Tuesday, 23 October 2018

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES Building a grand Carmelite hall in Middle Park at war’s end VAL NOONE

Centenary of laying of foundation stone for Carmelite Hall, 24 November 1918

Building a grand Carmelite hall
in Middle Park at war’s end

Dr Val Noone

Carmelite Hall, 7 October 2018

1. At a building site on Sunday 24 November 1918
2. Middle Park: a new and mixed suburb
3. Prior Kindelan and parishioners at war’s end
4. On being Australian Irish Catholics
5. After the war: thriving parish in an economic depression
Conclusion: respect for elders


Press reports of laying of foundation stone,
Sunday 24 November 1918

Tribune, 28 November 1918, p 3.

New Carmelite Hall. Blessing ceremony
 at Middle Park. Over 5000 people present

A fine hall and club rooms in course of erection in Richardson Street, Middle Park, will complete a magnificent pile of Catholic buildings in the parish of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, and the work accomplished is highly creditable to the Very Rev Prior Kindelan OCC, and parishioners. The new building faces Neville Street. It is brick of two storeys, and will cost about £7000. The spacious hall will accommodate from 900 to 1000 people, and dressing and meetings rooms, a kitchen and supper room, and a large stage are provided. A billiard room, reading room and other general conveniences will be on the top floor, and the hall and rooms will be roomy, well lighted and excellently ventilated, Mr A A Fritsch is the architect, and Mr Farr the contractor. Good progress has been made with the building, which will be very serviceable in the development of parochial activities.

On Sunday afternoon his Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Rev Dr Mannix blessed and laid the foundation stone of the hall and club rooms, and in the ceremony he was assisted by the Very Rev. Prior Kindelan OCC [Carmelites of the Ancient Observance, these days, O. Carm]; the Very Rev Prior Scanlan OCC. Rev R Collins PP; Rev J Byrne, PP; Rev. F. A. Merner, PP; Rev. W. Ganly, Rev, P. Wade, OCC.; Rev. P. O’Dwyer, OCC; and Rev. P A Maher, OCC. A guard of honour for his Grace was provided but the HACBS, INF and CYMS. During the afternoon the St. Vincent de Paul’s Band, under Mr Oppenheim, played selections.

Speeches in the grounds

Subsequently addresses were delivered in the grounds, and over 5000 people were present. The crowd stretched across the roadway, and his Grace the Archbishop was given a great reception. The platform was well set out, and a gay display of bunting was made, prominence being given to ‘the banner of green.’ His Grace and the clergy took their seats on the platform to the accompaniment of loud applause. Very Rev Prior Kindelan said he was delighted to see such a large gathering, and he desired to extend a very cordial welcome to his Grace the Archbishop. (Applause). The hall and club-rooms would mean a great adjunct to the parish and supply a long-felt need. He was pleased to say that the project was taken up enthusiastically by the parishioners. It meant that in having a hall they would not need to look elsewhere for buildings to hold parish entertainments in the future. (Applause). The club-rooms would provide various forms of amusement for the young men, and in every way the Building wound serve a very useful purpose. (Applause). The presence of his Grace would make them all the more determined to carry out their undertaking. (Applause). Already the Archbishop had taken part in two other functions, and he was always ready to assist every deserving cause. (Applause). On behalf of the large and enthusiastic gathering it gave him very great pleasure to welcome his Grace the Archbishop. (Applause). 

Mr Clarebrough in moving that a subscription list be opened, said that the hall would be replete with convenience, and would be a great boon, especially to the young men, for whom opportunities should be provided to meet for social intercourse and healthy amusement. He regarded a hali as a great blessing and benefit to any parish. (Applause). The hall would accommodate close on a thousand people, and the rooms would be made as comfortable as possible. He thought the whole parish was to be congratulated on making provision for such a fine building. (Applause). They should contribute generously for the reason that the building would serve a useful purpose, and as an act of thanksgiving to Almighty God for the termination of the war! (Applause.)

There was a further inducement to give in memory of the brave men who had fallen ar the front. He hoped a record would be established in the matter of generous giving. (Applause). Since he had come amongst them, the Very Rev Prior Kindelan had done great work, and if they gave generously, it would be a practical expression of their appreciation of Prior Kindelan’s labours. (Applause). The appeal was worthy of their best support. (Applause).

Mr C. Bradley seconded the motion, and said a hall was very desirable for the parish. The use of certain public halls had been refused to his Grace by bigoted people, but that slight could not be put upon his Grace at Middle Park when the parish hall was completed. (Applause). They were greatly indebted to his Grace for his presence, and he trusted their appreciation would take practical form by a large subscription list. (Applause). The Very Rev. Prior Kindelan, in a characteristic speech, supported the motion, which was unanimously carried. 

