Church Name: St Mary’s
(photo courtesy of Marist Archives, Wellington)
The first St Mary’s church was opened in August 1890 at a cost of £1540. It was designed by Timaru architect Maurice de Harven Duval.
In the early 1880s when the area was still part of the Christchurch Parish, Father Ginaty, acting on Bishop Redwood’s instructions to find a property for a second parish, commissioned Dunedin architect Francis Petre to draw up plans for a stone Gothic ‘cathedral’ for the Manchester-Salisbury Street corner. Redwood reacted angrily, saying only a modest church-school could be built. Nothing eventuated other than the former convent being used as a parish chapel until in 1889 Father Le Menant des Chesnais commissioned Duval to build a stone church.
This time it was Bishop Grimes who repudiated the plans, bringing a threat of legal action from Duval. The Bishop authorised a church “temporary but commodious, wood so as to be moveable and so constructed as to be useful for school purposes later on if necessary, and to cost no more than £1200 including fees, excluding furniture”.
The church was built in four months by Timaru builder Jas. Delaney. Archbishop Redwood laid the foundation stone on April 20, 1890 and returned to open it on August 17, 1890. In spite of being intended as temporary, it survived as a church until 1956 when it was demolished to allow the building of a new church.