In This Section

Later this week, 24 March 2013, we will have a collection of photos from some of these memories for you to view on our website.  Watch for them on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Our seventh précis   Thanks Tanya

Memories from the O'Keefe, Ryan and Roberts Families

My Great-grandparents were David Ryan and Maureen (May) who were married in St James Parish in 1917 (before this church was built!).  May was a remarkable woman who travelled from Ireland on her own as a young woman.  Gradually, she sponsored some of her brothers and sisters who also became part of this parish.  David and May lived in Coorparoo / Stones Corner and May went to Mass every morning until her death in 1979.  And each morning she always sat in the same spot.

They had three children - Philomena (Maureen), Eileen (Joan) and William.  All three children went to school, celebrated Communion and were married in the church at St James.  My Grandmother Maureen talks of her brother Billy and his wife Margaret's wedding.  The Irish band of which he was a piper marched outside the church in 1954.

My Grandmother Philomena married her husband Thomas Roberts at St James in 1940.  As a policeman, my Grandfather was stationed in Hungerford for a time and so their three daughters (Pam Robyn and Pieta) came to live with May at Stones Corner and attended St James School before going on to All Hallows (Pam) and Lourdes Hill (Robyn and Pieta).  Years later, I would follow in my Mother Pieta's footsteps and attend Lourdes Hill as a boarder.  During my first year at Lourdes Hill, a smal, but spritely, nun came and presented me with a baby picture of myself!  As fate would have it, within the College was a retirement home for the sisters.  Sister Mary Justina was my Mother's first teacher at St James School.  Pam also joined the Children of Mary and still has her sash.

My Mother Pieta was married at St James in 1968 and Billy's son Terence married here in 1990.  My sister Vada was married at St James in August last year, 2012, making her the fourth generation to be married in the parish (and third in the church.

We hope many memories were recounted at the Centenary and some more made.

(Tanya Edbrooke wrote this memory on behalf of her family.)

Our sixth précis   Thanks Mary

Memories from Mary Muldoon

The O’Gormans were original members of Coorparoo in 1885.  Michael and Margaret O’Gorman and first son John migrated to Brisbane from County Galway in 1863.  At first they lived in Kangaroo Point, but moved to St Leonards estate in Barnes Avenue, Coorparoo.  They eventually had 12 children. M argaret and Michael lived in Barnes Ave till they died (buried at Dutton Park cemetery).

My mother (Isabel O’Gorman, the youngest) worked a shop assistant after leaving the Convent.  She married Francis Evans in St James Church (1920) and lived in no.22 Barnes Ave.

I was born in 1925 and lived there till 1948.  I went to the primary school and also went to Lourdes Hill College.

Our fifth Centenary précis    Thanks Sr Katie

Memories from Sr Kathleen Lee sgs

On my arrival as a member of the Good Samaritan Convent in 2002, Fr Brendan Quirke OSA invited me to be involved in some Parish activities even though I was not appointed as Pastoral Associate.  Fr Brendan, being an opportunist, introduced me to many varied and colourful opportunities for ministry in this very vibrant parish.

My main contribution was Education in Faith of Adults bringing four ladies into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Over the four years I initiated four ladies into the teachings of the Church.  They received the sacraments and became active members.

I facilitated the Sacramental program for four years. This was a parent-based program and as the

numbers grew we were able to adapt the diocesan program to suit the needs of our participants.

As a member of the Parish Council for two years, one year as Secretary, I was involved in many social justice issues of the Deanery including outreach to refugees.  In true Augustinian spirit, many generous ladies and men gave hours of their time in decorating the hall and preparing the meals for all occasions.  On the Saturday night of the Brisbane River Festival in 2003, we provided hot soup in Styrofoam cups for the many parishioners who wanted to stay after evening Mass to view the river fireworks from the vantage point of the front steps of the church

These events were very rich experiences for the Parish Community helping to build up a wonderful

community spirit of hospitality – one of the charisms of the Augustinian Order of priests.

I loved my years at St James Parish Coorparoo, and made many friends over the six years there.

Our fourth Centenary précis    Thanks Reg

Memories from Reg Chapman:

The Martinson family lived in Ellis Street, Stones Corner in 1914.  One son, Martin William Martinson, joined the AIF in 1916.  Parish priest Jeremiah O’Leary officiated at the marriage of another son, Alfred Joseph Martinson to Eileen Emma Scanlan in the St James Church/School on 27 May 1922.  Alfred and Eileen had two daughters, Merle and Beryl.  Merle was baptized in the old church (Beryl in the current church) by Dean O’Leary and both girls attended St James School.  During this time, both were taught music by the Good Samaritan Sisters (Merle piano, Beryl violin) at the convent “Langlands”, which is now part of the Villanova Complex.  Merle played the church harmonium for Masses, weddings etc from the age of twelve years.

The Rev Fr Doyle has been previously mentioned as a curate, but he was also the chief bowler and fieldsman for the St James lunchtime cricket team.  During one session, student Daphne Pritchard smashed a “Doyle delivery” up and onto the back verandah of the old school and into Sister Leo’s cup of tea.  Like Queen Victoria, Leo was not amused.  Incidentally, “Pritch” went on to play for Australia in the Ladies Vigoro Team.  Perhaps she became the first national sports rep. produced from the parish.

Reg Chapman (ex RAAF) from Ayr, Nth Qld, married Merle Martinson on Saturday, 17 January 1948 at St James, at an 8am Nuptial Mass.  Fasting was required in those days, but tea and sandwiches were served to the bridal party in the sacristy after Mass.  The rest of the congregation went hungry.  The officiating priest was Rev Fr Vince Kiley (curate).

