and engineer Joseph Samuda (1813–85) in London, after which he worked for Daniel Cubitt Nichols (fl 1856–91). In 1872 he returned to New Zealand as an engineer on railway construction, establishing his own practice in Dunedin in 1875. He carried out a wide range of commercial, domestic and engineering works, but his major architectural commissions came from the Roman Catholic Church. His first important work was the Dominican Priory (1877), Dunedin. Its simplified, angular Gothic forms reveal its monolithic concrete construction. More conventional in form, St Joseph’s Cathedral (begun 1879), Dunedin, is French 13th-century Gothic in style. Petre employed the Gothic style for small parish churches but increasingly favoured classical basilican plans for larger churches. The basilica of the Sacred Heart (1889), Wellington, and St Patrick’s Basilica (1893), Oamaru, preceded his major achievement, the cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament (1901–5), Christchurch. Based on 19th-century French prototypes, notably J.B. Lepère and J.I. Hittorff’s church of Vincent-de-Paul (1824–44), Paris, and constructed of concrete sheathed in Oamaru limestone, Christchurch Cathedral is the largest and most imposing classically designed church in New Zealand. Reference: The Grove Dictionary of Art. CHCH with photos of all the Catholic Churches. The Blessed Sacrament in ChCh collapsed during the 22 Feb. 2011 6.2 earthquake.

Consider taking a Petre pilgrimage down the South Island's east coast visiting several churches designed by architect Francis (aka Frank) W. Petre (1847 - 1918). bio

The basilica of the Sacred Heart is registered as Category 1 with the NZ Historic Places Trust.  Historic place of special or outstanding historical or cultural heritage significance or value.The Foundation Stone

Hawera & Normanby Star, 7 February 1910, Page 5
A NEW CHURCH BUILDING. TIMARU, February 6. The foundation stone of the new Sacred Heart Church was laid this afternoon by Bishop Grimes, of the diocese of Canterbury. There was a very large attendance of members of the church and public. After the, procession, which included a great number of clergy and members of the Hibernian Society, his Lordship laid the stone with all due ceremony. An address followed by the Rev. Father Tubman (parish vicar), Bishop Grimes and others. A special collection realised a large sum. The church will cost £20,000 when finished, and will be built of concrete, with Oamaru stone facings and ornaments. [He was assisted by Bishop Verdon of Dunedin] [A time capsule was placed beneath the stone containing newspapers, coins and documents of the time.] 

The new Church of the Sacred Heart, Timaru, from the Convent Grounds, by Wm Ferrier.
They carted the stone for the outside up from Oamaru and brought it up to the railway station, and then the parishioners used a horse and cart to bring it here.

The Bells

This north-east tower houses a peal of bells, a C major scale. They are the work of London, England, bell founders John Warner and sons, cast in 1912 at a cost of £1000, installed in July 1914. They were blessed by Reverend Dean Francis Hills, S.M., on Sunday 12 July, 1914, and first rung on 26 July, 1914. The Bells are names (in ascending order) after the children of Nicholas Quinn who gave a bequest of £300 toward the cost. Nicholas, Mary, Francis, John, Michael, Thomas, Henry, Patrick. The heaviest, Nicholas, weighs nearly a tonne. They were originally played every hour, until complaints were received from the Nurses' Home. Access to the campanile is by the south-east tower. A campanile is a bell tower, especially one freestanding from the body of a church. A cast iron staircase leads from the choir loft.

Rita Evadney Minehan b. 12 August 1906 died 2 July 2006 - six weeks short of her 100th birthday.
Cavalcade of memories, 1869 - 1969: the unique story of the Sacred Heart Parish of Timaru, New Zealand by Rita Minehan - 40 pages
Sacred Heart's principal bell-ringer is Mrs Rita Minehan (since 1925), assisted in 2002 AD by her musicians Glenis Cunningham, Martin Kane and Jacob Barwick.

