The first wedding in Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish church in 1953

between Frank and Barbara Colreavy, and celebrated by Rev Edward McBride.

The following is an amalgam of accounts of the parish, the bulk being from the various jubilee celebration booklets written and compiled by Anne Field, Sr Perpetua Gill OP and John Foley.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish
An Historical Perspective

In the early nineteen thirties Mass was celebrated sporadically by Priests from various sources, mainly during the holiday season, in a building known as Wimpy's Hamburger Bar. This shop occupied a site on the corner of The Esplanade opposite the Scarborough Hotel. The first Mass was celebrated about Christmas time in 1934.

In 1936 a church-hall was erected in Scarborough Beach Road for £740, where the St John's School now stands, under the direction of the Rt Rev. Monsignor Moloney. It was officially opened and blessed by Archbishop Prendiville on 20 December 1936. However, Mass was not held there regularly. In 1944 when Scarborough was administered from Osborne Park the parish became more stabilized and Mass was celebrated every Sunday.


The Church Hall of St John at Scarborough was blessed and opened by His Grace, Archbishop Prendiville, On Sunday, 20th December 1936.

In July 1947 a branch of the Holy Name Society was commenced and in January of the following year the Altar Society was founded. A new Sacred Heart Sodality was established in 1948, and in 1949 the parish choir and the Children of Mary Sodality were established. In 1950 the Legion of Mary undertook the public recital of the Rosary each night and this practice was continued for many years.

Growth was so rapid that on 8 February 1948 Scarborough was made a separate parish when His Grace, the Most Rev. Redmond Prendiville canonically established the Scarborough Parish and inducted the Rev Edward McBride as the first Parish Priest.


Rev Edward McBride, Parish Priest from 1948 until 1970

At the same time two Mercy Sisters (Sister Celine and Sister Joan) opened a school in the same building, so weekends were busy with the rearranging of furniture for Mass on Sunday, then back again for school on Monday.

In 1950 the Dominican Sisters took over education in the parish. As the need arose, they taught all grades up to Junior (Year 10) level, but eventually the school became primary only. Now the pre-primary section is quite a feature of a very well organized St John's Primary School.

In the latter half of 1952 the devotion of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady was set up in the parish by the Rev. J Keane OSM and it was decided that with the approval of His Grace, to dedicate the parish to the lmmaculate Heart of Mary.

Scarborough's population continued to grow, and eventually, from the area defined in 1948, six sections were excised in turn to form new parishes - Innaloo, North Beach, Doubleview, Wembley Downs, Karrinyup and Hamersley.

Of course, the aim was to build a church and, for this purpose, a finance committee was formed. The parishioners worked very hard with raffles, house parties, dances and planned giving etc., until enough money was raised to begin the construction of our present church. By 22nd November 1953 the nave was completed and blessed by His Lordship, Bishop Goody, Auxiliary Bishop of Perth. The Blessed Sacrament was brought in procession from the old hall to the new church.

By 1950 two masses were being said each week, and in 1953 this increased to three. But bricks and mortar and cold statistics do not make a parish, nor just the devoted care of the Parish Priest. Many groups were formed to enrich the parish. They included the choirs, the Legion of Mary, Sacred Heart and Children of Mary sodalities, Majellans, the Catholic Women's League, the Cenacle, the Altar Society, Saint Vincent de Paul, the Piety Stall, the Scout and Cub groups, tennis club etc. When a Parish Council was established in 1969 the various sub-committees, such as Finance, Liturgy, Works etc. were of great assistance.

Unfortunately Father McBride's health deteriorated and he was forced to resign. He eventually retired to Mandurah, where he stayed until his death in 1972. His catch words, "Keep the Faith", will long be remembered.

In 1959 a young Dutchman, Nick Gradison, obtained permission to set up a group of Catholic Scouts and Cubs and Fr Leunig was appointed Chaplain to this group. The St John Bosco Scouts Group was one of the finest and most enthusiastic in their particular region, a triute to the excellent groundwork done by their first Chaplain.

