St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Temuka is a very substantial building in white stone from the banks of the Opihi River, Kakahu district. It stands on the two acre allotment facing Wilkin Street. For general design and interior decoration, it is one of the most noteworthy churches in Canterbury. On entering, one is vividly struck by the beauty of its stained glass windows, which contain 31 full-size pictures of the greatest saints of the New and of the Old Testament. The building measures 118 feet in length by 43 feet in width and can easily accommodate over 600 persons. It has a square tower, 60 feet in high, surmounted by a spire of the same height making a total height of 120 feet. The tower is thus a landmark in South Canterbury and it can be seen from a distance of 32 miles. In the belfry, there is a first class peal of bells, which have been heard at twelve miles away. Under the belfry there is a beautiful tower clock, from Dent and Co., London, which strikes all the quarters and the hours; the latter, under favourable circumstances of wind, being heard over six miles and the former at four miles. The erection of St Joseph's Church was begun in the year 1879 by Father Louis Fauvel, a French Priest, and the first stone was blessed by his Lordship, Dr. Redwood, on the 16th November, in the same year. The design was based on the parish church of Coutances. The architect of the church was Henry Evans, late of Timaru; the contractors for the stone work, Messrs Riley and Finlay, Christchurch, for the wood work, James Delaney, Timaru, for the internal painting, T. Sullivan, Timaru. The stone used in the building, except that contained in the spire, which is from Oamaru, is Opihi limestone. It was given by Henry Collett and was conveyed to the site (a distance of eleven miles) gratis by the parishioners. James Sullivan, at that time of the Royal Hotel, Timaru, now of Levels Valley, was Father Fauvel's chief assistant and councillor in carrying out the erection of the building. The 1920s Jenkins organ was restored in 1998 by the South Island Organ Company of Washdyke and was the last of its design to be built.
St Josephs Catholic Church 26-28 Wilkin Street, Temuka
NZ Historic Place - Category II Date Registered: 2-Apr-2004 Timaru District Council
Legal Description: Lot 1 DP 51041 CT CB46A/102
Peasant Point, Temuka Catholic churches close
Timaru Herald 18 July 2012
Catholic churches in Temuka and Pleasant Point have become the latest earthquake victims with both churches now closed following engineering reports. The Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, Bishop Barry Jones, after consultation with parish priest Father Brian Fennessy, accepted the structural engineers' recommendations to close the buildings. The St Joseph's Catholic Church in Temuka has had ongoing engineering assessments, particularly after the February 22 earthquake last year. Following a recent review the building was considered to be earthquake prone. Work will begin immediately to remove the spire from the church to lessen the risk of it falling. Sunday Mass will be celebrated at St Joseph's Hall, with weekday Mass continuing at the St Mary MacKillop Chapel. A recent survey of the St Mary's Catholic Church in Pleasant Point confirmed some parts of the building were no longer vertical, compromising its strength. Mass will be celebrated in the adjacent Kerry Hall. Diocesan financial administrator Paddy Beban said the Catholic Diocese had been carrying out engineering assessments of all its churches and schools, starting in the more severe earthquake hit areas of Christchurch and gradually moving further out around the diocese. "This type of engineering assessment is now starting to be carried out in cities across New Zealand in all types of buildings, as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes," he said. Temporary safety fencing will be built around both churches. "The fences will remain in place while more permanent solutions are investigated in association with structural engineers. As the process continues, Bishop Barry Jones has given instruction that the parish be involved and consulted in this process.''
In August 2016 repair work began on St. Joseph. Bricks were removed from the spire, stage 1. The church spire will be replaced with a fibreglass spire which will allow access to the church. No time line. Stage 2 and 3 will be strengthening and repairing the walls. The church has been shut since July 2012.