Bells ring out for Rita for the last time.
The bells tolled for Timaru's leading lady Rita Minehan as her life was celebrated at the Sacred Heart Basilica yesterday morning - the church she had served so devoutly for many decades. Clergy Father Leeming officiated. She was one of the great characters of Timaru - flamboyant and strong-willed and fearless. Rita received the Queen's Service Medal [Q.S.M.] for Public Services 31st Dec. 1994 and later presented with the Papal Benemerenti Medal ( from Latin as "well-merited") and Citation at an afternoon tea, given for outstanding Catholic and Christian witness in the Sacred Heart Parish, the community of Timaru and the Diocese of Christchurch. She was a strong, staunch Catholic lady, mother of six children, was a great defender of the unborn, 78 years a bell ringer at the Basilica (1925-2003) and a renowned piano teacher. She donated her Bosendorfer piano to Chalmers Church. She had owned it 47 years. Her husband was W. S. (Bill) Minehan, former manager of the Canterbury Frozen Meat Company. He became something of a local celebrity when he was robbed at gunpoint on the highway south of Timaru when delivering the payroll to the Pareora Freezing Works. 

Twenty-six beautiful Stained Glass Windows page 173 & 133
An array of fine stained glass windows where installed between 1911 and 1939.

The Roman Catholic Basilica of Sacred Heart, Craigie Avenue, Timaru has 26 stained glass windows. Eight of those windows are seen below, high above in the apse; each approx. 200 cm x 95 cm. Rev. Tubman ordered the windows from John Hardman & Co., Birmingham, England for a total cost of £240. £30 each plus £15 s&p and the windows left the factory  in August 1913. Hardman & Co. is still operating today. Rev. John Tubman donated the one of the windows, the St. John the Evangelist window. The windows on the north side were manufactured by FX Zettler. Munich Germany. The donors of the windows are named on marble tablets at the head of the nave and throughout the Basilica.

Evening Post, 24 November 1913, Page 9
Timaru, 23rd November. A beautiful memorial window in the Roman Catholic Church was dedicated this afternoon to the memory of Sergeant William Byrne, the first local man to lose his life in the Boer war. The subject is the baptism in the Jordan. A procession of ex-contingenters and other military attended at the morning service. At the morning service eight other windows, scriptural subjects, decorating the chancel, the gifts of different individuals and parties, were dedicated.

In Memoriam W.J. Byrne, killed in South Africa, 1901.Erected by an admiring & sorrowing public R.I.P.
The Baptism of Christ - etched right lower corner John Hardman & C. Birmingham, England.  — a firm whose work has reached a high plane in art development.  See another photo, look at the font photo below for the right base corner. Note the crack in the glass middle panel at the bottom.

The St Aloysius window in the Apse commemorates Rev. Charles Venning SM. Donated by the congregation. Made by FX Zettler, Munich, Germany, post 1918- pre 1936. The Basilica has six other Zettler windows. The Catholic Art Galley / H. Credgington & Co., in Melbourne were agents for the F.X. Zettler stained glass studio.


Evening Post,
21 February 1910, Page 7
The Rev. Father Fay, of Blenheim, has been appointed to succeed the late Ven. Archpriest Le Menant des Chesnais as parish priest of Temuka, and will be succeeded at Blenheim by the Rev. Father Venning, of Timaru. The Rev. Father Dignan has been appointed curate to Dean Ginaty at St. Mary's, Christchurch. Fathers Fay, Venning and Dignan were educated at St. Patrick's College, Wellington.

Poverty Bay Herald, 22 November 1912, Page 2 Father Venning killed
Welington, last night. The Rev. C J. Venning, met with a motor cycle accident this evening at 5.15, and succumbed to his injuries at 9.50 p.m. Father Venning was turning the corner of Hill street and Guilford terrace on his machine when he seemed to lose control, and it dashed into a fence. In the recoil he was heavily thrown with the machine on top of him. Mr W. G. Riddell S.M. and Mrs Riddell were spectators of the accident. It was found that Father Venning had sustained conclusion of the brain and a fracture of the skull. Drs. Pattire and Martin were called in but held out little hope, and the deceased passed away a few hours later. He appeared to regain consciousness, as the last rites were being administered by rev. fathers at the Presbytery, Hill street. Father Venning was 33 years old, and was a native of Timaru, being the son of Mr John Venning of that town. He studied at St. Patrick's College, Wellington, and at St. Mary's Scholasticate, Meanee, Hawke's Bay, being ordained in 1903. For some time he was on the staff of St. Patrick's College, and he then worked in various parishes in the Wellington arch-diocese. He was a man of tireless energy, and did good work for the St. Vincent De- Paul Society and mission and rescue work generally.

