High on the hill among tall trees and rooftops to the west of Jackadder Lake in Woodlands, the huge cross and modern spire of the church of Our Lady of the Rosary parish is clearly visible.
It stands both physically and symbolically as a beacon of God’s call of salvation to the world.
The location and sheer presence of this church is fitting for a parish which is characterised by a generosity of spirit and service.
These are the hallmarks of Our Lady of the Rosary, a parish founded and still administered by the Dominican order with its universal vocation of preaching the Word of God.
The Dominicans came to the district in the near north of Perth in 1954. Father Fintan Campbell OP celebrated the first official Mass for the new parish in the state school that stood at the corner of Odin and Scarborough Beach Roads.
A parish centred on Innaloo was officially inaugurated on 1 November, 1954. In that year the school/church was built at the corner of Beatrice Street and Phillips Grove. St Dominic’s School, with the church sharing the same building, opened the following year. The school was used as the church for twelve years until a separate church was opened in December 1966.
Meanwhile Fr Campbell established a second parish in adjoining Doubleview, starting with Holy Rosary School, which was blessed and opened in February 1959. The School was staffed by Sisters of the Dominican Order.
The school grew quickly and in the early 1960s a second building of three classrooms was added. The new rooms doubled as a church on weekends. A new parish church, Our Lady of the Rosary, was built in 1973 under the guidance of its designer, Fr Bonaventure Leahy OP. Every block of the pale grey Toodyay stone was quarried and cut especially for the structure. Unsurprisingly, Our Lady of the Rosary is renowned today as one of the most beautiful modern church buildings in Australia.
It was not until the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the parish that the church’s Toodyay stone walls received their final blessing by Bishop Donald Sproxton. The Dominican priests are immensely proud of the parish and its community, as part of the body of Christ. It has long demonstrated a caring approach to the needs of all and has strived to be a sign of God’s infinite love for the world. The spire of the church houses a rarely-used bell, named after the late Fr Francis Xavier Brown OP, a pioneering friar and one of a dozen parish priests to serve at Our Lady of the Rosary. The parish covers the suburbs of Doubleview, Churchlands, Woodlands and most of Wembley Downs.
Parish Pastoral Council
The Parish Pastoral Council is a consultative body which advises the parish priest on ways to advance Christian ministry within the parish and helps implement programs to achieve this aim.
Its objectives include trying to involve the whole of the parish in the mission of the Church in the world and seeking out and responding to the needs of the people in the parish and beyond.
It aims to foster and support all parish activities and promote communications between all members, sectors and organisation of the parish and wider community.
The council also helps support and promote the activities and services of diocesan organisations.
Members are appointed by nomination and co-option.
In Doubleview parish, the Council mostly meets every second month.
Current members of the Doubleview parish Pastoral Council are: Fr Peter Hoang OP, Helen Murray (Chair), Kaye Shervington, Peta Berry, Ray Brennan and Alex Mitchell.
Members are photographed below in August 2021.