40 Years for Yeoval
The Church of Our Lady in Yeoval celebrated its 40th Anniversary on Sunday 22nd June, after months of planning.
Originally part of the ‘Cumnock/Yeoval’ Parish, which also included Baldry, for over 30 years it has been part of the Wellington Parish. Banjo Patterson lived in the area for seven years and there is a local museum honouring his life right next to the church.
160 people attended Mass, celebrated by Parish Priest Father Tony Hennessy. Many of them had travelled from across NSW and the ACT to attend this special celebration. Unable to join the community on this day, Bishop Michael McKenna sent a letter of congratulations and his best wishes.
The Yeoval Bowling Club was the venue for the luncheon, catered for by the Parents and Friends Association. Activities for the children included a jumping castle and face painting. The Anniversary cake was cut by parishioner Margaret Miller, together with Thelma MacGowan and Doris Hills, daughters of the late Doctor Michael Coolican, who donated the land to build the Church. Philip Sheridan was MC for proceedings and the guest speaker was Nicholas Moore, CEO of Macquarie Bank.
Yeoval has around 250 residents and is a strong faith based community. It has a large Baptist community with its own pastor, which is fairly unique now for such a small village. Father Tony celebrates Mass at 8.00am on Sundays for around 30 people and a number of baptisms, funerals and weddings are celebrated in the church.
St. Columba’s School, once served by the Sisters of St. Joseph Perthville, is an integral part of the community and growing, with 28 students.
In terms of Catholic history The Church of Our Lady at Yeoval is a baby at just 40 but it remains today significant to the small town's strong community and for Doris Hills and Thelma McGowan it cuts with deep emotions.
"Our father Dr Michael Coolican gave the land for this church to be built on and coming back here today is very special to us," the pair who are 92 and 80 returned for the church's 40th birthday celebrations.
Mrs McGowan said she still watches for stories about Yeoval and still works. "I might be 80 but I have an accountancy business in Lane Cove and still enjoy working like my father did so many years ago," she said.
Knowing his numbers too is Macquarie Bank Chief Executive Nicholas Moore who was the guest speaker at a function after a service at the church.
Mr Moore is head of the the largest investment bank and the top ranked mergers and acquisitions advisor in Australia. Mr Moore owns a farming property near Yeoval. "It's a beautiful church and a wonderful community," Mr Moore said.
Though reluctant to comment on banking matters Mr Moore said the agricultural season had been good but said he was no expert and would leave that to people who know better but said it was a privilege to be part of the community this day.
Father Tony Hennesy who celebrated mass among a crowd of more than 160 said communities in Wellington, Dubbo and Yeoval had bonded together to make the birthday of the Church of Our Lady.
"We are so honoured by the strength of the Yeoval community and their dedication to this church and its community," Father Hennessy said.
Farren Hotham | Editor | Wellington Times| Fairfax Media