Timaru Herald 4 December 1879 pg8
The Roman Catholic Church
The ceremony of laying the foundation stone at Temuka was performed on Sunday Nov. 16th by His Lordship the Right Rev. Dr. Redwood, Roman Catholic Bishop of Wellington attended by Fathers Fauvel and Chataigner and lay attendants. Mr James Sullivan arranged a special train, 400 to 500 people. It was the largest congregation that had been seen here since the time of Father Hennebeery's temperance demonstration. The foundation of the church has already been constructed to the height above the ground of about two feet, the site opposite the old church on the other side of the street. After blessing the stone, the Bishop, with a sliver trowel, made a cross on each side of it. Copies of the Timaru Herald, the New Zealand Tablet, and the Temuka Leader, having been put in the cavity beneath the stone, it was lowered, made firm in its proper position. The collection resulted in £180.
New Zealand Tablet, 7 October 1881, Page 20
ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH BELLS.
The bells come from that celebrated foundry, so widely and favourably known, at Meneely, West Troy, New York, established in 1826. The distinguishing characteristics of the bells made at that establishment consist in an unequalled combination of sonorousness and purity of tone, the result of half a century of uninterrupted experience gained in developing the science, and prosecuting the art of bell-making. The material of which the bells are composed is a mixture of pure copper and tin, the superiority of which as a sonorous metal has been demonstrated by centuries of use and experience. The shape of the bells is one of the best we have ever witnessed, and best calculated to give free issue to their sound. The weight of the peal is 2000 1bs., the three bells weighing respectively 1100 lbs., 5501bs., and 3501bs. They were cast to play the three notes of the scale, do, me, sol, and they do it in a perfect manner. Their tone is exceedingly sweet and sonorous, and their sound spreads harmoniously very far off, having been heard at a distance of twelve and a-half miles. There are two inscriptions on each bell : one records the year in which they were cast, as follows —
PONTIFICATE OF LEO XIII.,
RIGHT REVEREND FRANCIS REDWOOD, BISHOP,
REV. L. FAUVEL, PASTOR.
The other expresses the task or duty entrusted to them,
I PRAISE GOD; REJOICE THE LIVING, AND RELIEVE THE DEAD.
Next in importance to the qualities of the bells is the adaption and security of the apparatus with which they are mounted, the construction of which is so well devised as not only to make the bells sound, but effectually to bring out their whole sound with the least labour in ringing. The different parts of this apparatus consists of the yoke, the wheel, the uprights, the frame, the clapper springs, and the tolling hammer. We shall now give a short description of each. The yoke (Meneely's Patent Conical Rotary) is of entirely different construction from the old non-rotary fixture in use twenty years ago, while in one respect to strength, efficiency of operation, and adaption to the end in view, it has advantages possessed by none other. By means of this yoke the bells may be readily turned around, without unhanging it, so as to cause the clapper to strike it in a new place, thus preventing it becoming broken through by long continued ringing in one position, while it also permits of the poise of the bell being adjusted so that it may be swung more or less easily, according to the strength and experience of the ringer. The bells are cast with a truncated cone at their top instead of with loops as formerly, and the yoke being made with a corresponding aperture a socket is formed which gives it a firm seat upon the bell. The uprights on which the bells rest and swing are made of iron, in the shape of the letter A, the bottom of which is strongly bolted down to a hard timber frame. The wheels are made of ash timber, strongly braced ; that of the main bell is 6ft in diameter ; that of the second, 5ft ; and the third 3ft. l0in. Clapper springs are attached to all bells of 1,000 1bs. and upwards. The spring and clapper-clevis are both connected to the centre-bolt which passes up through the top of the bell, and by it the arms of the springs are always held in the path in which the clapper swings, catching it just before it reaches the bell, permitting it to strike with sufficient force, and then holding it away so that the vibration is uninterrupted, and its clattering upon the bell after having struck is avoided. Bells of 4001bs and upwards are furnished with a tolling hammer which is attached to the frame. By it a uniform and full blow may be obtained, and it is also very effective in giving a quick fire-alarm blow. When the bell is rung by the main rope the tolling-hammer cord — if not under the eye of the ringer — is so secured that it may not be thoughtlessly pulled, since the hammer is thus liable to be broken off and even the bell dismounted. The peal of bells in St. Joseph's Church give the greatest satisfaction, and the Roman Catholics of Temuka have every reason to be proud of them. It has been rumoured that Father Fauvel intends to invite his Lordship the Right Rev. Bishop Redwood to come and bless the bells on some future occasion.
