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Church of Christ the King: Religious History
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History of the Church

Oblates of Mary Immaculate | African Missions | Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition

South Fremantle had a large predominantly Irish population many of whom worked in the thriving port as dockers and labourers. A need for relatively cheap and durable building materials led to the opening of several limestone quarries, one of which was in Beaconsfield. The labourers in the quarry were again predominantly of Irish extraction and they lived in shanty huts nearby.

It was these labourers who asked the Sisters of Joseph the Apparition, in Fremantle, to open and staff a school for their children. In 1903 the Sisters agreed and the owners of the quarry donated land for a two-roomed wooden school to be built.

The school, staffed by Sisters who walked every morning from St. Patrick’s and home again in the evening, continued to grow, and eventually an OMI priest from St. Patrick’s started coming every Sunday to offer Mass of the Sacrament to the labourers and their families.

By the early 1930s numbers made it necessary to build a Church for the growing population of the Beaconsfield area. Christ the King Church was blessed and opened by Archbishop Prendiville of Perth on 18th August 1936.

After the Second World War it was decided to build a priests house and open the Church as a parish separate from St. Patrick’s in Fremantle. The house was blessed and opened by Archbishop Prendiville on 1st November 1953, when Fr T. Purcell OMI was named as Parish Priest.

In 1963 Archbishop Prendiville gave permission for the Society of African Missions (SMA) to enter his Archdiocese, asking them to build, staff and run a boys school in Beaconsfield. Fr Elisha O’Shea SMA was appointed foundation Principal. The school was named St. Brendan’s. The Archbishop then offered the parish of Christ the King to the SMA, which, after some misgiving, accepted to staff and run it. Fr R. Fitzgerald SMA was nominated as Parish Priest in 1964, and the OMI handed the parish over to him.

In 1969 Fr Edward J. Donovan SMA was appointed Parish Priest a post he held until his retirement in 1995. During his time as Parish Priest he greatly expanded the primary school and built an imposing addition to the Parish Church. The outstanding feature of this addition is the much extended chair loft which is crowned by a superb stained glass rose window and many other smaller windows all in stained glass which give a glowing light to the interior of the Church.

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