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Immaculate Conception Church: 150 years

Immaculate Conception circa 1910. Source: Hawthorn Catholic Parish.

The Immaculate Conception Church, with its iconic spire acting as a gateway to the Glenferrie precinct at the corner of Glenferrie and Burwood Roads, celebrates its 150th birthday this year.

The first stone was laid and blessed on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1867, and its construction was completed two years later. The land was donated by local landowner Michael Lynch, perfectly situated close to the community centre of the former Hawthorn Town Hall (now the Hawthorn Arts Centre). Jesuit Father Edward Nolan enthusiastically raised funds within the broader community to build the Church. The Church was a welcome and very valuable addition to Hawthorn, as the local Catholic community had become so prevalent that other churches in the area were overcrowded. The first divine service was held on 10 October 1869, which the South Bourke Standard newspaper reported “drew together a large congregation, so large, indeed, that the Church though estimated as capable of accommodating a thousand persons, could not hold all who wished to witness the services, and a considerable number of persons had to remain outside the building.”

The Church was designed by Melbourne architects Crouch and Wilson. Their proposal was selected from fourteen entries to a design competition, and its Gothic architectural style can be seen in the Church’s iconic stained-glass windows, spire, and wrought iron gates. The Church subsequently underwent extensions in the late nineteenth century, upon its jubilee after the First World War, and finally in the 1960s to become the Hawthorn landmark we see today, having served the community now for 150 years. In celebration of the anniversary, the Hawthorn Catholic Parish have organised some events and all are welcome to attend.

Spring Concert

Sunday 8 September, 2pm

A concert in the church featuring the 140 year old organ.


Commemoration Mass

Sunday 6 October, 11am

Mass celebrated by Archbishop Peter A. Comensoil followed by a gathering on the lawn.

For more information on the events and history on the Immaculate Conception Church visit

Immaculate Conception Church 2019.

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