The Parish of Newcastle was established in 1838 and originally covered all of the English settlement in what is now the City of Newcastle.
As population grew other parishes were split off from the Parish of Newcastle, including Hamilton, established in 1884. For a couple of years, the area which subsequently became the parish of Burwood (Merewether) was part of the Hamilton parish before being returned to Newcastle parish in 1887, to become established as an independent parish in 1891. Later again, this parish was divided and Merewether Beach became an independent parish in 1939. In 1997 the three communities of Newcastle, Merewether and Merewether Beach came together again and now form the present Parish of Newcastle.
St Mary's Church, on the Hill overlooking Newcastle Harbour, was completed in 1866. This beautiful Victorian church was remodelled in 1933, at which time many of its internal features were altered.
Work was commenced in 1999 to restore the church to its former glory, under the watchful eye of the National Trust of Australia (NSW). After two years of painstaking work significant termite damage was discovered, which resulted in the church being temporarily closed from July 2002.
St Mary's was reopended with weddings in November 2006 and the restored church was officially reopened and blessed on St Patrick's Day 2007, exactly 141 years after its original opening.
Click here for a more detailed history of St Mary's , including a list of the Parish Priests.