New Zealand Tablet, 17 June 1898, Page 27
The opening and consecration of the new convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph at Temuka, was the occasion for one of the largest and most representative gatherings that has probably been witnessed in the district since the opening of the Catholic church. THE CONVENT. The new convent is situated on sections which have frontages on Wilkin street (opposite the Catholic chapel), Denmark, and Studholme streets, Arowhenua, within less than a minute's walk of the railway station, Temuka. It is a substantial building in brick, 40ft square, of two storeys, and all neatly faced with cement, and lined out to represent stone. The roof is of that description known as " hip," with projections supported by cantilever blocks. It is surmounted by a very handsome gilt cross. A very substantial verandah. Oft wide, has been carried along three sides of the building. The windows are those technically known as " twin windows," and of these five open to Wilkin street. Internally, the arrangements appear to be most convenient. On the ground floor there are a reception room, music room, 'the Sister's room," kitchen and scullery. On the upper floor are four large dormitories, and bath room, and in the passages wardrobes and linen closets. Adjoining the main building, and easily accessible from the main hall passage, which is 8ft wide, is the private chapel of the Sisters, the gift of a friend. This is a very well built and well-designed building, 20ft x lift, with octagon end, raised altar floor, leaded windows with Gothic heads, and handsome doorway, also with Gothic head, surmounted by a shield and cross. At the back of the main building, and enclosed within a substantial fence, are a washhouse, coal-shed, and other buildings, all conveniently arranged for their several purposes. At the western end of the north verandah arrangements have been made for a small storeroom adjacent to the kitchen. The kitchen is large and convenient, furnished with cooking range, store, cupboards, shelving, etc. There is a complete hot and cold water supply to the kitchen, bathroom, and scullery. The ordinary water supply is by means of four 400-gallon tanks situated at the rear of the building. The hot-water system is that patented by Mr. J.H. Walker, and it has been found most effective and economical. The refectory, or dining-room, is separated from the music room by a partition moveable at will, and thus a large room can be obtained for occasions of ceremony. The height of rooms throughout is lift. The floors are of 4in tongued-and grooved red pine, and the majority of the fittings, such as wardrobes, etc., are of the same material. The staircase is of easy grade, plainly but substantially finished. The bathroom is sufficiently large as to admit of the storage of any surplus luggage, although this is reduced to a minimum. The dormitories are very plainly furnished for three occupants. There are no carpets, and no extraneous comforts. Everything is of the simplest. The general appearance of the building from the outside is attractive ; internally it conveys the idea of comfort and simplicity. The immediate surroundings are enclosed with a neat fence of wire and standards, and on either side are the boys' and girls' playgrounds.
The old convent buildings have been disposed of, except one portion, which will be added as a class-room to the school. When this is completed there will be every convenience for the conduct of several large classes.
The contractor for the building was Mr. Alex Frew, of Temuka. His work has been so faithfully carried out as to earn the highest praise from all associated with it. He constructed himself the windows, doors, staircase, and principal fittings of the buildings, and has evidently spared no pains to give satisfaction to his employers. Faithful sub-contractors have been Mr. Emil Hall for brickwork, and Messrs. Bates and Co. for painting and plumbing. In connection with the latter firm, Mr. J. H. Walker were employed, and his heating apparatus, as well as other work undertaken by him, having given every satisfaction. The building as a whole was carried out under the immediate supervision of the Rev. Father Fauvel, somewhat on the lines of the convent at Waimate.
New Zealand Tablet, 19 January 1905, Page 5
Timaru (From our own correspondent.) January 16.
