Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Gladesville Sign

OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE Catholic Church is located in Gladesville, in Sydney’s northwest. It has partnered together with another parish, St. Charles Borrmeo in Ryde since 2010. Each of these parishes has a strong community spirit, being actively involved in within the parish and in the wider local community.

The church’s history goes back to the days of the convict colony, when many of those deported were Irish – many who had been sent away for political and religious offences. In 1792, there were about Catholic convicts and a few free settlers, but there was no priest or place of worhip. The first official mass was allowed in May 1803, but permission was then withdrawn because the convict priest, Fr. Dixon, had been accused of involvement in a convict uprising at Castle Hill and he was later returned to Ireland. Then in 1817, Father O’Flynn was appointed to the colony. After long delays to his application, he had left London without the British government’s sanction – so he was ordered to leave. Evading the order, Father O’Flynn went underground, spending months ministering to the Catholic until he was also arrested and deported to England. The uproar following this caused the final breakthrough when the governor gave letters of sanction for two priests to come and the Catholic church was founded in Australia finally in 1820.

The church at Gladesville has a connection to this history. After O’Flynn had left for Europe, the bread and wine had been kept in a cedar cuplboard in a private home where people had been meeting in secret and continued to meet. Three crosses were carved from the wood of this cupboard and carefully preserved by the Cavanagh family. One of these crosses is placed in the chapel here where it serves as a reminder of the faith of the first pioneers.

Danthonia’s sign for the church includes a hand sculpted statue and hand carved and gilded text, cross and accents.