Reflecting on the extraordinary history of its church, Lombadina celebrated the centenary of the remote Aboriginal community’s Catholic mission last month.
Beagle Bay Sacred Heart church administrator Father Bill Christy said the anniversary on June 23 marked a milestone in the history of Lombadina, for all generations of families and residents.
They remembered Father Nicholas Emo, who founded the mission, supported by local patriarch Thomas Puertollano.
Fr Christy highlighted the community’s resilience, saying over the years, the mission survived a devastating tsunami in 1912, and was under constant threat of closure due to finances, government pressure and extreme isolation.
“It has always been a battle to keep the mission going,” he said.
“It was often threatened with closure and to make it to 100 years is a huge accomplishment.”
A special mass was conducted by Bishop Christopher Saunders, including the blessing of a new crucifix for the church.
Crowds also gathered at the school, where Bishop Saunders returned the original name of the Djarindjin/Lombadina School to Christ the King Catholic School.
Another highlight of the day was a special art exhibition showcasing “100 canvases with 100 stories”, submitted by artists from the eldest to the youngest in the community. Fr Christy said the canvases told stories from the founding of the mission.