The Very Rev. Dean Foley, of Temuka, left for Rotorua on Wednesday last in company with Mr. Jeffries, who has very thoughtfully placed his services at the Dean's disposal. Prior to his departure he was presented with a purse of sovereigns by a deputation consisting of Messrs. P. Wareing, J. Fitzgerald, J.P., John Brosnahan, Jeremiah Brosnahan, D. Enright, W. Tarrant, J.P., W. Jeffries, and Monarty, representing the Temuka, Kerrytown, and Pleasant Point districts. Mr. Wareing, in making the presentation, referred to the zealous labors of the Dean since he came amongst them, the great interest he had shown in the building of the diocesan Cathedral, and hoped that he would come back to them in robust health. In reply the Dean thanked them for their timely gift, the more unexpected as he was comparatively a stranger amongst them. His sincerest prayer was that the good God would give him strength to show by his labor his appreciation of the kindnesses they had showered upon him.
New Zealand Tablet, 11 October 1906, Page 24
The new Catholic presbytery at Temuka was blessed and opened on Sunday, the ceremony being performed by the Ven. Archdeacon Devoy (Provincial) There was an exceptionally large congregation (says the Timaru Herald). The new building which is a handsome and comfortable residence, is built in accordance with the floor area of the old presbytery but a second storey has been added, and this gives it a fine appearance. A fine balcony facing the west runs off from the passage on the second floor, and on each side of the passage are two bedrooms. The ground level surrounding the presbytery has been greatly improved by a three-feet rise, and to obtain this clay and shingle were carted gratuitously by many friends Solemn High Mass was celebrated by the Yen Archdeacon Devoy, Rev. Father Finnerty (Timaru) being deacon, Rev. Father Kerley subdeacon, and the Very Rev. Father Le Menant des Chesnais master of ceremonies. Rev. Father Goggan, parish priest, was also in attendance. A brief sermon on charity was preached by the Very Rev. Father Le Menant des Chesnais.
Subscriptions were then taken up, and the amount received in the church was more than £100. The ceremony of blessing took place after Mass and was .performed by the Ven. Archdeacon Devoy who also delivered a brief address, in the course of which he said the building was a credit to all concerned in its erection for completeness of detail. The local priests and people of the place were to be congratulated on having such a fine presbytery, one especially in keeping with the church and convent He said the late Father Fauvel intended having the work done some time ago when he got an assistant priest Father Fauvel had left £400 which he had collected for the work, but it was left for Father Kerley to see it through, and now there was debt of £600 and he thought this was not much for a Temuka debt ; for in a very short time it would be cleared. He made a special appeal to the younger members of the congregation to wipe off the existing debt as soon as possible, and he thought one and all should be proud to see accomplished what was an urgent necessity from a priest's point of view.
Auckland Star, 5 May 1917, Page 6
The death of Sister M. Raymond, Provincial of the Order of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who was born in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1854, took place yesterday. She joined the Educational Order of the Sisters of St. Joseph in that city, and here entered the Novitiate. After the usual course of training Sister Raymond laboured in the schools of South Australia for some years. In 1883 the late Rev. Father Fauvel, S.M., whilst on a visit to Sydney, heard of the young Australian Order, which was destined to do so much good in the cause of Catholic education, and, becoming deeply interested in the aims and aspirations of this young order, approached the foundress, the late venerated Mother Mary of the Cross, with a view to secure a community of Sisters for New Zealand. As the result of this interview a little band of Sisters, among whom was Sister M. Raymond, arrived in April, 1883, at Temuka where was established the first convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph in New Zealand. After labouring zealously for a number of years. Sister Raymond was in 1897 appointed Provincial. Later she was transferred to St. Benedict's Convent, Auckland, where for the past 16 years she laboured untiringly in the interests of Catholic education. A requiem mass will be held at St. Benedict's at 10 a.m. on Tuesday next. The funeral will take place immediately afterwards.
