Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop, is attracting so many visitors to her final resting place at North Sydney it has caused a problem for those in charge. Source: Daily Telegraph.
Since Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed St Mary MacKillop’s sainthood in Rome in 2010, visitor numbers have soared, according to the Church.
In 2017 (the most recent year for which figures were available), 53,012 pilgrims attended the chapel.
The demand has challenged the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, who run the venue.
The guests’ lodge was built in the 1960s and the Sisters say it is approaching the end of its life.
To better cater to visitors, the Sisters want to demolish the lodge and an office.
These would be replaced by a four-storey lodge with dining room, lounge and kitchen. The number of rooms would be increased from 31 to 51. A circular courtyard would also be provided, and an underground carpark for 43 vehicles. The project would cost an estimated $17 million.
While the chapel is on Mount St, the lodge would be closer to William St.
A development application for the work was filed to North Sydney Council last year but was withdrawn by the project planners after council staff raised concerns. About a dozen submissions from the community were also received.
The planners have since lowered the height of the proposed lodge by 650mm, increased the setback from William St and revised the building materials and colours.
The planners also revised the number of rooms from 54 in the first application to 51.
The North Sydney Planning Panel will decide whether to approve the application. This may happen as early as its March meeting.
Saint Mary MacKillop draws Catholic pilgrims to North Sydney motel (Daily Telegraph)