New Zealand Tablet, 18 January 1906, Page 17 Marriage
VENNING— KENT — On Tuesday, January 9, 1906, at St. Patrick's Church, Waimate, by the Rev. Father Charles Venning (brother of the grooms), assisted by the Rev. Fathers Regnault, Tubman, and O'Connor, Lucy Agnes and Elizabeth Catherine, second and third eldest daughters of Mrs. Kent, 'Glenbane,' Waimate, to John George and Edward Lotan, first and third eldest sons of Mr. and Mrs. J. Venning, 'Roslyn' Timaru.

Press 25 January 1938 Page 7
The Rev. Father S. O’Connor, S.M.. formerly of St. Patrick’s Church. Sydney, has begun his duties at the Sacred Heart parish (Timaru).   

This window is "The Christ-Child Teaching in the Temple" and is numbered W646 in Ciaran's book. It is by Mathieson & Gibson of Melbourne, Australia. It appears to have been made in 1936. Several other windows there are by the same firm, "Christ calming the Waters", "The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes" & "The Presentation of the Christ-child in the Temple".

Who was Michael Mullin? 
A land agent, a farmer and a hotelier. See Timaru Herald 24 Jan. 1936. pg 16.
By bequest in 1938 six windows were ordered from Rome by Father W.J. Schaefer for a total of £720 - James Watson & Son order book. 'Our farmers were very often the donors of stained glass.'
These four windows are a gift of Michael Mullin. A generous benefactor of this parish.

The six lower windows in the nave of this church were donated by the late Michael Mullin as a memorial to himself and his wife Mary Mullin. Pray for them.

 James Watson & Son, Youghhal, Ireland c. 1939

St. Michael

St. Vincent de Paul

St. Therese

St. Ida 

St. Matthew
St. Margaret Mary

Michael Mullin and his first wife Mary Sullivan are buried  at the Timaru Cemetery. Where is his second wife Flora buried? His mother Bridget is buried in Christchurch.
The Council's cemetery database online a wonderful access with headstone photos and the odd typo. His first wife is buried in SE-489. Mary is listed under Mary Mullen. His second wife is listed under Flora May Mullins Row 0 Plot 139.

Michael Mullin, age 85.
DOD Wednesday, 22 January 1936
Block SE New Row 89 New Plot 489

Headstone with the inscriptions. Mary Mullin died 21 March 1915, aged 74 years. R.I.P.
Of your charity pray for the soul of Michael Mullin died at Timaru on January 22nd 1936, aged 83 years. R.I.P.
"Eternal rest grant to them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them."

The "Eternal Rest", or "Requiem Æternam", is a prayer used in the Roman Catholic Church to ask God for the release of the souls of the faithful departed from Purgatory.
R.I.P. is an abbreviation for requiescat in pace which is Latin for 'May he/she rest in peace'.

He married again. In 1918 Michael Mullin married Flora May Speechly. Flora May Mullins died at 81 and was buried 26 July 1957 in the Free ground section at the Timaru Cemetery. She does not have a headstone. This was the second marriage for Flora. In 1901 Neville Innes Speechly married Flora May TOMBS. Flora's father was George Toombs, a printer and founder of Whitcoulls and Toombs. Neville was the s/o Edward Speechly who settled on R.S. 10864 near Geraldine. He sold it in Oct. 1882 to Edward Howden. Neville died in 1916. Edward and Robert Speechly (brothers) arrived into Lyttelton on the British Empire which left London 15 May 1864, arriving 6 September 1864. Robert travelled as a Saloon passenger and Edward was a 2nd Cabin passenger. Robert Speechly came out to superintend the building of the Christchurch Cathedral.

