The Holy Rosary Catholic Parish In Kensington

Holy Rosary Parish Celebrates 100 Years

Close to 500 people gathered to celebrate the 100 Year Jubilee Mass at Holy Rosary, Gower Street on the 11th of October. Past and present parishioners, parish priests, principals, students, teachers and families joined in the mass, which was celebrated by Monsignor Greg Bennet. He was joined by parish priest Hien Vu, as well as former PPs - Max Vodola and Michael Mulcahy. An afternoon tea in the school hall followed; the food was generously – and abundantly

-  donated by local business, Melbourne Chef. This celebration followed on from a dinner held in September and on both occasions, there was a lot of opportunity to reconnect with old faces and remember the contributions of past families to make the strong and vibrant community what it is today.


Prior to 1915, Kensington was a part of the Flemington Parish. The first building – a chapel of ease – was built in 1902 on the corner of Derby and Ormond Street. However the swell in mainly Irish immigrants into the working class area over the next 10 years, saw the need to create a new parish in Kensington. Fr. Aeneas Hennessy was appointed the first parish priest and he worked with a committee to form a parish with a school, hall and presbytery within a year. He had asked the neighbouring Sisters of Mercy to commence educating the children of the parish, the instruction taking place in the church building until property was purchased in Gower Street. The Sisters of Mercy continued to provide the backbone of the staff and the leadership in the school until 2011, when Sr. Kerry Thomas retired as the last ‘religious’ principal.

The readily-identified, neo- Gothic church in Gower Street was built in 1928. It cost 15,500 pounds – an astonishing undertaking given the Depression and the working class neighbourhood. This sum was largely raised a penny at a time by the hard-working and industrious people of Kensington parish. There are many wonderful stories of selfless service and generosity. The church in Derby Street was retained by the Catholic Church and used as a picture theatre until the 1930s.


The 100 year celebrations have been a great opportunity to reflect on the contribution of those who have gone before us.  Their stories of devotion and service provide us with inspiration today. The Holy Rosary community has always been an inclusive one – it provides a place for everyone to belong. Just like the surrounding Kensington community, it is a place that manages to retain a ‘village’ feel in the midst of the hustle and bustle of an inner city suburb.




Celebration Mass with (from left to right)

Fr Hien (current Parish Priest), Fr Michael Mulcahy (past PP)

Monsignor Greg Bennet and Fr Mox Vodola (past PP)


Celebrations in the school hall after the mass.



The Centenary Cake



Past Parish Priest Fr Max cuts the cake with our oldest parishioner

Irene Robbins.