St Rose Church


The area of Collaroy Plateau originally was part of the St Joseph’s Narrabeen Parish having Fr Amiel Joseph Sobb as Parish Priest. 
Fr. Sobb with much forsight,  developed the Church with the purchase of land and property for future Churches and Schools in the Parish bounded by Narrabeen, Palm Beach, Cottage Point, Terry Hills, Oxford Falls, Collaroy Plateau and Collaroy.

(Picture left Fr Sobb 1951)

From the early 1950’s Sunday Masses were said in various suitable halls within the area that were close for parishioners to attend, firstly at the Scout Hall in Alexander Street Collaroy near Pittwater Rd, the Collaroy Plateau Community Centre in Hall Ave and later the Youth Hall at Plateau Park.

In the late 1950’s approval was sought from the then Cardinal to purchase land for a church and a little time after approval was received. 4 Rose Ave Collaroy Plateau was purchased for construction of a Church.

On 25 September 1966 the first Building Committee meeting was held. After much analysis and investigation the committee appointed high profile Architects, Fowell, Mansfield, Jarvis, & Maclurcan to design the church and submit applications to Warringah Shire Council for a church to hold a congregation of 400.

When this application came up for debate by the Council on 7 November 1966 the approval was deferred until the 14th with much dissent by Councillors. At the meeting on the 14th Fr Sobb made a very outspoken address in his usual convincing manner, following which the Council approved the development by 7 votes to 6.

Pic: Original ST Rose Church
Very quickly a ‘working bee’ by Parish volunteers who still live nearby was arranged to clear the site of vegetation. A number of these also did labouring work during construction. On 5 April 1967 a contract was signed with J. Ardron P/L from North Ryde for the construction of the Church, having a completion date of 16 October 1967. In fact completion was actually achieved on 13 October 1967.

The church was dedicated as a Memorial to Returned Soldiers of the two World Wars and was to be known as the “Chapel of East from Narrabeen’. This was put forward by Fr Sobb who had been with the 37/52 Battalion of the Armoured Regiment and saw service in the New Guinea and Pacific Islands Campaign during WW 2. This dedication attracted a tax deduction for any donation made to the church.

A letter from Cardinal Gilroy to Fr Sobb dated 10 August 1967 gave approval for the names for the church as either “St Rose of Lima” or “St Xaviour”. Fr Sobb chose St Rose of Lima and the church was officially opened by Bishop Thomas Muldoon on 19 November 1967, with public worship in the church commencing on Sunday 29 October 1967.

There are two thoughts on why the name “Rose” was selected. One was that Rose was the name of Fr. Sobb’s mother, and the other that it was his sister’s name. A search of the NSW Births, Deaths & Marriages as well as, found that both his grandmother and sister were named Rose - his mother’s name was Teresa.

No data is available of the first Baptism in the church, but Fr Sobb presided at the first marriage in the church on 12 January 1968.

(Picture Left Fr. Sobb in 1976)

The Collaroy Plateau and Cromer areas grew and on 19th January 1971 Cardinal Norman Gilroy gave the status of Parish to St Rose of Lima, Collaroy Plateau and appointed Father Norman Grady as the first Parish Priest. The Cardinal also provided in writing the parish boundaries together with a Map showing the inclusion of the whole of Cromer.

Fr Grady wasted no time in arranging the Sacraments to be bestowed on St Rose parishioners.

On 21st February 1971 the first Baptism of baby Andrew James Crouch took place.

The first Marriage Ceremony between Patricia Ann Parker and Ronald Senner was celebrated on 16 March 1971, followed by others on 3rd and 10th April.

First Communion for children in the Parish of St Rose was held on 1 October 1971. As the Parish had no school, the children for this First Communion came from primary schools at St Joseph’s Narrabeen and St Kevin’s Dee Why together with Cromer, Wheeler Heights and Collaroy Plateau State Primary School. Confirmation of 107 children was celebrated by Franciscan Friar Fr J. Doggett OFM on 8 October 1971.

The St Rose Parish 1st First Communion Children on 1-10-1971, with Gwen Chapman (Catechist) and Sister Agnelles on left with Fr Norman Grady at right.
Glenda O’Reilly is 2nd from right in bottom row and her brother Peter (not in photo) served at the Mass.