His second wife is buried with her first husband in C2-139. This plot was paid for in 1916 by N. Speechly, according to the council's original burial books. Neville died at age 37 and was buried on Monday, 3 January 1916 at the Timaru Cemetery. Section General Block C2 Plot 139. He has a headstone. In loving memory of Neville beloved husband of Flora May Speechly, age 37 years. So loved. so mourned.
Mullins [sic] Flora May Age at Death 81
Date of Interment Friday, 26 July 1957
Section Free Ground Block C Plot 139  

Speechley [sic], Neville  [another typo in the Timaru Cemetery online database] headstone photo is not linked to Flora May Mullins  [sic] database entry.

Evening Post, 29 September 1936, Page 11 SUCCESSFUL WILL CASE
Further provision from the estate of her deceased husband was sought and obtained in the Court of Appeal today by Flora May Mullin, of Timaru. The Court consisted of the Acting Chief Justice (Sir John Heed), Mr. Justice Ostler, Mr. Justice Blair, Mr. Justice Kennedy, and Mr. Justice Callan. The deceased, Michael Mullin, a retired farmer, left an estate of a value of about £35,000, and by his will he gave to the appellant a legacy of £200 and an annuity of £250 during her widowhood, together with the use of a residence and furniture. Other legacies totalling £2400 went to various beneficiaries and the balance of the estate was directed to be divided into 64 parts, which 27 were to be paid to nephews and nieces, and 37 to certain religious bodies. The widow's application for further provision was not opposed, and the Court indicated that it would order that provision and fix the amount later. Mr. W. D. Campbell, of Timaru, appeared for the widow, Mr. J. Byrne, of Wellington, for the Public Trustee, executor of the will, Mr. L. J. O'Connell, of Timaru, and Mr. A. M. Ongley, of Palmerston North, for certain legatees.

An advertisement.The PIPE ORGAN  - listen

The loft houses the pipe organ. The Arthur Hobday organ was installed in 1912. Mr Hobday made use of the pipe work from an older instrument that was built in England in 1848 and sent to Sydney. The organ has double-rise bellows with excellent tonal qualities which is enhanced by a splendid acoustic and visual setting. The organ was restored in 1986 by the SI Organ Company, of Timaru and has 1516 pipes that range from sixteen feet to a quarter of an inch and are made from wood, tin-lead and zinc. The console has the original fittings i.e. stop knobs, stop labels, keyboard checks, pedal-board and organ bench.  

   The organ at Scared Heart Basilica, 2006. 

11 October 2006 Timaru Herald
The photo with organist Terry Kennedy is taken at Sacred Heart Basilica in Craigie Ave, Timaru. Terry is playing less often at funerals with increased use of popular music on CDs.  The Basilica's pipe organ was built by Arthur Hobday & Son in 1912. It was his last work.
    Another article on Terry appeared in the Timaru Herald 15 August 2009. 24 hours in the life of Terry Kennedy. Long-serving councillor a community player. The work around playing keyboard for funerals in churches and at funeral homes has dropped off considerably in the last 12 months. From what I can see and what I hear from some of the people involved, the preference for having hymns isn't as great as it used to be. People are going for tunes that reflect the person's life.  

S. Anderson photo.HISTORY

The Church of the Sacred Heart, Timaru. The parish of which this church is the chief place of worship, extends from Mount Cook on the west to the Pacific shore on the east, and constitutes one of the strongholds of the Catholic Church in New Zealand. The church property consists of about 16 acres and accommodates the church, priory, convent and other institutions representing different phases of the Church's work. The church itself is a somewhat antiquated building, but the convent, standing some distance to the rear, and surrounded by well laid out and neatly kept grounds, is a substantial two-story brick building, one of the best in the colony devoted to its purpose. The priory is a two story building, in concrete, and contains 10 or 11 commodious apartments, including a spacious billiard room. The Marist Brother's House, also a two-story brick building, occupies a site on the opposite side of the road, which intersects the property. The boys' and girls' schools, two distinct institutions, are well attended by Catholic children from all parts of the parish. Reference: Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Canterbury edition. 1903 

Rev. Father J. Chataigner, S.M., Society of the Marists, arrived from France in 1860 and Father Chervier, S.M. visited Waimate in 1862 and established the Roman Catholic Church in Timaru in 1869. Chataigner soon after arrival purchased the property on Cragie Ave.