The building was completed in the early part of 1881 and opened by Bishop Redwood, assisted by Bishop Luck, in April 1882. The presbytery, standing to the right of the church, is a solid and large building, 40 feet square, and was erected in 1898 and stands on a 3 acre freehold allotment, on the opposite side of Wilkin Street, where there is also the old church, a wooden building, which is now used as a schoolroom. Reference: Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Canterbury edition. 1903
These limestone blocks were hewn at Upper Waitohi on the property of Mr Henry Collett (1831-1902) who gave the stone gratis. Parishioners carted this stone fourteen miles (36km) with their horses and drays as their contribution to the cost of the structure. The spire rises to a height of 102ft. Before trees obscured the view the tower was visible from a distance of thirty two miles. The set of bells were cast in New York in 1881. The bell ropes have not been swung on regularly for years because when the big bells ring the building shakes. The bell tower needs strengthening. The smaller bells, controlled by electricity, still ring out every Sunday. The first Roman Catholic priest in the area was Father Chataigner who took up residence in Timaru about 1869. He first built a church west of Wilkin St. In 1884 Father Keane took over the Geraldine area. Reference: Daybreak by A.J. Davey. Their pipe organ was built by E.H. Jenkins in 1920.
A gallery of religious art.
A 2L set of 16 stained glass windows came from the factory of George Dufétre, of Lyons, France, in 1883 and these incorporated the names of those benefactors who gave to the church building. The names on the windows include: Mrs R. Hoare, Mrs J. Fitzgerald, Mrs. M. Gaffaney, Richard Hoare, Dennis Hoare, John Fitzgerald, William Fitzgerald and Simon Coughlan. On each side wall are six double-light windows, 12ft. high and 4ft. wide; a similar one on each side of the entrance in the west wall, and in the east wall a considerably larger window of three lights is a splendid specimen of the glass painter's art.
New Zealand Tablet, 17 September 1903, Page 5
In carrying out the expressed desire of the late Mr. Quinn an iron arch and lamp have been erected over the gateway of St. Joseph's Church, Temuka, the cost being borne by the estate of the deceased gentleman.
New Zealand Tablet, 19 January 1905, Page 5
The Very Rev. Dean Foley, of Temuka, left for Rotorua on Wednesday last in company with Mr. Jeffries, who has very thoughtfully placed his services at the Dean's disposal. Prior to his departure he was presented with a purse of sovereigns by a deputation consisting of Messrs. P. Wareing, J. Fitzgerald, J.P., John Brosnahan, Jeremiah Brosnahan, D. Enright, W. Tarrant, J.P., W. Jeffries, and Moriarty, representing the Temuka, Kerrytown, and Pleasant Point districts.
Auckland Star, 11 February 1935, Page 17 MARIST FATHERS. APPOINTMENTS ANNOUNCED.
The following transfers and appointments amongst the Marist Fathers are announced:
Father Seymour (Wanganui) to Timaru; Father Kerley (Timaru) to Mount Albert, Auckland; Father Vibaud (Temuka) to St. Mary's, Christchurch; Father Devoy (Wairoa) to Temuka; Father George to Temuka.
In March 2005 the parishes of St Joseph’s Temuka and Immaculate Conception, Geraldine recently bade “farewell” to their parish priest, Fr Geoff Gray, who has been transferred to the parish of St Joseph, Timaru North, vacated by Fr Steve Lowe, who has been seconded to work in the National Seminary.
Blessed Mary MacKillop co founder of the
sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the eldest of eight children, was
born in Melbourne on January 15, 1842 to Scottish immigrants Flora and
Alexander. She was educated by her father and spent time in Rome studying. In
1866, at the age of 24, she founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart
in Australia, with the aim to serve the needs of struggling members of society. At the request of Fr. Fauvel A.M.
Mary sent her sisters to Temuka in 1883 to start their first school in New
Zealand. Blessed Mary visited Temuka four times -1894 1897 1900 and 1902,
travelling throughout the country including visits to Kerrytown, Fairlie and
Waimate. She died in Sydney in 1909. The
parishioners of St. Joseph parish installed this window to honour the memory of
Blessed Mary Mackillop and to commemorate her beatification in Sydney on January
19th 1995. This window was blessed by Bishop Basil Meeking on December 18th
1994. Reference: Plaque inside the church entry, below the 1994 window.
She was declared a saint in 17 Oct. 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. The process for
her canonisation began in 1926, before being suspended in 1931 and resumed in
1951. Once the process is complete, she will be known as Saint Mary of the Cross
and will be Australia's first saint. MacKillop, passed the first stage to
sainthood when Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1995 after recognising a first
miracle attributed to her, in which a woman was said to have been cured of
terminal leukaemia. In December, 2009 the Pope recognised a final miracle - the
last hurdle for her canonisation - in which a woman's cancer cure was attributed
Her brother, John MacKillop, age 22
was buried in the Barbadoes St
Cemetery, Christchurch in 1867, he fell from a horse. (contacted tetanus) "Safe is he whom
God doth keep, sweet his wakening, soft his sleep’.
