St Agnes Church

Marrabel

Marrabel was at first part of Kapunda Parish, but also ministered to by the Jesuits at Sevenhill.

On the 7th of July 1867 the foundation stone of St Agnes Catholic Church was laid by Fr John Smythe VG. The architects were architects Messrs Wright, Woods & Hamilton. “Rev. Joseph Tappeiner celebrated mass, after which the priests and laity walked in procession from the small and unsightly building hitherto used as a chapel to the site of the new church. These church structures were, as may be expected, primitive (the architects and builders being poor but zealous Catholics), but they served for many years.” [Southern Cross 30 Sep 1949] . . .

The land on which the church was built was donated by Mr Garrett Hannan, one of the first settlers there . .] while the stone was gathered and transported by parishioners who also did much voluntary work toward the building of the new church. The total cost to the parishioners was 1000pounds The plinth, quoins, and buttresses will be cut stone; and as the site is elevated, with a back-ground of fine old gumtrees, the building will greatly contribute to the beauty of the young and rising township of Marrabel.” [Advertiser 29 Jul 1867]

The church was completed, blessed and opened less than 12 months later, again by Fr John Smythe VG.[ extensions 1914. The tender of Mr. S. H. Roberts, of Saddleworth, has been accepted for building a sanctuary and vestry at St. Agnes's Catholic Church, Marrabel.”] [Kapunda Herald 16 Sep 1914] The earlier pine & pug chapel, east of the cemetery, built 1850s, was used as a schoolroom from c1865.

1868 was one of the wettest years on record. The roads were quagmires, the rivers were continuously in flood, and there was no bridge over the River Light north of Kapunda. Therefore, the parishioners east of the east of the Light who attended the opening of the church in 1868 must have swum the river with their horses.

The Sisters of St Joseph were invited to use the old chapel at Marrabel as a school from 1871.

In 1869 Marrabel was declared a separate parish, and Fr Charles Van der Heyden , who was brought from Holland was appointed as the first parish priest serving until 1871. The new parish extended to Eudunda, Morgan and Renmark. In 1920 Marrabel became part of the new parish of Riverton, and Fr Michael Brady moved to reside in Riverton.

On June 30, 1968, Archbishop Gleeson travelled to Marrabel to take part in the celebrations for the centenary of St Agnes Church Marrabel.