Star 20 February 1896, Page 2
Feb 1 — Anglian, s.s., 1354 tons, Hood, for northern ports and Sydney. Kirisey, Barns and Co., agents. Passengers: For Sydney - Rev. Hurlin, S.M., Father Maher.

New Zealand Tablet, 26 August 1898, Page 6 REV. FATHER L. HURLIN. S.M.
On Saturday last the Rev. Father Tubman received a cable from Sydney announcing the death of the late Rev. Father L. Hurlin, who was from 1893 to 1896 parish priest of Timaru. The Rev. L. Hurlin was born in Lorraine, France (now Germany) on the 17th March, 1837. Educated in French colleges and at Barcelona in Spain he made his religious profession in 1878. Subsequently he went to Dublin (1883), where he taught Canon Law. At his own desire he was sent to the Fiji Mission, where having spent some five or six years in arduous missionary labours, he went to Sydney and acted there as Procurator for the South Sea Island Missions for the space of two or three years. In February 1893 he took charge of the parish of Timaru, where his health failed him, so much so that in February 1896 he relinquished his duties in order to try and regain his health in the warmer climate of Sydney. Since then he has been staying at the Houses of Villa Maria, Sydney, and latterly has been doing parochial work at St. Michael's, attached to St. Patrick's Church there. In Timaru he has left remembrances that will not easily be forgotten. At a cost of over £200 he purchased in Sydney the present grand organ we possess, and that without placing any abnormal pressure on his congregation. That handsome addition to our church property, the priory, was also negotiated for and purchased by him. In this transaction he showed his keen business qualities, the negotiations extending over a considerable time. Father Hurlin eventually secured it at a price which the owners would have laughed at in the first instance. He also is to be accredited with the inception of the bazaar (afterwards so successfully carried out by Father Lewis), which realised over £600 towards liquidating the priory debt. At St. Andrew's he purchased nine acres of land to build a church on, and raised by a bazaar at Fairlie over £200 for church purposes there. He also insured his life for £500, the premium being paid annually by the Altar Society. This amount is bequeathed as the nucleus of a fund for the erection of a new church at Timaru. In sodalities he took a deep and active interest, especially in the league of the Apostleship of Prayer, which he successfully rooted in the parish. At a meeting of parishioners held to bid him farewell previous to his departure for Sydney he paid a high tribute to the counsel, advice, and assistance he received from his esteemed confrere, the Rev. Father Tubman (our worthy pastor), who went hand in hand with him in all his undertakings and took a large and creditable share in the heat and burthen of the day. R.I.P.

Hawera & Normanby Star 6 April 1910, Page 5
The Roman Catholic Church was burned down early this morning. The fire was first seen about 2.30, and then, had a good hold on the western portion. As the building was 40 years old and built of wood, the fire spread rapidly, and within five minutes of the alarm it was apparent that the church was doomed. Two powerful jets had not the slightest effect. The fire at its height was a magnificent spectacle. The whole building and contents in the way of church furniture were completely destroyed.

Timaru Herald 4 December 1879 pg8
The Roman Catholic Church, Timaru was crowded to excess in the evening, when His Lordship the Right Rev. Dr. Redwood, Roman Catholic Bishop of Wellington delivered an eloquent and exhaustive sermon. The ceremony of blessing the new Roman Catholic School, which was opened a few weeks ago in Timaru, took place on Nov. 17. Rev. Father Goutenoire, Rev. Father Chataigner, Master Charles Wilson replied to the Bishop.

The entire school:
Charles Wilson
Albert Muller
James Gerity
James Harney
Arthur Pender
Grace Pender
Bridget Harney
Ellen Murphy
Kate Hoare
Agnes Muller

Timaru Herald October, 1881. Marriage:
LAWLOR - DENNEHY - On Sept 8th at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Timaru, by the Rev. Father Chataigner (assisted by the Rev. Father Kane) David Roche Lawlor, of Invercargill, to Margaret Elizabeth, daughter of Mr Michael Dennehy, of Timaru

Timaru Herald September, 1888. Marriage:
WILDERMOTH - PYE. On the 11th September, at the Sacred Heart Church, Timaru, by the Rev. Father Foley, Michael Joseph Wildermoth, to Ellen Mary Pye.