The Inaugural Parish Ball was held on 3 June 1972, at the Royal Motor Yacht Club Newport with guests including Bishop Thomas Muldoon, Warringah Councillors together with local State and Federal members of Parliament.

Sunday 6 April 1975 Fr Grady formed the St Rose Collaroy Plateau Parish Co-ordination Committee (later known as the Parish Council). The Committee consisted of:-

  • Chairman; Mr M. Boylson
  • Vice-Chairman; Mrs G. Chapman
  • Secretaries; Mrs J. Parker and Mrs J. Oates
  • Executive Officer; Mr K. Dunn
  • Committee Members; Messrs - W. Fisher-Cripps,
  • R. Simons, P. Cameron, B. Elliott,
  • O. Oates, Madame’s - A. Cummins, P.Fiddes,
  • J. Bindon & Miss J. McDonnell
  • Sub-committee; Messrs - F. Delsorte, B. Basham,
  • P. Wall, P. Coonay, R.Powell, J.Bowe, J.Green, P.Horan, N. Ciko
  • Madams – J. Pitt, F. Ross & Miss J. McDonnell

Fr Grady also suggested that two young members of the Parish be co-opted into the Committee to represent the youth. The name of Michele Simmons is later recorded Mrs H. Boylson was added to the Committee at the following meeting on 1 May.

The immediate concern for the Parish was to carry out a census, form a Choir, appoint readers, construct an extension to the existing church entry porch, form a Youth Group and most importantly; Finance.

On 26 January 1978 Warringah Council gave approved for the construction of a small porch to the church, on the southern side. The porch was designed by parishioner Nick Ciko  and built by parishioner Kevin Dunn.

April 1980 Fr Grady was appointed as Parish Priest of the new Rooty Hill Parish, where he was to build both a school and a church

Before a new P.P. was appointed a number of priests showed interested in taking over the Parish and presided at Sunday Masses.

In June 1980 Fr Don Leivesley was appointed as parish priest, but he was recovering from a stroke and was not able to fully participate in the parish until December of that year and from July 1980 to February 1981 Fr Anderson was appointed as Administrator of the parish.

Throughout 1998 and 1999 Fr Leivesley was again very ill, during which the twinning of the parish of St John’s Narraweena with St Rose was being considered, with Rev. Dr. William B. Aliprandi the parish priest of St John’s put in charge, with Fr Leivesley becoming ‘Priest in Residence’ at St Rose, however this Twinning was not well received by the Parishes and so did not proceed. Sadly in 1999 Fr Leivesley was relieved of his duties due to health reasons.

At the end of 1999 Fr Geoffrey Bugden was appointed to become the first P.P. of the St Rose and St Joseph’s combined parishes, with the endeavour to bring the Parishes back together and in July 2001 the Parishes were formally ‘twinned’.

In December 2003 Fr. Gerard McCormick MSC – Missionaries of Sacred Heart was appointed Administrator of the two Parishes

Bishop David Walker appointed the Spiritan Order to minister to the two church communities.

On 1st October 2004

Fr Paul Walsh was appointed as Parish Priest for a 6 year period, with the assistance of

Fr Gerard Ryan.

On 1 July 2006 the twinned church communities of St Rose Collaroy Plateau and St Joseph's Narrabeen took the name of “The Lakes Catholic Parish.

In 2007 a new gathering space (called a Narthex) was constructed at the southern facade of St Rose church, custom designed furniture was installed and internal alterations carried out which included changes to the sanctuary, ambo, tabernacle, sacristy and rooms behind the sanctuary, IT & lighting console, a new Vestry storeroom, WC and Kitchen.

On 18 April 2008 David McKenzie was Ordained as a Deacon and was appointed to the Lakes Parish.

Fr Paul Walsh stayed on at the Lakes until April 2011 after which he returned to Ireland.Fr Gerry Ryan had returned to Ireland in May 2009.

On 1 May 2011, Bishop David appointed

Deacon David McKenzie as Co-ordinator of Parish Life,
Fr David Ranson as Priest Moderator and
Fr Barry Nobbs and
Fr Michael Hwang as Priests of the Parish.

If you have more information and Pictures available please contact parish office and we will update the sit

Subpages (2): St Rose Statue The Priests