History of St Martin's Catholic Church, Muskerry

Credit must be given to the original committee for selecting the site on which St Martin's is built.  St Martin's truly is a picturesque bluestone church built on the banks of the Forest Creek and has long being admired for its Gothic architecture.  It stands squarely on top of the rise surrounded by native trees and is a timeless monument to the foresight and committment of the early settlers of the area.  Some of the decendants of the original committee members reside in the area to this day and attend St Martin's.  Indeed, there are some instances of five generations who have attended St Martin's.

The Silver trowel used to lay the foundation stone in 1875 has been on display in the porch of the church since 1976 and as such provides a significant link to the original history of St Martin's.  The foundation stone was laid by Rev Dr Crane, Bishop of Sandhurst, on September 19th, 1875.  Many functions were held to raise the necessary funds to pay for the new church.  A Gala Ball was held in the church on Saturday 10th June, 1876 before it was consecrated.  Price of admission was 3 shillings and there was a First Class Band!

This really was an incredible achievement especially when it is remembered that Burke and Wills had travelled through the district only 16 years before in 1860.  They crossed by punt where the Barnadown bridge is now situated.  There is a monument to Burke and Wills within a short distance of St Martin's.

Mr Joseph Brady was the architect and the total cost of construction was 1563 pounds, interestingly, the single most expensive item was the timber costing 401 pounds.

It appears the church was debt free by 27th October 1879 as a sum of 66 pounds, 18 shillings, due to the London Chartered Bank of Australia was paid on that day.

Dr Henry Backhaus was the Vicar General of the Diocese of Sandhurst at the time of the opening.  St Martin's was consecrated on the 20th August 1876.