St Mary’s Catholic Church
St Mary’s Catholic Church, on the corner of Church and Market Street, is a beautiful historic church, attracting many tourists and historians to the area. The Church contains a school, behind on the block facing Lewis Street, St Matthew’s Catholic School.
The Rev. John Pennell rode on horseback from Rylstone to take Methodist services in the Court House in 1851, and later in a borrowed slab hut. Mudgee Methodists became a separate circuit in 1854.
Brigadier Hammond came to Mudgee in 1885 to ‘spy out the land’, and later that year Captain and Mrs Owens began the Salvation Army ministry with a drum and timbrels band incorporating a miniature concertina section. The Perry Street Citadel foundation stone was laid in 1889.
Cooyal was a great Catholic area in early days, but now the Catholic church is a private residence. The Methodist Church was near the Lindburn Road, with graves behind, but this is now the Anglican Church, the Anglicans having bought it in the 1930s. The graveyard has been recently fenced and done up. Before taking over the Methodist Church, Anglicans held services in Mahon’s hall or in private homes, particularly the Nurden family’s home at Botobolar. The three Miss Nurdens lived there with their two brothers and the ladies were famed for serving plates of cold plum pudding. The minister at the time was always served in a separate room, not with the general congregation.
Botobolar Catholic Church
St Matthew's Catholic Church at Botobolar celebrated its 100th anniversary of the laying of its foundation stone in 2000.
The sandstone church is made from off cuts trimmed off sandstone blocks, mined at Botobolar and used to build St Mary's Catholic Church in Mudgee, and the ceiling in the church is New Zealand pine.
The little church holds about 60 people. It was built by Tom Lonsdale, an old stonemason, with two other old and skilled stonemasons helping him, Ned the Dutchman and Mark Saddington. The building cost about 400 pounds and the fittings about 100 pounds.
The foundation stone was laid by Rev John Dunne, who became the 3rd Catholic bishop of Bathurst. Dr Byrne, the bishop at the time was unable to come to the celebration because of ill health, so John Dunne was the man.
The little church battled to pay its bills in the days of the 1902 drought, but paid for the building by 1904. The Church was open and blessed in 1901 by Mr Long, followed by a huge banquet prepared by the community.