By Michael Crutcher
NANANGO’S “little cathedral in the bush” has celebrated its centenary, relishing the good weather that deserted the town on the same day in 1917.
Under clear skies, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge blessed a centenary plaque which was mounted on the right-hand side of Our Lady Help of Christian’s main entrance.
On the left-hand side stands the plaque from the blessing of the foundation stone in 1917 – a ceremony delayed about six hours because of unseasonal rain.
The celebrations come amid a bunch of centenaries for the Catholic Church in the South Burnett.
Liz Caffery’s book on this history of the Nanango church – The Little Cathedral in the Bush – notes new churches at Blackbutt, Wooroolin and Wondai (all 1913), Murgon (1918), Kumbia (1919), Goomeri (1920) and Yarraman (1921) during a prolific time.
Other centenaries are being prepared as the local Catholic community celebrates a history that was entwined with the First World War.
“It was a wonderful weekend in Nanango – a true celebration of a Catholic community and what it means for a town,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“I had great interest in the stories about Nanango and it was clear from the return of many former residents that the Catholic community held a special place for them.”
Some of the familiar faces included former assistant priest Fr Dave O’Connor – an accomplished horse rider who became popular helping parishioners on their properties.
Fr O’Connor also filled the role as clerk of the course at Nanango’s race meetings.
Parish administrator Fr Stephen Camiolo thanked the Nanango community for their work in preparing the centenary celebrations, which included a picnic in the church grounds.
Archbishop Coleridge launched Mrs Caffery’s book before the unveiling of the centenary plaque.