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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]



Christ Church stands on a central site of one acre in Victoria Avenue, Wanganui. The church was built in 1866, and has since been considerably enlarged. The vicarage stands on a site of half an acre in another part of Victoria Avenue.

St. Paul's Presbyterian Church occupies a site in Victoria Avenue. It was built in the year 1870, and is a fine structure, with a handsome spire. There is a large Sunday school in connection with the church. The Rev. R. M. Ry-burn, M.A., is resident minister.

The Rev. Robert Middleton Ryburn, M.A., Minister of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Wanganui, took charge of the parish in the year 1897. He was formerly minister of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Gisborne, and further reference to his career will be found on page 975 of the Auckland Volume of the Cyclopedia of New Zealand.

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Wanganui, was erected by the late Very Rev. Dean Kirk, S.M., in 1877, and occupies a site in Victoria Avenue. It is a handsome building, with seating accommodation for 1400 persons. There is a Convent, with a community of twenty-seven sisters of the Order of St. Joseph of Nazareth. To the convent a high school for young ladies is attached, which is attended by 100 scholars, including forty boarders; and there is a division for boys, with about thirty-five scholars. The property of the Roman Catholic Church in Wanganui also includes a two-storeyed building, used partly as an orphanage and partly as a parish school (with about 120 scholars), a mixed infants' school page 597 at Aramoho (with 60 scholars), and a Marist Brothers' School (with 90 scholars). Attached to the church are the Associations of the Sacred Heart, with 500 members; a branch of the Sodality of the Children of Mary, with 100 members; a branch of the Living Rosary; and a Catholic Club (with over 300 members).

The Very Rev. Dean Grogan, S.M., Priest in charge of the Catholic Parish of Wanganui, was born near Dungamon, County Tyrone, Ireland, and was educated partly in France, and partly at St. Mary's Church, Dun-dalk, where he was ordained priest in the year 1878. On his arrival in New Zealand, in 1879, he was appointed curate to the late Very Rev. Father Forest, parish priest of Napier, and it was during his stay at Napier that the enlargement of the Marist Brothers' schools was effected, mainly through his efforts. In 1880 Dean Grogan was appointed to the charge of the district of Hawera, which then included the whole of the coast from Wanganui to New Plymouth. He remained there for four years, and during that time he paid off £760 of debt, built two churches and a presbytery, enlarged the church at Hawera, and secured land in six different districts for future church purposes. In the year 1884 Dean Grogan succeeded Father Forest as Parish Priest of Napier, and as one church was not sufficient for the wants of his congregation, one of his first efforts was to purchase the site on which the beautiful church of St. Patrick's now stands, as well as a site for a new presbytery. Soon the second Catholic Church in Napier was erected at a cost of considerably over £6,000, including the price of site. Dean Grogan again enlarged the Marist Brothers' schools, as well as those of the Sisters. At that time the Wairoa district was part of the parish of Napier, and there also Dean Grogan enlarged and lined the church, secured the site of the present presbytery, and handed £210 to Father Lepretre on his taking charge of that part of the parish. Dean Gro-gan's last work in Napier was the building of a new convent for the Sisters of the Mission, a fine two-storeyed building. In 1902, after being stationed for nineteen years in Napier, Dean Grogan visited America and Europe, where he spent twelve months amongst his relations and old schoolmates. On his return, in February, 1903, he was appointed to the charge of the parish of Wanganui, where he has already erected a fine school at Aramoho, and has completed another new church (St. Joseph's) in this same suburb. This handsome church, capable of seating 400 worshippers, which was solemnly dedicated by His Grace Archbishop Redwood on September 1st, 1907, is, in design, workmanship, and finish, a masterpiece, and a credit to the Catholics of Wanganui.

Trinity Methodist Church stands on a site of one acre and a half, with frontages to Victoria Avenue and Wicksteed Street. The building is of wood and iron, and has seating accommodation for 500 persons, and there is a fine pipe organ. The Sunday school will accommodate 200 children. Besides these buildings, there are three houses, including the parsonage, also erected on the site. There is a large and flourishing Young Men's Institute in connection with the church. Services are held at Gonville, Kaitoke, and the surrounding district.

The Rev. James Gates Chapman was appointed to the Trinity Methodist Church, Wanganui, in the year 1904. He was trained at Three Kings College, Auckland, and was stationed in various parts of the Dominion before receiving his present charge.