St Brigid’s Parish, Branxton
According to the Australian Catholic Directory, Bishop James Murray formed his first Parochial District, that of Branxton, during 1871 and to which he appointed parish priest, Rev. Father John Lawless. The early church records show the Parish of Branxton as having Mass stations at Greta, Cessnock, Ellalong, Wollombi, Broke and Glendon Brook although the 1862 records indicate that both Ellalong & Cessnock Mass stations as being a part of the Parochial District of Wollombi.By 1864, in time for the arrival of its new Diocesan Bishop, a fine brick church and new Presbytery had been constructed and by 1871 was well equipped to house the Rev. John Lawless.
On Sunday 4th July 1886 a party of Sisters of Mercy set out from Singleton to form a branch convent at Branxton. Their new convent was built and then opened on 17th March 1889. Both Greta and Branxton schools opened on Monday 5th July 1886. The teachers came from the new Convent established the previous day at Branxton. It would seem that the first schools utilised the church buildings at both Greta and Branxton as classrooms.On 6th May 1886 the Catholic Church purchased a parcel of land the area of 37 4/5 perches between the 1866 church and the cemetery at Branxton as the site of a new Church.The new St. Brigid’s Church was officially opened by Bishop James Murray on Sunday 5th June 1887.
The Branxton school was built in 1888 and in 1889 Rev Rogers purchased a parcel of land opposite the church which was to be the site of the convent. This land become known as “Rosary Park”, which is now home to the current Parish Catholic School built in 2008.