In February 1968 work commenced on the new Sanctuary. The plans incorporated the latest in liturgical trends and showed promise of being a structure of great beauty and dignity. The stained glass windows added the finishing touch to the overall picture of beauty.  A brochure giving a detailed description of the windows can be obtained from the Piety Stall. Completion date was scheduled for Easter by which time everything was completed and the ceremonies were conducted amid colourful surroundings.

March 1969 saw the establishment of the Parish Council and several Committees were formed.  These committees were Finance, Works, Family Life, Education and a Social Committee.


Devotion to the Rosary has been a feature of the Scarborough Parish, the Rosary being recited each day before or after the weekday Mass.

Twelveth station of the cross1.jpg

Jesus dies on the Cross. One of the 14 Stations of the Cross, sculptured by Clement Philip (Phil) Somers circa 1965.

Monsignor John Murphy was appointed in 1970 as our Parish Priest. Sadly, his stay was short. We had just become used to his beguiling Irish brogue when he too became ill and died in 1973.

In 1971, the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was purchased for the Parish and was conveyed, each Saturday, to a different parishioner's home where the Rosary and special prayers were recited for the week. An unbroken chain of Rosaries continued in the parish for the next 30 years.

In 1972 the Scarborough Magellan Group was formed, and in 1976 it closed to combine with the Holy Rosary Group.

In 1973 the Parish held its Silver Jubilee Celebration marking the beginning of the Scarborough Parish Community in 1948.

In 1974 another Irishman, Father F. Dillon came down to us from Kalgoorlie and served diligently for eleven years. He then accepted a transfer to Merredin, and then to Mundaring, his last parish before his final illness. He had been resident at St John of God's for some time before his death in 1989.

The house that was purchased opposite the church, on the south side of Scarborough Beach Road, was never suitable, even after renovation. So, eventually, in 1975 a new presbytery was built adjacent to the church.

Five Acolytes were commissioned by Archbishop Goody on 14 December 1975 and were well accepted by the parishioners.

In May 1977, because of the static nature of the population in the area Scarborough Parish was classified as a 'One-Priest Parish' and the number of Masses decreased from five to three. A census taken at the time indicated that there were 3,600 Catholics in the parish.

In 1977 the Holy Hour was introduced and was held on the second Sunday of each month to pray for Vocations. In 1978 the Catholic Women's League established a branch in Scarborough. That same year a Piety Stall was built in the porch of the church.

In 1981 a ramp replaced the steps on the western side of the Church to enable disabled persons to more easily enter the church.


The Rev Fr Henry Byrne, Parish Priest from 1985 until 2001

Father Henry Byrne, formerly Parish Priest at Beverley and later at Lynwood-Langford, took up duty as Parish Priest in 1985.

A decision was made in 1989 to build a parish centre on the east side of the church and incorporate it into the existing under-croft. Skilful architectural work achieved a very pleasant centre which was blessed and opened by Archbishop Barry Hickey in 1992.

In November 1994, the reception of Holy Communion under both kinds was introduced, and nine Extra-Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion were appointed to help with the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass and to take the Blessed Sacrament to the sick as required.

Fr John Ryan was appointed Parish Priest in 2001 until 2007 when Fr Benedict Lee took over the post.

The history of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church is a history of a community of people of deep faith in God, love of the Blessed Eucharist and devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, love of the Blessed Eucharist and devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.

It has been a community characterised by vitality and enthusiasm for spreading the Word of God, generosity of spirit and concern for one another.

It has been these attributes which have made possible the building of a place of worship to encourage the gift of faith for succeeding generations.

The Scarborough Parish continues to be a place where parishioners communicate, care for, grieve with and draw strength from one another. We continue to welcome newcomers from other parts of Australia and from overseas and support them as they make their homes here. Social events are happy communal events and are seen as important in cementing friendships and providing family enjoyment for the Parish of Scarborough.

Our task is to ensure that we build on the past, continuing to be a people of prayer and trust, treasuring and spreading the faith we have inherited - a vital, hospitable parish community where all feel welcome and where they experience loving support in time of need.

This is our challenge, our hope.


The Rev Fr Benedict Lee, Parish Priest from 2008 until 2018