Our History

The brief history of OLA parish begins when Our Lady of the Assumption School commenced operation in February 1952 on the present site, staffed by the Brigidine sisters.

Mass had been celebrated in a couple of different halls in the Cheltenham area by priests who travelled from St Agnes’ in Highett. Archbishop Mannix laid the foundation stone of the original church on 15 July 1951. The parish was formally established on February 2, 1958, when Fr Max Day, the first parish priest, arrived.

A second church was built during Fr Bracken’s time, which was blessed and opened by Bishop Laurie Moran on 20 December 1964. Fr Frank Martin built the third church which was blessed and opened by Archbishop Frank Little on 8 July 1990. An extensive renovation of the entrance to the church and development of a new parish office occurred between October 2011 and April 2012.

There have been six parish priests of OLA Cheltenham over the history of the parish – Fr Max Day (1958-1961), Fr John Bracken (1961–1974), Fr William Pietzsch (1974–1987), Fr Frank Martin (1987–2007), Fr Peter Matheson (2007–2019), and Fr Alan Fox, the current Parish Priest, commenced his appointment here in October 2019. Over the parish’s history there have also been a number of assistant priests.

The two original churces are now part of the school complex, which has grown over the years. The original enrolment at the school was 84 in 1952. Currently just over 300 students are enrolled. There have been 9 principals over the years. The current principal (newly appointed in 2020) is Richard Jacques. Different school facilities have been built, demolished, rebuilt, and/or renovated, over the years. Two recent major developments were the building of Brigid Hall and eight new learning areas between August 2009 and August 2010, and the building of the new administration block and school toilets between July 2015 and January 2016.