The collection was generously responded to, and Prior Kindelan read the subscription list, including the following: His Grace the Archbishop, £20; Carmelite Fathers, Middle Park, £50; Carmelite Fathers, Port Melbourne, £5/5/-: Very Rev W Quilter, £5/5/-; Rev Fr Ganly £5/5/-; Rev R Collins, £5/5/-: Rev Fr Merner, £2/2/-; Rev J Byrne, £5; Sacred Heart Sodality (Women’s Branch) £52/10/-; Altar Society, £50: C.Y.M.S. (Middle Park), £10/10/-; Children of Mary, £10/10/-; Sacred Heart Sodality (Men’s Branch), £7/7/-; and, Carmelite Altar Boys £5/5/-.

His Grace the Archbishop, who was received with great enthusiasm said the hall in course of erection was worthy of the parish, and he felt sure it would be used for very good purposes. The war was at an end, and there was a prospect of abiding peace coming to the world after four years of terrible strife. His Grace enlarged upon this theme, and gave examples, showing the changeableness of public opinion. The speech was heartily applauded throughout.

Vote of thanks

In moving a vote of thanks to his Grace the Archbishop, Mr McCarthy said that priests and people were united in the closest ties of affection. His Grace the Archbishop had the welfare of the community at heart, and all right-thinking people respected and admired him. (Applause). The Collins street daisies and a coterie of nobodies could hurl insults at his Grace, but they could not alienate the affections of the people, who had practical experience of the great sympathy of the Archbishop towards the workers. (Applause). His Grace had done much for Australia, and deserved the warm place he occupied in the hearts of the people. (Applause) Mr O’Brien seconded, and said they were all delighted to have the Archbishop with them. 

Prior Kindelan supported the motion, which was carried amidst applause. His Grace on leaving the grounds was cheered to the echo. Ω 

Advocate, 30 November 1918, p 10.

New Carmelite Parish Hall, Middle Park. Foundation Stone Laid
by the Archbishop. Attendance estimated at 5000

Progress is the watchword of the Very Rev Prior Kindelan, OCC, in his flourishing parish of Middle Park, as it is of the Hierarchy and clergy in Victoria and the other States of the Commonwealth. On last Sunday afternoon the coping-stone was placed on the equipment of the parish, when his Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne (the Most Rev. Dr. Mannix) blessed and laid the foundation-stone of what will be, at completion, one of the finest parish halls in and around Melbourne. With a venturesome trust in the bank that has never yet been known to fail — that of Faith, Hope, and, Charity — Prior Kindelan has signed a contract for £7000, and this substantial sum does not include furnishing and fitting of the building, which will fully meet the intellectual and social wants of the parish for many a year to come. Settlement is rapidly increasing in Middle Park, and Prior Kindelan is justified in building on a generous scale. The hall will accommodate some 1000 people. It will be furnished on up-to-date lines. There will be a spacious gallery, and provision will be made for giving dramatic performances, concerts, etc. There will be billiard-rooms, spacious stage, a number of dressing rooms, large supper-room, kitchen, etc. The building will extend from Richardson Street to Neville Street. The architect is Mr A pz Fritsch, ARVIA, and the contractor is Mr Farr. 

Laying the foundation stone

An enormous assemblage, estimated at 5000, overflowed the grounds, roadway, and pathway, and his Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne (the Most Rev. Dr. Mannix) was accorded a most enthusiastic reception. The most rev. prelate was received by the Very Rev. Prior J. A. Kindelan, OCC., and amongst those also present were the Rev P Wade, OCC, and Rev P O’Dwyer, OCC (Middle Park), the Very Rev Prior Scanlan, OCC, and the Rev P A Maher, OCC. (Port Melbourne), the Rev R Collins, PP (South Melbourne) , the Rev T Byrne, PP. (St Kilda West), the Rev F A Merner (Dandenong), the Rev William Ganly, the Rev Brother Aylward, and others. The members of the HACB Society and the INF formed a guard of honour, and the St Vincent de Paul Boys’ Orphanage Band, under Bandmaster G. Oppenheim, played inspiriting music. 

His Grace having robed, for the ceremony, a procession of the Archbishop, clergy, and altar attendants, headed by the cross-bearer, proceeded to the front of the building, the walls of which are already up to a good height. The Archbishop blessed the stone, which was then placed in position, the most rev. prelate declaring it ‘well and truly laid.’

The speeches

Subsequently, the Archbishop, clergy, and others proceeded to an improvised platform, which had been gaily decorated with flags of all nations. It was an ideal day for an outdoor ceremony—a warm sun, tempered by a cool southerly. Each and every one seemed to be in the best of humour, and the pleasant sallies of the Prior, as he put forth his appeal for the building fund, elicited unfeigned merriment, in which his Grace the Archbishop, heartily joined. 