Podcast. The Sisters of St.
Joseph have convents and schools at Temuka, Kerrytown, and Waimate in the
diocese of Christchurch.
Death registered as 1867/7710 McKillop John 22Y Died 16th Dec. 1867
Lyttelton Times, 18 December 1867, Page 2 Death McKillop—Dec. 16, at Christchurch, John McKillop, of Melbourne, aged 22 years.
"Trust in God," it says on the polished stone, and along
its side: "Remember we are but travellers here."
They're the words of Mary MacKillop inscribed on her 1909 tomb in a Mount Street North Sydney chapel.
Wanganui Chronicle, 22 January 1875, Page 2
The St. Osyth, named after a Saxon saint of that name, daughter of the first Christian King of East Anglia, carried out a number of nuns and sisters of mercy. For South Australia she took, under the charge of Sister Mary of the Cross — a daughter of the late Alexander Mackillop, Esq., of Melbourne — fifteen postulates. There were also three Dominican nuns for the same colony, and three "good shepherds" for Melbourne. An ecclesiastical student also formed one of the party. Two priests were on board ; one, the Rev. M. Murray, of the county Kilkenny, will join his uncle the Bishop of Maitland ; the other, Father Murtagh, has had considerable experience in missionary work in Canada, his new field of labour being within, the district of Dr. Quin, the Bishop of Bathurst.
2008. Jubilee. In 1883, the first school consisted of three classrooms and was initially used as the first Catholic Church, St Josephs, of Temuka. In 1914, a brick building of four classrooms was erected and for 62 years served the area until it was demolished in 1976, before this occurred the current building was being erected to the west of it. For over 90 years, the sisters of St Joseph staffed and ran the school until the first lay teacher was appointed in 1972. In 2009 across from St. Joseph is St Joseph's Catholic Primary School. The annual Temuka and Districts Horticultural Society show is held in early February at the Parish Hall of St Josephs has been held for nearly forty years. The show is free both to enter and for the public to view.
Cahill, Patrick Power. St. Joseph's Parish Temuka, South Canterbury 1876-1951, Being an Account of Seventy-Five Years' Development in the Parish. Dunedin: N.Z. Tablet Ptg & Publg Co, . 94 pages Being an Account ..
Healy, J. F. Reaching Out: St Joseph's Parish Temuka - 1876-1976. Temuka: St Joseph's Parish Jubilee Committee, 1976. A brief institutional account with many references to buildings. pamphlet
Hempseed, B. W. The Saints of Temuka: stained glass windows at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church, Temuka. Acorn Print, 2010 - 42 pages.
Gilroy, Ann L. Sustaining the Vision From Adelaide to Temuka: A Josephite Community Is Founded in New Zealand in 1883. Communities of Women: Historical Perspectives. Editors Barbara Brookes, and Dorothy Page, 81-97. Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 2003. This is one of Mary McKillop's Josephite Sisters' foundations, stimulated by an invitation from Louis Fauvel, parish priest of Temuka. McKillop sought to ensure that the Wangnaui Joephites (who had split from her order) who were in the same Diocese of Wellington, would not undermine her control. The group was led by Calasanctius Howley.
Strevens Diane MacKillop Women. The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart Aotearoa New Zealand 1883-2006. In 1883 three young Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart arrived in Temuka, South Canterbury, to teach in the parish school. One hundred years later, the Sisters of St Joseph - affectionately known as the ‘Brown Joes’ - were teaching in Catholic primary and secondary schools from Panguru in the north to Balclutha in the south. This is their story. 2010.
To the left of the church, outside, is the location of the honour boards for World War One and Two.
These plaques were originally inside the church but were subsequently transferred to a small building next to the church.