The commitment of the early day priest is never more evident than when reading the pages of a parish history.

Horse and buggy was their modern form of transport, which replaced the earlier means of travel by bicycle.So it was, for the priests who commuted from Hamilton to serve the congregation of Glenthompson in 1904. On November 27th of that year a new church was constructed on land donated by a Mr John Brady.

In keeping with their loyalty and devotion to the Catholic faith, local members cleared the Church debt through fundraising and generous donations. Over time the building was refurbished, with the organ being the first purchase to replace one regularly borrowed for special occasions.

Family names etched into the Glenthompson faith community history include: Brady, Burgess, Fry, Hayes, Higgins, Kearney, Malcolm, Mahony, Walsh and Wright.

Prior to the establishment and growth of the Glenthompson area, worshippers attended the Catholic Church at Strathmore (3 miles east- identified as “Yuppeckiar”) opening in December 1871. Newly settled farmers in surrounding districts also travelled long distances by horse and buggy. On the return trip home many gathered at a local property for breakfast after fasting. However following the completion of the Ararat – Portland Railway line in 1877 and Glenthompson Station, this caused a shift in the population growth, urging a local church construction.

In reading St Thomas’ history the commitment of parishioners spanning over 100 years was also apparent. Regardless of their involvement within the church, the Glenthompson congregation showed great strength and support to both the clergy and their fellow members when needed.

While there have been many celebrations of the sacraments over time, the St Thomas community also reflect on the lives of many district people who are the history of the church. Numerous occasions have been marked in Church records as significant. Even more evident is the fellowship which emerges from a small country community.

Information compiled from “St Thomas’ Centenary Church History 1904 – 2004″

Anne Slattery

Parish Team Member