Prior Kindelan OCC welcomes the Archbishop 

The Very Rev. Prior Kindelan, OCC. who was cordially received, said he was glad to see such a huge gathering, not only of the people of Middle, Park, but of Port Melbourne, South Melbourne, St. Kilda, and the city of Melbourne, come to do honour to their great Archbishop — (cheers) — and to lend a helping hand in meeting the cost of the parish hall now in course of erection. (Applause.) They were all pleased and delighted to have his Grace the Archbishop with them that afternoon to help them in a work which was very near and dear to, the people of Middle Park. (Applause.) They were indebted to Fr. Collins, of South Melbourne, for much kindness and assistance. (Applause.) He had helped them to obviate the difficulties arising from the want of a suitable parish hail. They were now engaged in erecting a hall that would be suitable in every way, and which would supply a long-felt want. The literary and social requirements of the parishioners would be fully provided for in the new hall. (Applause.) That was, indeed, a red-letter day in Middle Park, and the presence of his Grace the Archbishop would act as a stimulus, and would encourage them to help along the work with enthusiasm. (Applause.) 

Subscription list opened.
Generous response

Mr. Clareborough, in moving that a subscription list be now opened, said that they were all proud and delighted to have his Grace the Archbishop with them that afternoon, to bless and lay the foundation-stone of their new parish hall. (Applause.) The building would be a splendid asset for the parishioners, and especially for the young men. (Applause.) Without a suitable hall, where they could assemble for social and intellectual purposes, the Catholic young men could not associate to the best advantage. Here the men, young and old, could assemble, and they would be provided with every facility for recreation of mind and body. There would be reading-rooms, clubrooms etc., and when that splendid building was completed it would be a credit to the district. (Applause.) He would ask all present to be as generous as their means would allow. By subscribing, they would be helping a great and noble work, availing themselves of the opportunity to thank God for the cessation of hostilities, and expressing their gratitude at the return, of the Anzacs. (Applause.) They owed a deep debt of gratitude to Prior, Kindelan who, in the course of a few years, had done splendid work in the parish for religious education, and for the other wants of the people. (Applause.)

Mr. C. Bradley, in seconding the proposition, said he hoped that all would give generously towards the cost of the hall, which would be the best reply to those sectarians who would shut the public halls to Catholics because of the presence of his Grace Archbishop Mannix. They would, he felt confident, give with large and generous hearts, as a proof of their loyalty to his Grace the Archbishop, and to help a worthy cause. (Applause.) 

Prior Kindelan having supported the motion, the collectors went amongst the people, and a very generous response was made. Amongst the lengthy list of subscriptions read out by the Prior were: — The Archbishop, £20; Carmelite Fathers (Middle Park), £50; Sacred Heart Sodality (women’s branch), 50 guineas; Altar Society, £50; C.Y.M. Society (Middle Park), £10/10/-; Children of Mary,, £10/10/-; Sacred Heart Society (men’s branch), .£7/7/-; Fr W Quilter, Fr R Collins, Fr G Byrne, Fr W Ganly, Carmelite Fathers (Port Melbourne), Carmelite altar boys, £5/5/- each; Fr F A Merner, £2/2/-.
His Grace the Archbishop, who was received with great enthusiasm, said that the hall in course of erection was worthy of the parish, and he felt sure it would be used for very good purposes. The war was at an end, and there was a prospect of abiding peace coming to the world after years of terrible strife. The Archbishop spoke at some length on this subject, and gave more than one instance illustrative of the variation, of public opinion. His Grace was frequently applauded during the delivery of his address, and at the conclusion the most rev. prelate was heartily applauded. 

Vote of thanks to the Archbishop

Mr. McCarthy, in proposing that a hearty vote of thanks be accorded his Grace the Archbishop for his great kindness in coming to bless and lay the foundation-stone of the parish hall, said they were all justly proud of their great democratic leader, his Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne (the Most Rev. Dr. Mannix). (Cheers.) They could afford to treat with silent contempt the attacks on their Archbishop and clergy, and the efforts to divide priests and people. (Applause.) Certain people failed to stand up in defence of the Archbishop when he was unjustly attacked, but now, thanks to his Grace, we had the University College, which, in time, would send forth men endowed with courage and ability, to defend all that Catholics held dear and sacred. (Prolonged applause.) The name of the great and illustrious Archbishop would be associated for all time with the successful fight to keep Australia a free land. (Applause.) If the two men on whom the eyes of the world, were to-day focussed, Marshal Foch and President Wilson — (cheers)— visited these shores, there was no man in the land with whom they would be more desirous to associate them selves with than his Grace Arch bishop Mannix. (Vociferous cheers.) He wished to move a hearty vote of thanks to his Grace. (Applause.)
Mr O’Brien, in seconding the motion, remarked that they all felt extremely pleased to have their great Archbishop with them that day. His Grace was held in the highest respect and esteem by all fair-minded men. (Applause.) 

Prior Kindelan put the motion, and it was carried with tremendous enthusiasm.
His Grace having briefly acknowledged the compliment, the proceedings, which were characterised, from start to finish, by great enthusiasm, were brought to a successful close.
The secretarial duties were carried out by Mr. Frank Wrigley. Pressure on our space compels us to hold over a detailed description of what the building will be when completed. Ω

Dr Val Noone is a Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. He can be contacted at <valnoone@unimelb.edu.au>.

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