Arrowtown’s new blessing


The creation of Australia’s first saint will mean a visitor boost for Arrowtown. 

An old miner’s cottage by the historic St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Hertford Street is named after Mary MacKillop, who’ll be canonised at the Vatican in October – 101 years after her death. 

MacKillop came to Arrowtown in 1897 with other teaching nuns and converted part of a school attached to the cottage into a convent. 

The building was restored just before she was beatified in 1995. 

And following a re-enactment of her arrival in the area, a steady stream of visitors, mainly Australian Catholics, have visited the site. 

Margaret Hyland, a local who organised the ’95 event, says she expects tourist numbers to in-
crease because of the sainthood. 

“I don’t think there’s a day goes by when there aren’t at least one or two people who visit the cottage because of Mary,” Hyland says. 

“She’s very big in Australia,” she says. 

“She will be the first saint born in Australia – or, as we say, Australasia.” 

There is likely to be a ceremony in Arrowtown to mark MacKillop’s canonisation on October 17. 

Many tourists are already alerted to the Arrowtown connection by a MacKillop postcard stand at the Lakes District Museum, museum boss David Clarke says. 

The school that was attached to the cottage was shifted across the road and is part of the bowling club.

How Mary became a saint

To achieve sainthood, the Vatican has to hold you responsible for two miraculous recoveries. 

With MacKillop, both involved dying people successfully praying for her intercession more than 50 years after her death. 

In the first case, a woman who prayed to her was supposedly cured of inoperable leukaemia in 1961 then went on to have six children. 

This paved the way for MacKillop’s beatification in 1995. 

The second miracle involved curing a mother of five who had inoperable lung and secondary brain cancer in 1994.