The Augustinians arrived in 1952 with Rev Fr Hunt as leader.  One of his decisions was to have the church aisle laid with shiny new linoleum.  Imagine his horror when it became obvious the stiletto heels of the female parishioners’ shoes were making an unwelcome impression.  “Tippy toe” became the order of the day!

Merle passed away in 2007 and Remembrance Masses continue to be celebrated in the parish.  Reg and daughter Michelle are present day parishioners.  Michelle is a member of the St James Parish Pastoral Council and the Friends of St Augustine.

Our third Centenary précis    Thanks Bernie

Memories from Bernie Rush:

Our family arrived in Coorparoo Parish (Rialto St) in 1927, the year of my birth.  My four siblings were:  Joe who was at St James School 1927-32;  Win and Syd, twins, who were at St James School 1927-1933 (Win is 92 on 30.03.2013); and I was the youngest.  We all attended St James School until Grade 7 (Scholarship).  We had wonderful Good Sam Nuns as teachers.  Their Convent was where Villanova College now stands.  The nuns would walk each morning, two at a time, from the Convent to our school.  We always had a “lookout” at Kirkland Ave to let us know when they were arriving.  We would all be “angels” when they arrived!

My first day at school was noteworthy as my sister Win was brought down with her twin Syd from Grade 7 to make me let go of the post underneath the school.  Our Music Teacher, Sr Mary Leo (a lovely nun) and Father Doyle would take us for Sport.  When I went to Confession, Fr Doyle (after giving Penance) would say,  “Bernie, don’t forget cricket tomorrow!”  He was a wonderful Priest.

One story I remember bears repeating.  Jim Donnely and I had served at Benediction on the Sunday night.  We were both great mates and  after serving, went down to the Kirkland Ave tram stop.  We would pretend to want to catch the tram so that the tram would have to stop.  We did not know that Constable Osborne was on the tram    When we saw him and the tram had stopped, he jumped off the tram and chased us up Kirkland Ave!  We turned into the back of the School, thinking we could outrun him.  What we didn’t know was that the two ant-bed tennis courts (at the back of the School) had been dug into trenches for air-raid precautions, in case the Japanese bombed Brisbane.  Guess what?  Jimmy and I both fell into the slit trenches!  What made matters worse was that Jimmy’s father was a police sergeant and my father had helped dig the trenches that very day.  What a night   how could we ever forget it?  I was best man at Jim’s wedding but Jim is no longer with us.  It was a wonderful School and Church Hall which had an enclosed picture theatre, monthly dances after YCW and NCGM meetings and best of all, many beautiful memories of teenage years well spent and never forgotten.

Our second Centenary précis    Thanks Phil and Lawrence

Memories from Mary Rowley:

My mother Rose McMahon, was born in 1898 and the McMahon family moved to 87 Pembroke Rd just three or four years later.  The children were educated at St Stephen’s school in the city, often walking the distance one way to save the 1d tram fare.  However, St James School was established by the time Rose was mid-teens.  She was able to complete four years pupil-teacher training under the supervision of the good nuns at the school. 

Father O’Leary, who became well-known to the McMahon family, was appointed Parish Priest on 17th March 1913.  I remember him as an older man some thirty to forty years later.  The McMahon family were very involved in the life of the Church;  the men joined the Holy Name Society;  and the women were Children of Mary and Legion of Mary members.

My story began in 1946 when I stayed for two weeks in November to be part of the Confirmation class the Sisters at the School were conducting at that time.  During my time as a boarder at St Rita’s Clayfield from 1948 to 1951, I was also part of the congregation at St James for Mass every first Sunday of the month.  My aunt Kathleen (known as Kit or Kitty) had been a daily Mass goer for many years at St James. 

1952 saw the arrival of the Augustinian priests in the parish.  I certainly recall Fr Thomas Hunt because of the close friendship the McMahon family enjoyed with him.  I do remember my Aunty Kit arriving at St James at 5.30am for 6am Mass.  At times, the priest did not appear by 5.50am, so Aunty Kit took it upon herself to “rattle him up”!

September 12th 1959 was the day my husband Patrick and myself married in St Peter’s, Caboolture.  Father Hunt drove to Caboolture to celebrate the Nuptial Mass, and indeed , also drove Mark and Anthony (my uncles) and Aunty Kit to the wedding as well.  My strong connection with St James lasted until 1976 when Aunty Kit was called to her heavenly reward.  She was buried from St James in late January 1976.

Every good wish and rich blessings to you all at St James for your coming celebrations.

(Mary Rowley is a niece of original parishioner Kathleen McMahon.)




Our first Centenary précis    Thanks Phil and Lawrence

Memories from Lawrence Cusack:

Soon after I was born in January 1933, my parents, Larry and Win Cusack, took up residence at Coorparoo.  My father and Fr Martin Doyle, the Curate to Dean O’Leary PP, were classmates and very firm friends at Nudgee College.

I commenced school at St James Parish School in 1938.  The Prep Class teacher was Sister Saint Roch. She and St Benignus, the Principal, are the only two I remember.  School was conducted in a timber building on the western corner of the Parish Property.   I think our classroom was on the ground floor. I don’t remember walking up any stairs.

The playground was unsealed earth and I recall skinned knees on several occasions.  Tony and Margaret Murphy and Marie O’Shea are the only pupils I remember.  Margaret Murphy and I were in class together.

In May 1939, I received my First Communion.

We lived in Rees Avenue and I walked home from school.  I recall passing a Pottery Works which was probably on the corner of  Nicklin Street.

I spent only until the end of Year One at St James School, as we moved to Ascot in 1940.

(Lawrence Cusack is the older brother of Phil van Brunschot.)