Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

Excursion to Wollombi

Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

Excursion to Wollombi

Article excerpt

Sunday 10 October was a sunny spring day--perfect for the Society's members and friends who set off in a large tourist coach on the annual excursion. Heading north along the Newcastle Freeway, the coach took the Peats Ridge exit to reach the village of Wollombi, which is where the road divides--one section heading to Singleton and the other heading to Maitland. Shortly before reaching Wollombi we passed through Laguna, an area first still remain settled in the late 1820s on land granted to Assistant Surveyor Finch when he was in charge of the construction of the Great North Road. Remnants of this road, built by about 3000 convicts between 1826 and 1834--including stone culverts--still remain, and plaques have been erected to indicate the remaining pieces. One of these plaques is in Wollombi, on the roadside near the Community Hall.

When the coach reached Wollombi there was time to inspect the Catholic Church of St Michael the Archangel while we waited for the arrival of our chaplain, Fr Anthony Robbie, to say Mass. The story of the church was told by Brian McAteer in our last Newsletter and members were now able to see for themselves the 1840 Bishop Polding foundation stone and the 1893 Bishop Murray foundation stone. The little stone church was full for the Mass, our coach load being joined by local Catholics. …

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