Our History

St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Austral, New South Wales, Australia, has a rich history steeped in faith and community spirit. Originally part of the Penrith parish until 1946, St. Mary’s became its own parish, encompassing Austral, in December of that year. Formal establishment of St. Anthony’s parish occurred in 1965, marking the beginning of a vibrant community under the guidance of dedicated priests like Reverend Michael Nelan, Reverend Thomas Kerr, and Reverend James Page.

During its early years, St. Anthony’s faced geographical challenges, serving a vast area with scattered boundaries. Masses were held in various locations, including the Progress Hall in Austral, showcasing the dedication of both clergy and parishioners.

Under the leadership of Father Joe Weaver from 1965 to 1974, the parish flourished. Father Weaver’s establishment of the first Catholic Youth Organisation provided a social outlet for young Catholics, fostering a sense of belonging. The community also rallied together for fundraising efforts, including cake stalls and vegetable sales, to support the parish’s growth.

Father Noel Short’s tenure from 1985 to 2013 saw further development, including the construction of a new church and presbytery. Father Short’s initiatives, such as the formation of parish councils and liturgy committees, strengthened parish involvement and organization. Social events, educational programs, and outreach efforts became integral parts of parish life, reflecting Father Short’s commitment to nurturing both faith and community bonds.

In 2013, Father Robert Hayes took the helm, bringing with him a reputation as a skilled builder and a passion for community engagement. Under his leadership, the parish has embarked on new initiatives, including the establishment of Eucharistic Ministers and plans for a Catholic primary school.

Throughout its history, St. Anthony’s Parish has been a beacon of faith and fellowship, with each priest leaving a lasting legacy of service and devotion. As the parish looks toward the future, it continues to embrace its community, united in faith and bound by the spirit of St. Anthony.