End of an era
David Ahern
David Ahern

Current editor of The Majellan, David has spent more than 40 years as an editor/journalist .

After 58 years Majellan has moved from its long-term home in the seaside Melbourne suburb of Brighton. The move spells the end of an era.

The Redemptorists have decided to sell the property, so Majellan has relocated to a new business address in Notting Hill, in the city’s south-east. The Autumn issue is dedicated to the history of Majellan House, the home of The Majellan since 1963.

The Majellan magazine was founded in the late 1940s at the Redemptorist Monastery in Ballarat. But the success of the magazine amongst Catholic families meant a larger place was needed. The monastery at Ballarat was at one time described by former Majellan editor Max Barrett CSsR as a “rabbit warren.”

The Redemptorists looked far and wide in the hunt for new premises. The search included locations in NSW and Queensland but a two-storey home with ocean views which the congregation believed would suit its needs was eventually chosen. A large property next door to the Brighton Yacht Club, fortuitously, had come onto the market in 1963.

The house with spectacular ocean views has had a long and rich history. It was commissioned by William Carr in the early 1920s and was designed by prominent Melbourne architect Cedric Ballantyne, who is credited with introducing the modern style residential bungalow to Melbourne.

Ballantyne designed the double storey bungalow-style dwelling with a rubble plinth, rendered walls, a hipped tiled roof clad with bracketed eaves and shingled bay windows.

The Carrs called their new Brighton property Kuring-gai.

Born in 1883, Willian Carr was director of W B Carr Constructions, a firm of engineering contractors. He was born and bred in Brighton and attended the local grammar school. In 1908 he married Florence Cohn and they had two sons and a daughter. William Carr died in 1961 and Florence passed away three years later.

Such has been Majellan’s popularity, it has featured in Australian Home Beautiful on three occasions, including twice on the front cover. In 1925 after the house was built and to coincide with the first year of Australian Home Beautiful; the magazine’s 40th anniversary in 1965 and the 70th anniversary issue in 1995.

The 1965 article in Australian Home Beautiful read, ‘The natural grain of the timbers and the colour of Wangaratta stone and marble, combined with what space-saving and labour-saving devices were then available, made the house as comfortable, beautiful and convenient as money could buy in 1925. Much the same can be said of it today.’

 

When the house came on the market Majellan editor Father Bill Stinson sought permission from the then Archbishop of Melbourne Daniel Mannix to establish a ‘religious house’ and a place to publish The Majellan.

After some consideration Archbishop Mannix who headed the Catholic Church in Melbourne for 46 years approved the request.  

From the beginning, a number of priests and brothers lived at Majellan House, but the last priest departed in January 2020. Numerous lay people have also worked at Brighton in administration and in the mailroom, assisting the priests and brothers to produce The Majellan and distribute sacramental books and other religious books and pamphlets to parishes and families around Australia and New Zealand.

The combined lay and religious effort helped to make The Majellan one of the most popular and recognisable Catholic magazines in the country for more than seven decades.

In recognition of the 58 years at Brighton, the articles and photos in this magazine are from previous issues dating back to 1963. The stories include an Easter reflection and a Mother’s Day tribute.

I hope you enjoy these wonderful memories.

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