history of the Burrawang Catholic Church prepared for its Centenary
in 1969 by J. McGrath
The Burrawang Catholic Church is the original building, after two
acres of ground were purchased at 20 pounds per acre. The ground
was cleared by Catholics and non-Catholics at night working by bonfire
light after working on their own settlements during the day. What
a great neighbourly spirit existed between these early settlers.
After enough ground was cleared, Allen and Lawler built the church
at a cost of Two Hundred and Eighty Pounds. The timber was milled
below the park at Burrawang by the late C. Moule. The shingles were
split by the champion shingle splitter of the day, Ned Moses and
the windows had shutters on them.
The church was still in the Berrima Parish and horse-drawn vehicles
were the order of the day. I have seen some thirty horses in the
churchyard on a Sunday morning and the church would be packed with
Reverend Father McQueen, who must have lived much of his life in
the saddle, would pack two saddle bags and set out on horseback
to offer Mass around the district at Moss Vale, Burrawang, Robertson,
Kangaloon, Mittagong and Bowral. The trip took over three weeks
and we had Mass once a month as there were no other churches built
at other centres until well into 1880. What a self-sacrificing priest
People cherished their Christian teachings in those days. What with
11 a.m. Mass, a long sermon and fasting from the night before, some
people who lived a distance from the church would not get a meal
before 2.30p.m. I have heard on many occasions of men walking 10
miles thought the bush from Fitzroy falls to Berrima to Mass. The
writer's grandmother took her infant son 16 miles on horseback to
Berrima to be christened.
As well as attending to the spiritual side of things these great
people fought for other advantages. In 1884 the late Mr. Elliot
Harrington conducted the first youth movement in Burrawang. The
young people marched down the street with tallow lamps on sticks.
The first Brass Band was formed in 1877 and both of these organisations
were the first of their kind outside the metropolitan area. The
first Veterinary Surgeon to the district was Mr. Battyre.
researching the Robertson Community.