Ellen Mary Pye b. 1867 Devonshire, England
m. Michael Joseph Wildermoth in 1864, Canterbury, N.Z. Children: 7
1.John Layton Wildermoth b. 1888 d. Gallipoli 2 May 1915
2.Joseph Walter Wildermoth b. 1890 - Geraldine Area m. Olive Bonsey
5.Beryl Ellen Mary Wildermoth b. 1907 married in 1939 Charles Trevor Tapp b. 1911
6. Irene Margaret Mary Wildermoth b. 1909 m. Francis Avitus Holley in 1933

Timaru Herald April, 1890. Marriage:
REILLY - SULLIVAN. On April 16th at the Church of Sacred Heart, Timaru, by the Rev. Father Foley, Patrick Reilly, eldest son of Patrick Reilly, Prospect Hall, Co. Waterford, Ireland, to Josephine, youngest daughter of John Sullivan, Birr, King's Co., Ireland.

Timaru Herald September. 1897. Marriage:
GERITY - GREENE. On the 25th August, at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Timaru, by the Rev. Father Lewis, Michael A. Gerity, to Sarah Augusta Greene, both of Timaru.

Timaru Herald 15 Sept. 1900 Marriage:
Allen - Wagner. On August 16th, at the Sacred Heart Church, Timaru, by the Rev. Father Tubman, Cornelius, eldest son of Michael Allen, Timaru, to Honora (Nora)youngest daughter of the late J. Wagner, Rangiora.  

Marlborough Express 16 July 1920 Page 4
MILLIN-BRUNETTI—On June 29 1920 at St. Patrick's Church, Tua Marina, by the Rev. Father Heffman: Lucy, only daughter of Mr and Mrs A. Brunetti, to William George Millin, of Timaru.

Marlborough Express, 20 July 1920, Page 4 BRUNETTI — O'KEEFE
A pretty wedding took place at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Timaru, on Wednesday, June 28, when Mr Louis M. Brunetti, eldest son of Mr and Mrs A. Brunetti, Tua Marina, was married to Mary, eldest daughter of Mrs and the late Mr M. O'Keefe, Rosewill. The Rev. Father Hurley officiated. The bride, who was given away by her uncle, Mr D. O'Keefe, was charmingly attired in ivory crepe de chine with overdress of georgette and pearl trimmings. The veil, beautifully embroidered, was worn mob cap style with orange blossoms. She also earned a shower bouquet of spring- flowers and maidenhair fern. The bridesmaids, Miss Agnes O'Keefe, sister of the bride and Miss Susie Kane, a cousin, wore shell pink crepe de chine frocks and black picture hats, and also carried bouquets. The bridegroom was attended by his brother, Mr P. Brunetti, as best man, and Mr John O'Keefe as groomsman. After the ceremony the guests were entertained by the bride's mother at Hutchison's reception rooms, where the usual toasts were honored. The bridegroom's present to the bride was a gold wristlet watch, and to the bridesmaids a gold brooch and ring respectively. The bride's' present to the bridegroom was a silver tobacco wise and match box. The honeymoon was spent in Dunedin. The bride's travelling costume was of navy serge, fawn hat, with touches of green and black fox furs. The presents were numerous and costly, including many cheques.  

The Harvest: History of the Catholic Church in Timaru 1869-1969, by Barbara Harper. Illustrated. Published Centennial Committee, Timaru, 150 pages with dj, & green cloth, bw photographs. Account of early church in the region, settlement etc. Harper, a local historian, personalises the story around the activities of priests.


