Historic plaque recovered
A historic plaque from North West Tasmania has been recovered and put on display at Star of the Sea Church in Burnie.
The official commemorative plaque of St Anne’s Church in Montello was found beneath Star of the Sea Church by Burnie-Wynyard parish priest Fr John Girdauskas.
The plaque notes the opening and official blessing of St Anne’s Church and Catholic primary school in 1961.
The school in Montello, a suburb of Burnie, was opened with an initial enrolment of 61 students – providing relief to the then-overcrowded Stella Maris school in Burnie.
The Montello school and church have personal significance for Fr Girdauskas – he attended St Anne’s Catholic Primary School as a child and recalls a full church during Sunday Masses at St Anne’s Church.
“A lot of the older people … would still have fond memories of all those years ago,” Fr Girdauskas said.
According to Fr Girdauskas, the church also saw one ordination during its history: on July 14, 1967 Columban priest Fr Peter Woodruff SSC was ordained by Archbishop Sir Guilford Young, as his family lived in Burnie at the time. Fr Peter would go on to serve for many years as a missionary in Peru.
St Anne’s Church and the school building were sold in June 1996.
The recovered plaque has been cleaned and affixed to the wall at the entrance of Star of the Sea Church.
“I believe it is a fitting and appropriate place for this plaque, which had been ‘lost in time’ since the closure and sale, but is now restored in a place for all to see,” Fr Girdauskas wrote recently in the Burnie-Wynyard Parish newsletter.
“It is my hope that those associated with both the school and church may benefit from being able to see this important treasure, recalling for us the rich history, memories and stories, which are part of this parish.
“This plaque is a reminder not just of when the church and school were opened and blessed, but it also speaks of the sacrifice of those many Catholics who were connected with the former St Anne’s Church and St Anne’s Catholic Primary School in Montello.”
Another piece of the history of St Anne’s Church is yet to be uncovered: Fr Girdauskas is seeking the whereabouts of the church’s Stations of the Cross, which had been painted by local parishioner and artist Mary Jolliffe.