The Landholdings of the Catholic Church on the Bluff
Brighton Beach Property
“Later it was suggested that a large tract of land be bought and that it be leased to the Catholic parishioners who could farm the area allotted to them and thus have a secure home and an opportunity to increase their income. This was done and 55 hectares were purchased for £400 [R800] on April 5th, 1880. With the help of his enthusiastic parishioners Father Baudry began to clear the land and to sub-divide it as fairly as he could among them leaving land for a Chapel, a small school and missionaries cottages which would be built at a future date.” (Page 158, Catholic beginnings and Beyond Prof. J. B. Brain)
Apart from the Archdiocese of Durban owning land there were also Religious orders that owned land, which included the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Augustinian Sisters and the Holy Family Sisters.
In 1953, when St. Francis Xavier Mission was declared a parish, the land holdings of the parish was described in the decree of erection as “ The property of the Parish shall consist of :- i) the land known as “Church plot” and “cemetery plot” and lots 12, 13, 14, 15,19, 17, 18 and 19 of Lot 24 of the Bluff No. 2689 (St. Francis Xavier) in extent approximately 6 acres.”
In 1963 the cemetery plot (the remains were exhumed and reburied at Oakford), as well as all the land adjacent to Marine drive was sold to the Dominican Sisters of Oakford on which on which to build a school. The Convent School of Our Lady of Natal now stands on that property.
With regards to remaining properties, that of the Religious orders, these were sold off as the population of the Bluff expanded.
- The property owned by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate was sold in the early 1980’s for development (the property below Sormany Road on the Valley/Golf Course side). The property, also owned by the Oblates known as St. Gerard’s and which had been originally used as a holiday home by the Oblates had been sold much earlier.
- The land owned by the Holy Family on which the Mission School had been built was sold to the Archdiocese of Durban for inclusion into the current parish property (The hall and Classrooms are now built on that property).
- The last piece of property owned by the Augustinian Sisters was sold in 2002.
No 2 Sormany Road
At the completion of the building of the new church at Brighton Beach, the issue of a presbytery came up. Fr. Slowey had used a classroom at the Convent school as a Presbytery and said mass in the Convent School Hall.
At that time the land below Sormany Road that was owned by Oblates was being sold to developers and the house at No 2 Sormany became available. The Parish purchased the property to be used as a presbytery and a parish office. The house was sold when the new presbytery was built.
Currently the Parish land owned by the Archdiocese is approximately 2.5 acres in extent.
In 1953 in the decree of erection properties at Fynnland was described as: –
“ii) the land known as Lot 5 of Lot 8 of the Bluff, No. 2686 (SS. Joseph and Brendan) in extent 1 acre 4.85 perches;
iii) the land known as lot 72 of 2 of the Bluff No. 2680 (Torquay Avenue) in extent 1 acre 28.429 perches.”
The land situated in Torquay Avenue was sold around 1957.
The land in Lighthouse Road on which the church of St. Joseph and St. Brendan was situated was sold in 1974 when the Parish churches were amalgamated into one parish centre.
The Wentworth Property
Mass was held weekly the Assegai Shellhole at Wentworth for the Catholic Community in Wentworth. Land was eventually purchased for the construction a church. The building of the church did not however materialise due to the decision to have one parish centre. The land was sold and the proceeds used in the construction of the new church at Brighton Beach.
The Land Holdings of the Archdiocese of Durban and Catholic Religious Orders at Brighton Beach
Elaborate Plans for the land at Brighton Beach, encompassing the shrine of Our Lady of Natal. They never came to fruition.
Message from Cardinal Napier | Message from Fr Stuart Bate OMI | Forward: Professor Joy Brain | Introduction | A history of the St Francis Mission | Establishment of the Church at Fynnland | The Church at Wentworth | Centralisation of St Francis Xavier and Building of the New Church | The Building of the Parish Hall | The Building of the New Presbytery | The Building of the Wall of Remembrance | The Architectural meaning of the New Church | Your Church in Rhyme by Fr Andy Slowey | The Human Contribution to the Growth of the Parish | Groups and Organisations that have contributed to the Parish | Current Groups within the Parish | Local Vocations | Awards and Recognition | An Armchair tour of the Parish | The Shrine to Our Lady of Natal | Landholdings of the Catholic Church on the Bluff | A Portrait of the Life and Times of St Francis Xavier | Picture Gallery | Timeline of incidents of the Bluff Parish