THINKING ABOUT HEAVEN - A History of Sacred Heart Parish, Timaru  online pdf
By Sean G Brosnahan, $35  Timaru, [N.Z.] : The Sacred Heart Basilica Centenary Book Committee, 2011.  338 p. : ill. (chiefly col.), maps (some col.) ; 31 cm. Published to coincide with the building's October's centenary celebrations. 500 copies printed,  contains many black and white and colour photographs. 350-page hardback publication. Seven of the books are at the Timaru District Libraries. The book committee had received a substantial donation, which meant it was able to subsidise the selling price.  Includes a detailed account of the basilica's construction. An invaluable read for anyone – Catholic or otherwise – with an interest in Timaru history and the Sacred Heart parish's development over the years.
"Thinking about heaven" - the beginnings of Sacred Heart - "No better neighbours than the Roman Catholics - making progress 1874-1878 - "The Saige o Timaru" - the 1879 Boxing Day Riot -- Labourers of the Lord - the Sacred Heart nuns in Timaru -- Across the road - boys' education at Sacred Heart -- Church politics - of bishops, priests and mixed loyalties -- Towards a new century and a new church - Sacred Heart 1889-1909 -- A treasure for the whole town - building the basilica 1910-1911 -- Treasures and triumphs, trouble and strife 1911-1921 -- A world of our own - parish life 1920-1936 -- The parish network - Catholic life 1936-1945 -- The church triumphant 1945-1962 -- The winds of change - turbulent times in the church 1962-1981 -- The final chapter - Sacred Heart Parish 1981-2011.  In 2015 Sean Brosnahan is curator at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum.

During the long centuries of the most bitter trials, the most extreme poverty and sufferings, the Irish Catholic had but one friend a friend who suffered with him, who consoled him, who stood by his side on the scaffold, and who died with him. That friend was the priest.

When I drive into Timaru from the south and crest the summit just past Kingsdown there is the dome of the Basilica, it suddenly pops into view. It dominates Timaru's southern approaches. There is no other building that comes anywhere near it imposing presence on the townscape.
Even from coastal track around by Moore St. the Basilica stands out.

Sean Brosnahan, was born and brought up in the Sacred Heart Parish, attending all the parish schools. He was Dux and head boy of St Patrick’s [now Roncalli College]. He earned a history degree at Canterbury University and he is the curator at the Settlers Museum in Dunedin and five years ago he wrote the history of the Celtic Rugby Club. Brosnahan traces the parish from its beginnings, when religious feelings ran deep and Catholicism was not well received in Canterbury, through to the present day when Timaru's different faiths are much more ecumenical in outlook. The book examines the factors lying behind a religious riot in Timaru in 1879 when the Irish rivalries between Protestant and Catholic spilled over during an Orange march – an event seen by Catholics at the time as a provocative reminder of the oppression they had suffered back in Ireland. The Orangemen were donning their ceremonial sashes and scarves when they were surrounded by about 150 Catholics determined to prevent the march. Timaru's police inspector, Peter Pender, courageously rode his horse between the two groups. He was supported by police officers on foot and was no doubt relieved when 20 police reinforcements arrived by train from Christchurch (trouble over the march had been anticipated for days). But the relief was short-lived as another train arrived with more than 100 Catholics from Waimate. The Orangemen set off on their march but the "Hibernians" broke into their ranks. The marchers, some of whom drew their ceremonial swords before being quickly quelled by the police, eventually decided to give up the march. But the Protestants were not about to take their "defeat" lightly and soon both sides were planning to bring in reinforcements for another encounter on New Year's Day. Things reached such a pass that a detachment of the Armed Constabulary was sent to Timaru from the North Island and the local military volunteer unit was deployed on nightly guard duty in the town. In addition 300 special constables were sworn in and armed with batons. A huge battle seemed to be looming for New Year's Day. But the parish priest, Father Jean-Baptiste Chataigner, stepped in and at Mass two days after the initial skirmish told his congregation to ignore the Orangemen and indulge in no further confrontations. Consequently a parish meeting was held on December 28 and it was voted overwhelmingly to take no further action. Nevertheless the police were taking no chances and six of the ringleaders from the Boxing Day fracas were arrested on December 30 and placed under armed guard in the Timaru lockup. So New Year's Day 1880 was greeted in Timaru with a vast array of militia in town to keep the warring Green and Orange factions apart. No fewer than 557 soldiers, policemen and special constables were on hand to keep the peace, which they duly did, despite 3000 people staging an impromptu procession to the Caledonian Games, cheering for the Queen and the Orange Lodge along the way. The Catholics, who were much in the minority in Timaru, wisely kept their heads down and fortunately interdenominational relationships gradually healed again over time.


South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project