Plans for a happy 130th birthday for iconic West Coast church

West Coast parishioners are working hard to get their much-loved St Fursaeus Catholic Church at Zeehan spruced up ready for its 130th birthday celebrations this Sunday.

Those special events kick off on April 25 when Fr Graeme Howard returns to Zeehan to concelebrate Mass with West Coast parish administrator Fr Amalorpavaraj Devadoss and bless the church.

Fr Howard, now of Blackmans Bay, grew up in Zeehan and celebrated his first Mass at St Fursaeus Church back in July 1962, as parishioner Eleanor Phelan explained.

“The church is just beautiful,” Mrs Phelan said.

“It is one of the oldest weatherboard churches still in existence. I just love being here. It is a special church inside too.”

A historic photo of St Furseaus Church, Zeehan. Photo courtesy the Archdiocese of Hobart Archives and Heritage Collection.

Mrs Phelan, of nearby Dundas, explained that St Fursaeus Church is an iconic sight on the main street of the mining town and is the last remaining church in Zeehan.

A number of events had been held to help raise money for maintenance work in the lead-up to the celebrations, including renting out the convent at the back of the church, running raffles and holding a market. The local men’s shed had been helping with repairs.

The cornerstone of the church was laid in April 1891, and the first Mass was celebrated in November 1891.

The April 25 Sunday Mass will be held at 9am. Afterwards, there is a three-course meal for $30 at the Hotel Cecil. To confirm attendance at the meal, please contact Mrs Phelan as soon as possible on 0408 578 973. Mrs Phelan would also welcome anecdotes and old photos of the church for a history booklet planned for release in November.

Main image: Mrs Pat Casey, the oldest parishioner at St Fursaeus Church in Zeehan, has been worshipping at the church for more than 70 years. Photo: Eleanor Phelan.

Tags: News, Southern Deanery, West Coast

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